Thursday, January 29, 2009

SAIL Quiz North Zone: Cheating steals the show..!!

Quizmasters: SPS Jaggi & Jacob Kurien
Location: India Habitat Center
Sail quiz north zone prelims began pretty well. Arrangements were good, participation was even better. After a long time, it was a quiz where corporate teams were practically competing among themselves, not with the students & vice versa.
Some student and corporate teams formed cartels in order to maximize their chances of qualifying for the finals. Teams were openly discussing the answers during prelims. Quizzers indulging in such a glorified behavior included regulars on the NCR circuit. I myself reprimanded them once but was told to mind my own business. I brought the same to the notice of the organizers in the middle of the prelims but the reply I got said it all:

“Sorry, we are not concerned”.

As soon as the prelims got over and the answer sheets were being collected, I spoke to both the quizmasters about the cheating being done; I got a very responsible answer from even more responsible quizmasters:

“It’s a tough quiz; even if four teams do it together they won’t qualify”

Even a 2 yr old knows that four quizzing souls are any day better than two quizzing souls and when these souls are regulars on the circuit, they are a threat to other quizzers participating irrespective of the difficulty level of the quiz. If the quiz was a tough one, it was tough for everyone and in no way gives one the license to cheat.
When prelim results were announced, we miraculously qualified for the finals along with the cheating student and corporate teams. Because the cheating teams qualified, a lot many deserving teams (NTPC, IIM-A etc.) failed to qualify. The only question is “Did the teams which qualified (some even won eventually) deserved to be on the stage”?

Sail throughout the quiz prided itself on the fact that the quiz was conducted by its own internal band of quizmasters unlike NTPC electron etc; but the same fact made the quizmasters ignorant of the cheating being done in the hall and tarnished Sail’s image rather than add to it. Some quizzers are materialistic and given a chance will always cheat to win but isn’t it the responsibility of the quizmaster to act responsibly especially after the act was brought to their notice by other teams. Isn’t protecting the integrity of a quiz the most important job of a quizmaster?
Eventually a quiz is only as fair as the quizmaster. Unfortunately, quizmasters Jaggi & Jacob failed to act even after repeatedly being reminded of the cheating happening in the hall. I spoke to other teams in the hall and all agreed on the same but were incapable of doing anything.
Finally the questions were really good, quizmasters witty and if the cheating part taken out, it would have been a great quiz overall. After the zonal round was over, I made a quick exit.
The North zone and Sail employees quiz questions will be posted in two days time.


  1. Completely agree to you is quizmaster's duty to see that the event is conducted farely....though personally their quizzes also seem dry to me....either you know it or you do not...and adding to that this cheating part...Also, to the cheating teams, quizzing is all fun yaar, do not run after money or even if you do please do not cheat......a humble request

  2. Can completely understand your point. My advice would be, avoid such quizzes. They are simply not worth it.

  3. BTW, Who won the Delhi rounds & the National Finals ??

  4. Ashish I agree and have witnessed it myself, but tell me one quiz which is unbiased now one???? its a part an parcel now

  5. Ashish
    Well Said. I have one more point to add - having had the experience of some bit of AIMA quizzing too- The QM's almost regularly have favoured the NTPC team (and with no disrespect to them) if they are in the finals. I have noticed that in the last 3 years of the AIMA finals - the NTPC team has gotten away with some basic things like pressing the buzzer but Jaggi & co still completing the question for them or allowing them to change their answer etc. While it may not be intentional & am sure that there is nothing to suspect on the NTPC team - it sure raises questions when it is done time & again.

    On the second part of your comment, I don't agree with the quality of the quiz. Jaggi & Jacob's quizzing seems to be completely preparation oriented - nitpick trivia with some extreme doses of heavy duty "lateral thinking". While some questions can be current affairs oriented - it doesn't make sense having all qns based on events from ET & some magazines. To me - thats lazy question setting. We don't need intelligent people setting a quiz then - frankly my daughter can set that kind of a quiz. OK I am exaggerating but then I am not exaggerating a whole lot. The ridiculous portion was the tie break in the National Finals. First asking a comparative tuffy like Spitzer & then asking who authored movie on which Slumdog M is based was ridiculous.
    Also - it seems like since none of the QM's seem to have ever taken part in any quizzes in the last few years (at least I haven't seen them anywhere) they seem to have some questionable & strong opinions on how a quiz should be. Their so-called "brand" of unique quizzing is actually proving to be quite a pain. It also sends the wrong signals out to the young quizzers who may start to think that quizzing is about mugging up obscure pieces of trivia from newspapers/mags.
    As a suggestion (if Jaggi/Jacob) are reading/willing to listen - they may want to actually set quizzes that are workoutable and cover the entire gamut of business as an area. For example - on the one hand they ridicule other QM's for having too much brand history, trivia etc but in their quiz u will not find a single qn on the same. Well I can go on and on...To comment on Dhananjay's view as to avoid such quizzes - I guess the only response is that die-hard quizzers will go for every quiz hoping to pick up nice qns & enjoy the quiz. Also money plays a big part...1 Lakh prize money is no joke & unfortunately - justice is not done to the quality of quiz questions. As an addition - I am sure there will be many more teams who will take part if the QM's (Jaggi et al) could have better quality quizzes. I couldn't help but notice that except for NTPC - the other regular teams in delhi did not even turn up. Similarly, no one turned up in other locations - hence the Sanmar team & the Sun team had a virtual walkover!

    These are some points to ponder...but then I guess - it depends on whether the QMs are willing to take feedback positively and actually improve. They may want to talk to some experienced quizzers to ensure that they can get some feedback (but only if they want to actually change based on the feedback).

