BSQC–2019: preview

This Sunday, March 10th, Imperial College, London will play host to the biggest and most exciting event of the quizbowl calendar — the British Student Quiz Championships. This will be the fifteenth edition of the tournament, and the ninth straight annually since its revival in 2011. With 28 teams representing 16 institutions attending, we are delighted to say that it will be the biggest yet!

Defending champions Cambridge A return to Imperial looking to keep a hold on their crown. They have lost two of the four that brought them victory last year, but retain Yanbo Yin and Samuel Cook. With the strong all-rounder Joseph Krol coming into the team, and coming off the back of a solid victory in January’s Hard Oxford Tournament, Cambridge look to have a strong chance of taking home the trophy again.

BSQC-trophy Our own Elysia Warner captained Cambridge A to their first BSQC trophy last year.

Amongst those looking to spoil Cambridge’s party will be their Varsity rivals Oxford A, defeated finalists last year and the most successful team in BSQC history (by a distance!). George Charlson captains a balanced and experienced team, featuring Oliver Clarke, Jacob Robertson and Isaac Brown, who will be hoping to go one better than last time. Another team who will fancy their chances are Southampton A. Southampton finished third last year, with their star man Evan Lynch the top individual scorer at the tournament, and so they look serious contenders for the trophy this time around.

A number of teams will be staging their return to BSQC after a period of absence. Durham have not taken part in the competition since 2000 (!), but a very strong showing on the currently-airing series of University Challenge marks them out as a team to watch. Similarly, Bristol have been putting up impressive performances in front of Paxman and co., and it’s great to see them return to BSQC after a year away. King’s College, London return for the first time since their sole appearance in 2013, while University College, London re-enter the fray for the first time since 2014, with a line-up that includes former Oxfordians David Knapp and Nikhil Venkatesh.

Four teams will be making their debut in the tournament. Two of those combine quizbowl experience with fresh talent. Ex-Cantab Vitalijs Brejevs and Warwick-alum Daniel Arribas team up with University Challenge stars Freya Whiteford and Cameron Herbert for a strong-looking Glasgow side, whilst UC and two-time BSQC champion Joey Goldman returns to student quizbowl with the City, University of London team. Cardiff and Exeter also make their bows — with both universities recently having set up quiz societies, the future of quizbowl looks bright in the South West and Wales! Last year’s debutants included Queen Mary, University of London, who return this time for their sophomore appearance, captained by Quiz League of London regular Scott Kemp.

It’s wonderful to see UK student quizzing growing so fast, and it will be great to watch the new teams test their mettle against some of the universities which have become mainstays of British quizbowl over the last few years. Manchester have attended every BSQC since the resurrection of the tournament, whilst Edinburgh, Warwick and hosts Imperial put in consistently strong performances year upon year. One of the fastest improving teams this season has been Oxford Brookes, who stormed to a win at the British Novice Tournament back in November. They will be looking to make the step up to the slightly tougher difficulty level at BSQC, and looking to continual their gradual climb up the standings.

Many universities are sending B and C teams (there’s even a D team) — leaving open the wonderful possibility of a B team beating the A team from the same university in a crucial game (it’s happened before!). In all, we expect to welcome around 112 players to what should be an enjoyable, intriguing and above all fiercely competitive day of buzzing. We hope you’re all looking forward to it.