The European Quizzing Championships are over for another year. Rotterdam was nice, if a bit uninspiring. The hotel venue was excellent all round and was located in an area called Brain Park – surely the most apropriate place for an EQC to take place!
Looking back on the weekend, here are my own personal highs and lows – or at least the ones I can remember at this point.
The venue. The room in which the majority of the quizzes took place took a bit of getting used to. It was built like a capital L (albeit one with equal sides). So, whilst it was a bit odd that quizzers situated away from the top table couldn’t see each other, everyone did have a great view of the quizmasters. Apart from that, if your eyesight was struggling from the back of either wing, there were several screens on each side showing you everything you needed to see. The hotel part was nice too. The food at breaks was bountious and tasty. No quicker way to impress me than that!
A record-breaking Cuban. Possibly the best right answer I’ve ever been involved in. It happened during the Aspirational Cup. I’m afraid I can’t remember the exact wording but the question went something like this: “Ubre Blanca (1972 – 85) became a hero of Cuba when she broke two world records in 1982, acknowledged by the Guinness Book of Records. Both of these records were claimed to symbolize the Castro regime’s efforts to modernize Cuba’s economy. When she died she was stuffed and put on display in a climate-controlled glass case. To what did these world records relate?”
Well now. Safe to say no-one had a clue, albeit we quickly decided she had to be an animal, given that she only lived for 13 years and, oh yeah, got stuffed and put on display. After that, we were stumped. Dog, horse, pigeon? How would any record set by those animals reflect positively on the country’s progress? Just as the end of the round approached, I obviously reverted to my youth and hit upon the idea that she might have been a cow. Everyone else quickly agreed (how could they not? we had nothing else) as milk production made sense. Sure enough, that’s what it was. You can read more about her record-breaking udders on wikipedia.
Uldis. The fates obviously decided that I needed to get to know Uldis Apsalons of Latvia. A charming man, who looks like he’s old enough to be my dad, he was very good company – which is a good job as I ended up sharing a table with him at least once on each day of the weekend! For the Aspirational Cup on Friday, I was already set up on a team with two Scottish quizzers, Neil and Mark. As is the case with quizzes throughout the world, one doesn’t depsair in this case – you figure there’ll always be someone in need of a team. This is exactly how Uldis arrived in to our world. As Latvia’s only quizzer at the EQC, he obviously didn’t have any team mates. Mind you, we mustn’t have looked like we had much potential. After introducing himself and telling us he was from Latvia, he followed with “It’s a small country, near Estonia.” Erm, we know…
Anyway, following that unusual opening to our friendship, we got on very well, undoubtedly benefitting from his Eastern-European knowledge: Moscow University’s incredibly tall tower, several questions on Polish sports stars, anything to do with Olympic Handball, these were just some of the topics on which the other three of us hadn’t a clue.
By random draw, Uldis was also sitting at my table on Saturday morning for the individual, along with two Dutch quizzers, Mike Bax and Michael-Dennis Biemans. The four of us got on well and the event flew by for me. I felt like I was averaging about 7 per round (out of 12). My best was a 9 whilst my worst was a depressing 4. I finished on 58, which had me just inside the top 50 (literally: joint 49th!). Our top man Lorcan came agonisingly close to making the final 10. His 68 points saw him finish in joint 12th (alongside former European champion Holger Waldenberger, amongst others). It was just two points off the top 10. One of the three players who scored that 70 points, Paul Sinha from The Chase, has written a very nice piece on his own site about what it was like to reach the final 10.
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