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EQC: Epilogue

November 15, 2015 in EQC

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.

uldisUldis. 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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Pressure, what pressure?

October 4, 2013 in IQO, Quizzes

OktobertestThe final Irish Quiz Organisation ranking event (of 2013) takes place this Saturday in Tullamore, Co. Offaly.

Oktobertest, so named as we are linking with our German equivalent to offer Irish quizzers the chance to take part in the 2013 German Open, which is taking place on that day. Don’t worry, the questions will be in English! It’s happening in the Clonamore House Hotel and the quizzing starts at 11am.

For yours truly, the heat is on. The top four ranked quizzers qualify to represent Ireland in the Nations Cup at the European Quizzing Championships, which take place this year in Liverpool at the start of November. As of last month, I have slipped out of this hallowed grouping, and currently reside at fifth in the table.

Here are the top eight, as things currently stand (with ranking points included):

  1. Lorcan Duff, 105.9
  2. David Lea, 104.4
  3. Dave McBryan, 95.7
  4. Padraic Fanning, 95.2
  5. John Nolan, 94.3
  6. Kevin Jones, 92.8
  7. John Hayes, 90.1
  8. Mark Henry, 86.4

Obviously, the top two are safe. Mathematically so, as there are only 100 points available to the best finisher at this weekend’s event. For the rest of us though, two places are still up for grabs.
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Breakfast of champions

November 15, 2012 in EQC, Quizzes

I’m always open to guest posts here on the site, especially covering things I missed myself.  My early departure from Tartu meant I didn’t get to take part in the Pairs event or watch the Nations Cup final.  My team-mate Lorcan Duff, on the other hand, managed both of those things.  Here’s his report:

The Pairs event was of a standard slightly harder then the individual quiz, but a lot easier then the four person team quizzes. We were sitting at a table with a Top-10 quizzer Ronny Swiggers, from Belgium, and his partner. We didn’t disgrace ourselves at all, getting a lot of answers the Ronny pair couldn’t answer.

Pat Gibson and Kevin Ashman, neither of whom (amazingly) made the Top 10 individual final, won the event, so our Padraic and Derek chose the right quizzers to be photographed with!

So the fun quizzes did actually take place on Saturday night, but in a different venue. I would have liked to try them out, but instead spent the early morning drinking with members of the Quiz League of London.  They are talking about having a quiz weekend of their own the weekend after the World Quizzing Championships next June, with four or five countries already confirmed, along with eight English regional teams, so that is something we can think about.

On the Sunday afternoon the Nations Cup final between England and Finland took place. It was a very high standard, neck and neck most of the way.  England pulled away towards the end, thanks to a slightly stronger history knowledge base.

One of the questions asked for the name of the destructive computer worm in 2000, to which Kevin Ashman answered “Don’t take this the wrong way, Arko, but I Love You!”

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Answers from Tartu

November 12, 2012 in EQC, Quizzes

Here are the answers to the questions I posted during the weekend.

So how do you think you did? Could you keep up with the quizzers at the European Quizzing Championships?

If so, drop me an email and I’ll sort you out for a place on next year’s squad. :-)

Update: Fancy giving the full Individual Quiz a go? Click here to download the paper (PDF, 5.4 MB).

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Mistakes on a plane?

November 11, 2012 in EQC, Quizzes

Let’s hope not.  I’m writing to you now from about 20,000 feet, or whatever height Ryanair cruise at.  Alas, due to flight schedules, the three of us who departed Dublin at 6am on Friday, Padraic, Derek and myself, are now homeward-bound on Sunday morning.  Only David and Lorcan remain in Tartu to wear the green jersey in the Pairs event.

Day 2 in Tartu (assonance?) was a very busy one for the Irish competitors.  It began at 10am with the Individual Quiz, in the main hall.

You could say each round in that quiz is general knowledge.  You’d be more accurate though if you said each round is completely specific knowledge.  There’s very little general knowledge here.  For example, a question in round 6, asking for the name of the religious depictions of Jesus and the holy family in the Eastern Orthodox Church, stood out like a sore thumb.  It was a bit easy.*

Anyway, I outlined how we got on in yesterday’s post so let’s move on to the afternoon’s exciting event: Ireland’s first foray into knockout quizzing.

