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IATEFL International Quiz Night (Hosted by Gavin Dudeney and Victoria Boobyer)

David Dodgson's picture

The IATEFL Conference is a massive event with a multitude of sessions running from 8am until 6pm. Even the coffee breaks are moments for further discussion and exploration of ideas. But it doesn’t stop there! A full programme of evening social events is also laid on for delegates and one of these –which I had the pleasure of attending– was Monday’s International Quiz Night.

The 2015 Quiz was run by Gavin Dudeney and Victora Boobyer –back for the first time after many years– with Adrian Tennant as organiser. Victoria says that she and Gavin ‘jumped at the chance’ to step in due to their love of quiz competitions. They did a great job of promoting and running the event with tough Google-proof questions, a slick slideshow, and entertaining hosting.

Part of the success of the evening was that it appealed to the wide variety of delegates in attendance.  Great efforts were made to make the questions as ‘international as possible’, so world famous locations were used for the “Where in the World?” round and as Victoria told me afterwards ‘any cultural questions had to be from globally successful music or films’.

Other rounds included “What’s that sound?” – a fiendishly difficult series of short audio excerpts such as computer boot sounds and music from classic computer games and TV shows that we had to identify. There was also a “What connects?” round, inspired by Shaun Wilden’s use of it at the IHDoS conference. That was a very tough series of questions too, but luckily the international make-up of my team meant we managed to make educated guesses for most of them.

In the build up to the event, Gavin and Victoria had proclaimed their quiz to be ‘ungoogleable’. With reliable wifi in the conference centre and pretty much everybody in possession of a connected device, that was quite a claim to make! However, as Victoria pointed out afterwards, no team got 100% or close to it and rounds based on images and audio were impossible to search for in the timeframe. Also, in the spirit of the quiz, everybody as far as I could see kept their devices in their pockets or bags.

The quiz was structured so that there was a score check after three rounds before a further three to see who had won. The prize on offer was simply the honour of having taking part, so in a way everyone was a winner. It just so happened that my team was well-placed at the halfway stage, just one point behind the leading pack and we managed to make up the deficit in the final rounds to draw level with one other team. That led to a tie-break situation but after both teams failed to answer the first question and responded correctly to the second one, Gavin declared a draw. I put it to the organisers that this had possibly come about due to them only having two tie-breakers prepared.  Victoria, now on the receiving end of a tough question, replied that this was in honour of ‘a long tradition at IATEFL’ of draws, fitting in with the ELTJ debate.

It was a very enjoyable evening and a  good chance to mix with other delegates outside ‘conference mode.’ On their potential involvement as organisers and hosts next year, Victoria said she and Gavin would like to ‘refine the format and have a second crack’ if the opportunity arises. She suggested an online petition to gauge support, and that is certainly one I would sign!