Quiz Bowl is an academic game of quick-recall, combining elements from trivia game shows such as Jeopardy and Who Wants to be a Millionaire with a wide range of academic and not so academic topics. Players, usually in teams of three or four, are lined up with corresponding buzzers and compete against opposing teams in fast, intense games. Twenty minutes pass by quickly, being filled up with two question types—tossups and bonuses. Toss-ups are usually a paragraph long, containing material pertaining to any field of study (science, math, history, the list goes on), with oddly specific details placed in the beginning in order for players who are most knowledgeable to buzz in earlier. Points are awarded to those who buzz in earliest and correctly, usually 10 points, and brings forth a set of bonus questions. Bonuses contain three questions all pertaining to a single topic, worth ten points each.
From March 22nd to March 24th, Korea International School’s own high school Quiz Bowl team spent the beginning of their spring break traveling to Shanghai to compete in the NAQT Asian Championships, held at Shanghai American School of Puxi. This was the team’s second tournament overseas, with 20 teams from across Asia participating, some of the schools renowned for their Quiz Bowl prowess. To compare, the previous trip to Hong Kong for the invitational had five teams from three schools competing. Many players expressed their excitement at competing at such an important tournament, yet feared that they wouldn’t be able to stand a chance against the schools where Quiz Bowl had an established reputation. It is important to note that KIS’s team was only formed this year, while international schools in China and Southeast Asia have had Quiz Bowl programs for years, with players who have become accustomed with the types of questions that are asked.
Before a match, freshman player Edward F. “was afraid that it would be hard to score many toss-ups against the experienced players”, mentioning how “All (those) players on those Chinese teams are bound to be experienced!” The KIS Quiz Bowl team coach and KIS chemistry teacher, Mr. Joo, had similar sentiments, remarking that it would have been impressive if even one of the teams managed to score even halfway, at about 10~12th place. There was no need for worry, however. The students had been divided into three teams, A, B, and C, each captained by seniors Chris P., Joshua R, and JJ K respectively. Out of these three, team A surprisingly won seven out of nine games, placing seventh out of twenty teams. “I felt very proud that our team could have gotten such a high ranking,” remarked sophomore Grace L., “I was surprised at first though, we were beginners, after all.” The other two teams also held their own against the other schools’ teams, all snatching high rankings. Edward F. of Team C claims “It was us who was against the hardest teams.” While the validity of these claims cannot be confirmed, it must be noted that the team did exceptionally well. The seniors of Team B also had an enjoyable experience, for many of them they participated in their last official match of their first year of Quiz Bowl. Overall, everyone, including the coaches, considered this tournament a good experience.
Quiz Bowl at KIS has room to grow in the future. With a new middle school team formed, the high school members and Coach Jeong S. Joo hope that this academic tournament will only advance at KIS, with more and more participants. But the season of tournaments is not over yet, as KIS will next participate in a Seoul Spring Invitational to be held at SFS in late April.