by Ryan Hubbard
For the International Quizzing Association, there's nothing trivial about trivia. Formed in 2003 in England, the IQA has created the World Quizzing Championships to determine the best trivia expert on the planet.
The IQA wants "to establish quiz as a mind sport," elevating it to the level of chess or bridge and adding yet another competition to the "Is it a game or sport?" debate (see also billiards and poker). I don't have much to contribute to that debate, but here is a concise discussion of chess that seems applicable to quiz.
If you want to be quiz's next great champion, enter the World Quizzing Championships this Saturday. Chicago is one of four U.S. cities to host the test--the others are New York, Los Angeles, and Denver--and the U.S. is one of 21 countries to participate. There's no qualifying, so anybody can show up, take the same free two-hour, 240-question exam, and find out within a week if they rule the world. There are no award ceremonies or prizes, just serious bragging rights.
Are you smart enough to win it all? According to local organizer Mitchell Szczepanczyk, people curious about their qualifications should look less to their IQ or SAT scores than to their competency at Jeopardy! "If you do well on that show," he says, "then you have a better-than-average chance of doing well on [the quiz]." Another measure of your competency might be your ability to pronounce Mitchell's last name.
The quiz questions address the following categories: Culture, Entertainment, History, World, Sciences, Lifestyle, Sport, and Media (e.g., What's the best alternative weekly newspaper in Chicago? ahem). In this sense the quiz resembles Trivial Pursuit. But Szczepanczyk says the quiz's breadth of coverage is "far wider" than the board game's, and overall it's "more challenging and, by extension, more difficult."
Check out these questions from past quizzes.
What: World Quizzing Championships
When: 11 AM, Sat 6/7 (the quiz will begin at approximately 11:15 AM)
Where: Conrad Sulzer Regional Library, 4455 N. Lincoln Avenue, 312-744-7616
Contact info: Mitchell Szczepanczyk, 773-641-2151 or firstname.lastname@example.org (e-mail here to register in advance)
Web site: wqc2008.com