After the qualifier round of the Nations Cup, the top eight teams play out semi-finals (as in, 1-4 go for the main title and 5-8 try to get to the Plate final).  Similarly, the top eight teams in the Aspirational Cup (B teams etc and ad-hoc teams) have semi-finals and I actually got to MC one of these on Friday night.

This is a bit of an anomaly but the teams who finished 9th and 10th in the Nations Cup qualifier also get to have a knockout quiz.  This year, these teams were Germany and Ireland. Read the rest of this entry →

Questions from Tartu

November 10, 2012 in EQC, Quizzes

Individual quiz tablemates: Me, Kay, David and Jakob.

Righto. After my snafu earlier with the backspace key, I feel I owe you all some questions.

First, I need to report on how we did in this morning’s Individual Quiz. This event sees us all taking part on our own (the name would imply that, wouldn’t it?!) in eight rounds, the first seven each having 12 questions and the last round featuring 16. There are no themes or category rounds. Each one is mixed-bag/general knowledge/whatever you want to call it.

Table places are assigned based on the number we each have in the bottom-right corner of our name tags. Funnily enough, I ended up at the same table (11) as my colleague on the Irish team, David Fay. There we were joined by Kay from Norway and Jakob from Denmark.

At the end of each round, you simply swap your answer sheet with the person across the table from you, Jakob in my case, and the answers are then called out from the stage. We were all of roughly the same standard which was nice as it meant we did a lot of sympathising with each other after certain rounds. On one occasion, I “top-scored” with 2/12, whilst the others all got 1. Sufficed to say, we had a bit of fun with the whole thing.
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Day 1: To Tartu we go

November 10, 2012 in EQC, Quizzes

The Irish team: Padraic Fanning, John Nolan, Derek Cray, David Fay and Lorcan Duff.

This year’s European Quizzing Championshipsare taking place in Tartu, Estonia. Ireland are respresented at this quiz festival by a team of five people: myself, Drek Cray, Lorcan Duff, Padraic Fanning and David Fay.

Getting to Tartu is a challenge in itself. It’s Estonia’s second city but Estonia isn’t that big a place. Thus, while Tartu does have an airport, it is only serviced by flights from two destinations – Tallinn and Helsinki. I didn’t see the point of flying to Tallinn and then on to Tartu, when Tallinn is all of two hours away by road and, unfortunately, there is no easy way to get from Ireland to Helsinki. Well, certainly no way at times that suited us.

Two of the team arrived in Estonia on Thursday night, staying in Tallinn before making their way to Tartu yesterday morning. Myself, Padraic and Derek were even more efficient. We left Dublin at 6.45am and flew to Riga, the captial of Latvia. Air travel can be a bit mysterious at times. Why does it take practically an hour to fly Dublin-London and it took us just 2 hours and 35 minutes to fly from Dublin to Riga?
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Post-Olympics good news glow

August 14, 2012 in Housekeeping, Interactive

Welcome back all. Or rather, welcome back to myself, as I’ve returned from my holidays on the lovely Iveragh Peninsula.  And it was lovely, the weather was fine.  Alas, the tv reception wasn’t so good so I missed a lot of the Olympics.  Still, that gave me the excuse to actually go outside and enjoy the scenery.

I’ve returned to a couple of pieces of good news. Firstly, this site right here has been long-listed for the 2012 Irish Blog Awards!  Thanks so much to all of you who took the time to send in a nomination.

Secondly, we now have a date for the IQO‘s first provincial Quiz Grand Prix.  It will take place in The Clarendon Bar, Derry, on Saturday 29th September.  I’ll have more info for you on the event as they get decided on.  Right now, I can say that there will be singles and team quizzes and that all are welcome!  I’ll keep you all up-to-date here on the site over the next few weeks.

In other news, this year’s European Quizzing Championships will take place in Tartu, Estonia, from the 9th to 11th of November.  If you’d like to find out more about the event check out  Again, there’ll be more info here, as we get closer to the event.

Finally, in the wake of the brilliant 2012 Summer Olympics in London, I’ve created a little Olympics-themed quiz for you all to try out.  It’ll get your brains back into action as the Quizpocalypse comes to an end.  Roll on September! Click ‘Read the rest…’ to do the quiz.

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