Delighted to receive an email from Rach Cherryade over the weekend. Amongst all the news, was a request if I could carry this message from Tom Whyman - a good UC man himself, you'll recall. I think you might be interested in it -
"Hi, my name is Tom Whyman and I am the chair of the newly-formed University of Manchester Quiz Society. We are hosting our first tournament on April 30th. This is an academic quizbowl which will take the form of a round-robin tournament. It follows a number of successful university quizbowls that have been staged in Oxford recently. One of these was won by Manchester: it was in fact the heats for a major quizbowl held in the USA, and we got to go to Chicago and participate against 30-odd American and Canadian teams (a team from Oxford went too). There we saw first-hand the quality of the academic quizzing scene in America. The best teams are intensely committed, very competitive, and almost impossibly quick and knowledgeable. They also play tournaments frequently throughout the year.
By contrast quizzing in British universities is very much oriented around University Challenge. The biggest problem with this I think is that they only let you go on once, so there's no way you can build on past successes if you did well on the show and enjoyed it but didn't quite win (for example). So, what we want to do is help move quizzing in the UK away from a focus on just UC and towards more American-style quiz bowls.
There are a few institutions that get involved on a regular basis: Oxford, Manchester, Sheffield, Imperial, Warwick, Oxford Brookes (and some others have shown up too: York, Southampton, Cambridge, UCL). But the purpose of this tournament is really to get as many new institutions involved as possible. In particular, universities from the north of England: like I say, the quizbowl scene has up until now been focused exclusively on Oxford, which Manchester can just about get to and from in a day (although our ability to beat Oxford A, never substantial anyway, is diminished by the early mornings), but anyone further away or less well-connected on the trains might struggle to make the journey. So, if anyone is from an institution that is interested in attending please e-mail me at email@example.com.
We need four-player teams but don't be discouraged if you can't find four people: we are open to allowing nearby institutions to compete together if they can't get enough players to attend on their own to get as many people involved as we can (and you are allowed to compete with fewer than four members anyway). The questions are from the 2011 University of Minnesota Undergraduate Tournament with British alterations by myself and others, so they are about the same level of difficulty as UC (but longer and in a pyramidal format which means the hardest clues are always first before the reveal at the end). There is a £40 tournament fee with a £5 discount if you bring a buzzer set.
Even if you can't make this quiz, get in contact anyway if you're interested so that I can let your university know about future quizzing events. The next big academic quizbowl that is coming up is the British Student Quiz Championships which will be hosted by Imperial on June 11th.”