Smartacus 2023, Limca Record Holder: National Online Quiz Tournament culminates in a thrilling National Finale-Inspire To Hire

HT School and OTTplay celebrated India’s 77 th Independence Day as well as their endless appetite for quizzing with the launch of the Online Qualifier Round of the esteemed Smartacus 2023 National Online Quiz on 15th August. This record-breaking Limca Record Holder national quizzing contest concluded with an enthralling National Finale on 10 th September. The top 10 participants engaged in a riveting battle of wits, with B Sri Shivendra of PSBB Senior Secondary School, Siruseri, Kanchipuram, emerging as the national champion.

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The National Finale was conducted over Zoom by one of India’s most renowned quizmasters, the inimitable Dr. Navin Jayakumar. “It was an all-round Magnificent Ten who competed in the National Finale. True to form, it turned out to be a closely fought game that kept the momentum of excitement increasing all the way to the tiebreaker that decided who was the First Among Equals. It was a pleasure to conduct this quiz with the brightest young minds of the country,” he gushes.

The “Magnificent Ten” beat out 90 other equally talented quizzers in the National Semi-Final, which was conducted on 20 th August on the Kahoot! platform. The National Finale comprised 40 questions spread across 4 rounds. The questions were mined from a wide array of topics including history, geography, sports, language and literature, science, arts and entertainment, culture and lifestyle, and general knowledge. They challenged students to dig deep and put on their thinking caps to get the correct answers. True to form, the quiz went right down to the wire, winding up with a nail-biting tiebreaker.

Some of the brain-teasing posers in the National Grand Finale included questions on which 2 words were added in the 90s on a momentous occasion by then-PM Atal Behari Vajpayee to a famous 1965 slogan of Lal Bahadur Shastri hailing Indian soldiers & farmers (‘Jai Vigyan’, added to “Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan” during the 1998 Pokhran nuclear tests); the identity of the great Indian after whom the late Indian World Quiz Champion Vikram Joshi was named (Dr. Vikram Sarabhai); the name of the mythical treasure sought by Monkey D. Luffy and his crew, the Straw Hat Pirates, as they explore the Grand Line (One Piece); what term, used to describe a tall narrow pointed arch as well as a type of surgical instrument and a type of spear carried by a horse/elephant-borne soldier, is also the name of a famous journal in the world of medicine (Lancet); and the first, and to date, the sole Disney princess adorned with a tattoo (Pocahontas), to name but a few.

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Post the event, prolific quizmaster and co-founder of HT Labs, Avinash Mudaliar reiterated the quiz’s commitment to expand participants’ mental horizons in a wholesome and holistic manner that isn’t bound by any didactic modes of teaching. He states, ““To know that we know what we know, and to know that we do not know what we do not know, that is true knowledge,” said the great Nicolaus Copernicus. Our attempt with Smartacus is to make sure that every kid has access to the knowledge they require in a format which is fun, enjoyable, and not text bookish.” This aim seems to have hit the bull’s eye with the finalists, with many of reaffirming the wisdom and skills they picked up throughout the quiz.

“Smartacus 2023 was a stimulating and edifying quiz that tested the knowledge and critical thinking of participants. I learned a great deal from the quiz and would highly recommend it to other students,” says the national champion B Sri Shivendra. The runner-up, Sreenandh Sudheesh of GMHSS Calicut University Campus, Malappuram is also all praises for the event. “It was one of the most exciting and unforgettable experiences I ever had. The questions were brainteasing and I was able to learn so many things!” he quips. Anumegha Dutta of Thakur Public School, Mumbai, rounds out the top 3. The sole representative of girl power in this quiz, she echoes her competitors’ thoughts, “The questions were solvable and the ability to work out some of the questions brought me great joy. I am thrilled to have secured the second runners-up position this year!”

Despite failing to make the top 3, 5 th placed Abhra K Dubey of Dewan Public School, Meerut, and 8th placed Yash Aggarwal of DAV Public School, Pitam Pura, Delhi, display a winning attitude. “Reaching the top 10 was an exhilarating achievement. Overall, competing against the best minds fueled the passion inside me to keep learning and participating in more quizzes,” declares Aggarwal. Similarly, for Abhra, competing in the National Finale and sharing the stage with one of “India’s Greatest Quizmasters” was a “dream come true.”

Dr. Navin Jayakumar was bolstered by fellow quizmaster Meghashyam Shirodkar, who served as the host and supporting Quizmaster for the National Finale. Shirodkar expressed delight and optimism in the aftermath of the Finale, quoting poet Alexander Pope, “A little learning is a dangerous thing; Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring.” Further, he says, “Interacting with the Top 10 National Finalists of OTTplay Premium presents Smartacus 2023 made it amply clear that the youth of India today have indeed imbibed the nectar of knowledge to the fullest, and can summon it forth at will to serve their purpose whenever the need arises. The depth of information and wisdom that these fine young quizzers put on display during the National Finale, as well as the grace, poise, and presence of mind under pressure that they showed, makes me feel thrilled about the future of quizzing and knowledge in India in the years to come!”

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Updated: 05 Oct 2023, 02:21 PM IST

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