Chuan Xu ’12 Sweeps All-School GeograBee Finals

By a margin of five points, Chuan Xu ’12 claimed victory in the 16th Annual All-School GeograBee competition last Wednesday.

Xu, representing Pine Knoll Cluster, earned 24 points out of 90 possible points in the competition to win first place. Christopher Russo ’15, representing Abbot Cluster, earned 19 points and placed second, and Ashok Aggarwal ’15, representing West Quad North, took third with 11 points. Other finalists included Lucas Png ’13, representing Flagstaff, and Justin Curtis ’15, representing day students, who tied for fourth, and Henry Kennelly ’13, representing West Quad South, who came in sixth.

Wednesday’s finals, which took place in Upper Left of Paresky Commons, was the culmination of a multi-round competition. The participants qualified for the school-wide finals after winning their dorm and cluster competitions or the day student finals.

In the competition’s quiz-bowl format, the first contestant to hit a buzzer received an opportunity to respond to the question. Three points were added to a player’s score if they answered the question correctly, and one point was deducted if the response was incorrect. The competition consisted of a total of 30 questions and 90 possible points.

After the first ten questions, Xu was seven points ahead of his competitors. Xu maintained his lead until six questions before the end of the competition, when Russo stole his first place position. Several questions later, however, Xu regained his first place position to seal his victory.

Xu frequently buzzed in to answer questions before the moderator finished speaking. Xu said, “There is a buzzing strategy. Buzzing early gives a huge psychological advantage provided that you know something about the answer.”

“The game was all about buzzing in first. Sometimes it was an obvious question, but you need to hear the end of it,” said Russo.

“I tried to [buzz in early] when I realized Chuan was getting all of those points [that way],” he added.

According to Skanda Koppula ’13, a spectator at the All-School GeograBee, the most difficult questions for the competitors were the ones that asked for specific details about the demographics, industries or geographical features of a foreign country.

For example, no contestant could answer the question about the second-largest industry in the Bahamas.

Susanne Torabi, Geograbee and International Student Coordinator, said that international students tended to do better in the GeograBee than students who reside in the United States.

Two of the six finalists this year were international students. Xu is from Beijing, China and Png is from Singapore.

Torabi said, “International students coming from different places know about other places better than [people who grew up in the U.S.].”

However, she said that this can act against them as well, as they may not be familiar with common local or national information.

Torabi said she based many of her questions on information from the National Geographic website. She suggested that student contestants take a daily quiz of ten questions on the website to prepare for the competition.

“If students want to continue to learn throughout the year they can build their knowledge [by taking the quiz] and come back stronger [next year,]” she said. Russo said that he used geography quizzes on trivia quiz website Sporcle to prepare for the event. Xu said that he had not prepared for the competition but has been studying geography since elementary school, where he enjoyed spending time studying maps.

Torabi said that the purpose of holding the annual GeograBee is to give students the opportunity to learn more about different regions, peoples and cultures and to promote the student body’s interest in world geography and history.

She said, “The world has become so small now and there are so many places we don’t know about. It should be a daily endeavor [to think] about other people and places, and to go outside of the comfort zone.”

All of the top three finalists received monetary prizes. Third place won 25 dollars, second place earned 50 dollars, and first place received the grand prize of 100 dollars.

Flagstaff Cluster also won a cluster munch for its 100 percent boarder participation rate and having the highest percentage of correct answers on the first 10 questions in the dorm competition round.