Aspirational Cup

This format is used each year at the European Quizzing Championships for both the Nations and Aspirational Cup Tournaments – the latter event being a friendly contest open to any and all teams not eligible to participate in the Nations Cup.

As a preliminary, all teams entering the competition play in a 100 question ‘table quiz’ conducted in exactly the same manner as the Club Team Competition (see link at right of page). At the outset of the quiz the master of ceremonies will indicate how many of the top scoring teams from this ‘table quiz’ will be invited into the knock-out element which follows it. So, however, only the top four teams will progress to semi-final matches to settle which two teams will contest a final match to see who takes the trophy and title of ‘Aspirational Cup winners’.

Knock-out matches feature two teams of four players quizzing head-to-head. Questions are read out by an impartial umpire and, after 30 seconds consultation time, teams answer orally through their captain.

The national teams must be registered with the IQA organisers before the matches start. No substitutes are allowed. If there are exceptional circumstances that prevent a registered player from taking part, the IQA organisers must be informed. They will decide if it is acceptable to substitute a player and they will consult with the opposing team.

At the beginning of each match a matrix is revealed displaying 20 topic titles (30 in the case of the Nations Cup Final). Behind each category will be three questions that are somehow linked to the topic title.  In preparing these questions, the IQA setters aim to include one straightforward question, one medium question, and one that is tough… for a national team.

At the start of the match a coin toss will decide which team’s captain gets to chose to go first or second. Teams going first will have the first pick. The second and third pick will go to the other team, fourth and fifth to the team who started, and so on until the end of the game when, after the non starting-team has had the 18th and 19th pick, the team that went first gets left with the topic nobody wanted.

Teams will take it in turns to select topics to answer. Their opponents will only be able to score a bonus if the playing team fails to give a correct answer. The opponents must answer within 10 seconds of the question being passed. The may discuss their answer before giving it.

Some topic titles are explicit and unambiguous: e.g. “French Literature” will give you three questions on French Literature. Others can be cryptic: e.g. “Linked by a First Name” could see you get three questions on people called Mary, but these three could be as diverse as – an R&B music question on Mary J. Blige, a theology question about Mary Magdalene, and a TV/Film question about the career of Mary Tyler Moore.

In the first half of the match (picks 1-10, or 1-15 in the Nations Final) all correct answers are worth two points. This applies both to the team who picked the topic and an answer given for a ‘bonus’ by their opponents. In the second half of the match all correct answers are worth three points.

Experience shows that, between them, teams contesting these matches typically score around 70-75% of the available points. There are plenty of questions that go unanswered, often these are ones people in the audience knew the answers to. For example, in the European Nations final in Dordrecht in 2009 neither team was able to answer this one correctly…

“Topic title: Literary Beings

Q2: Featured in ‘The Hobbit’, he helps Gandalf and others. What is the name of the fearsome shape-shifting man who hunts goblins and wargs in the shape of a huge bear?

Ans: BEORN”