Nil Satis Nisi Optimum
“Nil Satis Nisi Optimum” – review of the EQC 2013
For the sporting quizzers reading this you may recognise the above as being the club motto of Everton Football Club. Given that the EQC was being held in Liverpool, home to Everton, and that one of the main question setters was an Everton fan, I had hoped this question may pop up at some stage over the weekend. The question never did, but the literal meaning of the motto was present throughout the entire weekend – “Nothing but the best is good enough”
This was my second EQC having attended the 2012 event in Tartu, Estonia. From the day I returned home from Tartu I was waiting to go back and do it all again. It wasn’t that I quizzed well or came close to winning anything whilst there, but I just remember having fun! From travelling over and arriving at the venue 15 minutes before the start of the Nations Cup, meeting quiz legends such as Pat Gibson and Kevin Ashman, forming teams and friendships with so many people from all over the world, to the buzz I got when I dug out an answer from somewhere to get a precious point, EQC 2012 had me hooked. Knowing what to expect from this EQC in terms of format, quizzers, questions etc., I was determined to improve on one thing: my quizzing. Since Tartu my Hot 100 scores had improved, and I even managed a joint 4th place at the BQC held in Dublin in September, so I was looking to better my individual score and to contribute more to the team quizzes. I felt that if I could do this I would enjoy Liverpool as much as I enjoyed Tartu but I knew regardless of this that I would have fun whilst doing it.
My EQC started a day earlier than most as I had decided to travel over on the Thursday. This allowed me to take part in the social quiz held in the main hotel and I formed a team with my Irish teammates Padraic and Mark, as well as a Dutch quizzer Koen. Against strong teams, including a German team with their ‘Chasers’, we were ahead at halfway but behind with one round to go. With each of us contributing answers in the last round, we scored a maximum 10/10 and pipped the nearby English team to win by a point. There are no prizes to be won at an EQC; everyone is here to answer questions, but it was still nice to get a win and it gave us hope that it would be the first of many for Team Ireland over the weekend.
The first official quiz of the EQC was the new Master’s Tournament. 24 of the World’s best quizzers playing off against each other in 6 groups of 4. The first 21 names had been determined by various past results, with 3 wildcards available on the day, making up the full group of players. Encouraged to put my name down to take part, I was fearful that my name would be called out and I’d have to take on Kevin Ashman in a one on one quiz! Thankfully my name wasn’t called out, so instead I got to watch our own Lorcan take part in his group games. Watching quizzes would be a very common thing over the weekend. I was glad my name wasn’t called, as the standard was very very high and I would have struggled to answer even a handful of questions. Despite three great performances by Lorcan, he failed to qualify from his group despite only losing one game. Next up was the Aspirational Cup, which runs alongside the Nations Cup for the national teams. My team, The Dubliners consisting of John G, Dan and Kevin, knew deep down we were unlikely to qualify for the knock out events, so instead had a private, friendly battle, with Ireland’s other Aspirational Cup team, Ireland B, which contained the IQO Chairman John Nolan. Despite a great start we were beaten by Ireland B, and had to watch them celebrate their victory over us. But it was all in good spirits. Sadly that was the end of the official quizzing for the day as only the top teams make it through to the knockout stages. It is possible to watch these knockout games but we simply couldn’t find any! On hearing that there were fun quizzes taking place back at the hotel, off we went to try our luck in these. On turning up we found that the room was full so we weren’t able to take part in these either. So we found an adjacent room and started a game of jeopardy. We were clearly enjoying ourselves too much as we were repeatedly asked to close the door. Hours passed and still the questions came until it dawned on us that the individual quiz was only a few hours away.
Hmm. Tough question.
The individual quiz had been the highlight of my trip to Tartu. I scored 31/100 but had enjoyed that quiz the most due to its format. In Tartu I was sitting opposite David Edwards from Wales (the first man to win WWTBAM) and found myself opposite him again, and also alongside David Lea from Ireland and David Hesp from England. It’s a pity my name wasn’t David as Derek just didn’t perform on the day. I scored a disappointing 26/100 and finished in 12th place of the 12 Irish quizzers who were in attendance. Despite my poor score I was still happy with some of my answers, as I was the only one at the table to answer Q99 about the third man to be nominated for an Oscar for both writing and acting in 1977. But my hope had been that I would improve on my score of 31, and having failed to do this I was disappointed. Thus followed a long 7-hour gap until my next quiz. The final of the Individual quiz, more knockout matches in the Nations Cup and more Master’s matches were held, but for me there was nothing until the Team Quiz. Not wanting to watch others quiz, and being unable to do the Hot 100, I took in the sights of Liverpool for the afternoon, but didn’t get very far! The Team Quiz on Saturday evening is the same format as the Aspirational Cup, just as hard, but it’s more relaxed. Encouraged to mix up the teams, myself and John G lost Kevin and Dan but gained Padraic and Ger, and it was certainly relaxed at our table. Drinks, jokes and laughs were plentiful, but there weren’t many answers, of the correct type. We had a friendly rivalry with the table next to us as we battled it out for the final two spots, just beating them to 2nd last place by a couple of points. But again it was all in good fun.
The Dubliners. No, not THOSE ones.
With the official quizzing over for the evening, it was time to return to the hotel for the social quizzes. Once again the official fun quiz was full but we were better prepared than the previous night as we had Dave McBryan and his excellent sets of questions to keep us entertained for hours. As time went by more and more people gathered around us to join inas the questions kept flowing. There simply was no end to them as we quizzed from midnight until after 4am when I left. But although I stopped quizzing, it was still a while before I got back to my hotel. Last year in Tartu we had to leave the event early on Sunday morning to catch our flight and it meant missing the Pairs quiz, so it was one quiz I was looking forward to this year. But due to multiple late nights and what not, I never made it to the start line. I arrived at the venue just in time to see the Dream Team of Pairs quizzing retain their title and it would prove to be a busy time for Kevin and especially Pat, as he was in action in the Master’s final and would then take part in the Nations Cup final for England. For one last time I found myself watching others quiz, unable to take part. After an exciting Masters final, I left the Nations Cup to finally see those sights of Liverpool that I had missed on Saturday, and found it strange that when I returned hours later, the Nations Cup was just finishing up! A long quiz to be part of but a long wait for all but 8 people who were there. The prizes were handed out, the event was wrapped up, and people started to leave. The Hot 100 was now available to sit, but as I had to catch a flight from Manchester I wouldn’t have time to do it and it was yet another quiz that I could not take part in.
Somebody down the back knows the answer….
As I set off on my own to the airport, I had time to think about the weekend. Questions like: did I enjoy myself, would I go again, and what I would do different came to mind. Yes I enjoyed myself as I love quizzing. I’m not in the same league as the best quizzers, but I enjoy the challenge of the questions with the hope of getting one right that no one else knows. Hopefully that leads on to two right, and three right. So I will go again, no matter where it’s on, that’s the easiest question to answer. What to do different, well study harder for a start. Take part in the online revision quizzes. I only have myself to blame for my poor scores this year. It’s up to me to improve and beat my score from this year and last, and get as high as I can. Whilst no amount of improvement is going to get me to the knockout stages of any quiz at an EQC, I do hope that Team Ireland can bring more social quizzes like Dave’s that we can do during the quiet times of the day. Watching is not as enjoyable as taking part and as a quizzer all you want to do is answer questions. I spent most of my time watching, wanting to take part, with the Everton motto clear in my mind – Nothing but the best is good enough.