HT School has always believed in offering a learning playground to students where they can learn while having fun. All its quizzing ventures, starting from ClassAct to Smartacus 2022, are geared towards this objective. With the aim of offering students an opportunity to engage in team quizzing, HT School conceived Smartacus 2022 – The Hindustan Times National Interschool Quiz which kicked off with a Selection Round on 15th August last year when India celebrated its 75th Independence Day. Now, exactly six months down the line, after a series of nail-biting matches between 64 schools across the nation, it is time for the muchawaited National Final, scheduled on 17th February from 11AM to 2PM. It will be conducted over Zoom by two of India’s finest quizmasters Dr. Navin Jayakumar and Mr. Avinash Mudaliar.

The two schools that will compete against each other in the National Final are Gokuldham High School, Goregaon East, Mumbai (West Zone) and Sri Kumaran Children’s Home, CBSE, Mallasandra, Bengaluru (South Zone). Each team will have 3 participants.

The National Final will comprise 2 grids (rounds) where each grid will have 8 specialised topics including History & Mythology, Geography, Sports, Literature, Science & Technology, Art & Architecture, Entertainment, and Culture &Tradition, among others. Each of these 8 specialised topics will have 2 questions. However, the most interesting part would be the Mystery Boxes, 2 in each grid, which will comprise general knowledge questions, 3 per box. So, in all, there will be 22 questions per grid, taking the overall question count in the Finale to 44.

The rules of Smartacus 2022 National Final are pretty simple. A participant from each team gets to select the specialised topic of their own choice. In case he or she is unable to answer the direct question (worth 2 points), it goes on to the rest of the team for bonus points (1 point). If the team also fails to come up with the correct answer, the question in turn passes on to the opponent team who can steal it away with a correct response and win themselves 1 point.

At the end of the National Finals, there will also be another crucial contest: Quizzer of the Year. Here, 12 students, 3 top performers each from the 4 schools who contested the National Semi-Finals will compete against one another solo to win the much-coveted prize. It will be conducted over Zoom and will comprise 30 questions.

Prizes worth INR 4 lakh plus are up for grabs, alongside a Champion’s trophy. Contestants will also receive digital certificates of participation.

The Selection Round was an individual round, wherein all registered students belonging to grades 5 to 12 took part asynchronously on the Quizizz Platform. It comprised 60 questions in multiple-choice and type-in formats.

After the Selection Round, 16 top-performing schools from each zone (North, South, East & West), i.e., 64 schools were invited to participate in the Zonal Rounds based on the scores of their individual participants. The invited schools created a team of 5 to compete in the Zonals, that followed a knockout format. The Zonals comprised 4 sub-rounds namely PreQuarter Finals (16 schools), Quarter Finals (8 schools), Semi-Finals (4 schools) and Final (2 schools). It began on 18th October 2022 and continued till 19th January 2023.

Out of the 64 schools battling it out in the Zonal Round, 4 (1 from each zone) made it to the National Semi-Finals. The first match in this round between North and West happened on 30th January, followed by the second one between South and East on 31st January.

Here are some of the highlights from Smartacus 2022 that deserve special mention. During the Pre-Quarter Finals (Round of 16) in the South Zone, a nerve-wracking match happened between Chennai city-mates PSBB Nungambakkam & PSBB T. Nagar. It stretched over a whopping 5 tie-breaker rounds and culminated in a thriller, where PSBB T. Nagar emerged victorious. There were about half a dozen similar close tie-breakers in the Zonal Rounds. The first National Semi-Final also saw an electrifying finish, wherein Gokuldham High School (now the national finalist from the West zone) overcame a 4-point deficit against DPS Gurugram in the early stages to force a tie-breaker, and then went on to win the tie-breaker itself!

So far, Smartacus 2022 has seen an array of fun and brain-tickling questions. Here are a few of the popular ones.

Q. Jallikattu involves releasing a bull into a crowd of people where participants attempt to grab its hump and ride it as long as possible. It is part of the celebrations of which annual festival?

Ans. Pongal

Q. Which defence line, many thousand kilometres long, was built over several centuries, as barrier against invasion by people such as the Huns and the Mongols?

Ans. The Great Wall of China

Q. What does the letter ‘V’ stand for in the information storage device the DVD?

Ans. Versatile

Q. Which Asian city is the first to host both the Summer and Winter Editions of the Olympics?

Ans. Beijing

Q. In 2022, which musician became the first artist in history to claim all top 10 slots on the Billboard Hot 100 music chart in the US?

Ans. Taylor Swift

Talking about the journey of Smartacus 2022 so far, Mr. Meghashyam Shirodkar, who conducted the Zonal rounds and National Semi-Final matches, says, “It has been an absolute high to have a ringside seat to the contests in Smartacus 2022 so far, starting from the thrills and the spills, the brilliant answers and the equally serendipitous wild guesses, to the agonies and the ecstasies at the final scores! The quizzards of this Smartacus season have amply demonstrated that reading, quizzing, and knowledge culture are all alive in Young India, and the students of today trust themselves to deliver under pressure, no matter what’s at stake. The biggest takeaway for me from interacting with all these brilliant young minds has been that quizzing is alive and kicking in India, and how!”

Brace yourself for a gut-wrenching National Final this Friday. Happy quizzing!

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