LightSpeed Individual Open Buzzer Quiz

Review of 2003

A retrospective individual look at the year with a special emphasis on the 'LightSpeed Quiz' by the organiser, Steve Kidd (therefore boring as crap for anybody who has got here by accident)

Might 2003 have been the best year of my life?

In October 2002 we filmed the semi-final of University Challenge and got knocked out. It was the worst experience of my life to date, I'm convinced it pulled my grades down by 15%, made me hate some of those closest to me and left me totally frustrated. It was so terminal.

When Mark Labbatt mailed me and suggested that I might enjoy a quizzing event in Pontefract in February 2003 I agreed. It was an education to see how good top quizzers really are; I sat next to Pat Gibson for a while and saw a chap called Andy Page win the event and a had a thoroughly good time. For several months I had been playing a buzzer quiz at the pub on a Sunday night as practice for University Challenge and I had the idea that I enjoyed buzzering. I can not remember when I finalised the idea of LSQ but I saw it as a potential release for the frustration of TV 'failure' (of course it wasn't a failure, it was just a great time which lasted longer than we had any right to expect). After a couple of postings on we had the first event at the Mill House Gildersome. Chris Jones, Darren Martin, Lee Warburton, Don Purdie and myself had a good time, and lo and behold - I was absolved!

Since then it has been fantastic, as I have made some great friends through quizzing, rubbed shoulders with giants and learned a couple of things which have made my life richer. This is nothing at all to do with the LSQ, but to have appeared on University Challenge, Mastermind, 15:1 and have been 45 seconds away from 10 grand on I'm The Answer when I am about 23rd in the top scorer list of the five towns quiz league second division is somehow surreal.

Mark Kerr, from Rainhill, contacted me and set up an event at the Victoria Hotel, close to the railway station in his home town.. Without him LSQ would have petered out. Pat Gibson turned up, along with a load of others from the Liverpool side of the Pennines and with Alan Gibbs and Mark provided the most exciting game, in the final, I might have ever seen. As far as personal form was concerned it appeared that my first win was a flash in the pan, nevertheless I have never enjoyed getting beaten so much. Another win from Pat, a win for Carl Whelan and two for arguably the best quizzer in the United Kingdom, Kevin Ashman, served to emphasise the gulf of difference between the top guys and the rest of us.

I know my place. In a 'table' quiz of 100 questions, if Kevin Ashman got 85, it strikes me a few people who have played LSQ would give him a game. Most people who played LSQ would be at least in the 50s. I would be in the 30s. This is not being self-effacing, this is born out by results at Aston Villa, Pontefract and Oxford. I have, however, had some of the proudest moments of my life in winning the last two LSQ events of 2003 yet I feel I am in an awkward position. Screw it. I am good at getting easy answers a few hundredths of a second before anybody else and it is those who don't avail themselves of the fantastic opportunity LSQ offers who devalue quizzing in general.

I would love to see Andy Page, Dag Griffiths, Ray Oakes, Michael Penrice, Geoff Thomas, Ian Bailey, Olav Bjortomt, and all the hundreds of other amazing quizzers I have (and have not) heard about participate in 2004. It is the most dynamic and open of quizzing formats. I don't think anybody can lay definite claim to being a good buzzer quizzer until they have proven themselves in open competition and I hereby invite them to come on down.

LSQ is not a test of depth of knowledge. It is a test of knowing what you know and involves gambling, physical reaction time, intuition, psychology and luck (amongst others). It is to table quizzing what the one day game is to five day test cricket. I love table quizzing, but if I were a gunfighter I personally would be quite happy to concede the Nordic Biathlon title in return for killing my opposition at ten paces on the word draw!

Who do I thank?

LSQ is the best open quiz available in the United Kingdom on a regular basis that I know of.
Please inform me of any that are better and come on down anyway.