Amongst the cognoscenti of the British quizzing scene , the European quizzing championships is THE event of the year , a weekend packed with increasingly brutal questions , inter country camaraderie and plenty of alcohol. Last year I decided I wasn’t really committed enough to make the trip to the Dutch city of Dordrecht. This year however it was in Derby , and attendance was a no brainer.
Not only that , but I am fortunate enough to have had a quiz documentary commissioned for Radio 4 centred around this particular weekend. So in addition to taking part in a variety of quizzes , I have been interrupting people at breakfast, lunch and dinner poking them with a microphone , asking them “how they feel”.
The morning after the weekend before , I am exhausted. I am utterly delighted that I came 22nd out of 116 in the individual quiz , not least because I have not really had the time to do any structured revision. I feel privileged to have been able to interview some of the greatest quizzers on the planet , to ask them difficult probing questions which hopefully will sound good after the edit. I feel idiotic for not having recognized a photo of Freddie Prinze Jr , or the band Arcade Fire. I feel bewildered that a team from Finland could have correctly identified Nik Kershaw’s The Riddle having only been given a bit of the more obscure parts of the lyrics. My knowledge of Finnish quirky 80’s pop is nonexistent. I feel delighted to have stayed up till half four on Sunday morning impromptu drunk quizzing in someone’s hotel room with a man who once won US Millionaire, whilst the host had drunkenly locked herself in her hotel bathroom. And I’m proud of my President’s Cup skip Olav Bjortomt who is now the new European Champion.
But more than that I feel gobsmacked after having had a ringside seat for the national team final between England and Belgium. There were 90 questions. Of those 90 , I knew about 8 , 42 left me speechless with confusion , the other 40 came close to bringing on a brain haemorrhage. The representatives of the above nations relished the challenge , and answered the vast majority of them. In an individual quiz the difference between me , a keen quizzer , and the top players seems like a significant but feasibly surmountable gap. Here the sheer scale of the chasm was laid bare.
I like asking quiz players of around my level or above if they actually have any desire to put in the hard work that would make them as good as the players I have described above. I think most would say no , they have too many commitments via work and family to possibly have the ambition to aim that high. As for me , I have absolutely no idea , but if pushed I think I would tend to agree. Being amongst the best in the world is perhaps a tad unrealistic . This year I have come 31st in the world champs and 22nd in the european champs , and these feel like sufficient triumphs for now.
Id like to thank all at the IQA for the hard work , and if the Belgian guy with the blue hoodie who looked like a Flemish Clark Kent is reading this , and is single , then please get in touch x