  6. hi,

    I am rahul, who took part in this quiz representing IIM-A.As Ashish pointed out,we have been the victims in this quiz.Had the cheating not been there,we would have been in the regional finals.The organisers should ensure that copying doesn't take place in the prelims,especially when the stakes are so high,both in terms of prestige and money.
    Strict vigil during the prelims and immediate disqualification of the teams indulging in cheating are the only solutions to this problem. Hats off to Ashish for bringing out this issue. I saw him quite agitated during the quiz and rightfully so. I think ethical quizzers all over the country should unite and weed out such cheating teams.Otherwise there is the danger of more corruption coming into quizzing.I request all the quizmasters to help in rooting out this problem.

  7. Cheating in a big way contributed to the fact that accomplished Quizzing Teams from NTPC & McCann Erickson were not able to make it to the Stage.

  8. After reading all this I am feeling very happy, since I did missed such kind of quiz again. I have been into quizzing for last three years, and lucky I havn’t any of Derek or these unSAILable QMs. Reason is simple, I just not care about money, for the QM and his qts do matter a lot. That’s why I would love to attend any of the quizzers-QMS, like Dhananjay , or Amit pandya.

    Siddharth Misra

  9. i happened to be at sail as well and completely agree with all the accusations being made. i witnessed ashish arguing with the quizmasters but nothin was done. IIT-D, Amity were some other victims.

    Its high time some action is taken against such incompetent QMS & also the teams if they happen to be known faces.


    ppl do cheat but eventually its d quizmasters job to act. QMS Jaggi & Jacob failed to act and r d culprits here. Even im a regular quizzer and have never seen such rampant open cheating before.

  10. Was part of one of the teams which qualified for the regional round yesterday (Team D, PFC).

    The post and the comments above, imply that all the teams which went onto the stage cheated.

    I can not comment on the other teams but our team did not. Albeit, we were tempted to look into the SAIL annual report for the name of the person whose pic was shown(Shyam Sundar), but we didnt.

    Since there are so many of you who saw the cheating happen and also know them, would it not be prudent to name the alleged cheaters rather than tarnish all with the same brush. Or at least don't imply that just because established teams (with no disrespect to them) did not make it into the finals, the others, especially newbies to the quizzing circuit, would have necessarily cheated.

  11. @alex

    i myself qualified for the finals, saw the teams cheating and brought the same to the notice of the quizmasters. I dont want to name the teams here bcoz the teams are regular on the circuit and this is not a personal vendetta.

    Regarding established teams not qualifying, i happened to speak to a few of them after the quiz and their prelim scores were just 1-2 short of ours. If we qualified and had the other teams not cheated, these teams had a fair chance of qualifying. Again this is not a case of who cheated but why no action was taken by the quizmasters once the act was reported by me.

  12. @ ashish lath

    Just wished to clear the air.

    Agree that with cheating, as described by you folks happening in the open, in sight of the organisers and no action being taken is of concern.

  13. @ Ashish Lath

    We were also there in the hall....and i do feel that something has to be done in the next year to help you guys restore faith in the quiz.

    Coz....let us appreciate that all of us do make mistakes...and I do beleive that things can improve.

    Guys.....I don't agree though that the quiz was not up to the mark.

    Being from the SAIL family, I do sincerely beleive that from the next year you will find a change and you all will have FAIR LEVEL-PLAYING FIELD.


  14. I don't believe that it is the QMs duty to check the cheating in a quiz hall. Basically a QM is hired to research questions and conduct the quiz, while entertaining the crowd, pleasing sponsors and keeping everyone interested in the quiz. (Of course this equation changes if the QM is inhouse). Now if they showed partiality towards a certain team, that is a different issue and I don't think that was the subjes=ct of the post. Personally tho' ... I was part of the team that won the AIMA National Student Quiz in 2007 (SPS Jaggi was the QM) and although i thought the questions could have been better, it was a fair quiz, both Delhi finals and national finals, no doubt about that.

    However, as on the day i attended the AIMA quizzes (regional and national finals were on the same day at BIMTech-Greater Noida), it is the duty of the organisers to ensure that no shenanigans take place during the quiz. At AIMA, both BIMTech and AIMA ensured that it was a fair quiz, making proper arrangements for teams to sit apart and making sure that no discussions happened durign the prelims, etc.

    My basic point is that maybe one can't find fault with the QMs here, becoz even at Giri's and Avinash's and Gopal Kidao's quizzes, there are instances of people cheating during the prelims and not much can be done about it unless the college or corporate organising the quiz is interested.
    SAIL should have been more responsible and the bunch of quizzers who thought it was unfair should have gotten up and left en masse. Of course, 1 Lakh is a big amount to walk away from. So i guess the best that one can do is vent on a forum like this and hope that "Anonymous" who has posted just above me means what he says.

    BTW, who were the finalists and who won?

  15. @arjun

    Sorry i beg to disagree. QM is the pilot of the show and its his responsibility to ensure things are going fair.
    I agree with you that cheating during prelim does happen, but tell me one instance where the QMs dint act after the act was brought to their notice.
    At Sail, i made multiple requests to the QMs to do something about the rampant cheating happening but no action was taken. What i mean to say is if they had been careful after the initial conplaint, they could have prevented further cheating from happening in the crowd.

    Also since u guyz have also been to other QMs quizzes like Crucible, u are aware of the kind of vigilance those ppl ensure to prevent cheating.
    The sail management was present right on the spot, i also spoke to sail employees and here QMs are from Sail management too, but needless to say my plea fell onto deaf ears.

  16. Did anyone notice the number of questions asked from the stupid movie "Chandni Chowk to China"??
    How stupid can a quiz get!!!! Hats off to the quizmasters!!!