(by Gary R. Hobin, Assistant Professor, CGSC Department of Joint, Interagency, and Multinational Operations)
The moderator announces a question; it flashes up on the screen. The timer starts. Rapid consultation among members of the team.
“How sure are you of the answer?” “Reasonably sure.” “OK, we’ll go with it.”
The allotted time expires. On to the next question. And the sequence repeats until the end of the round.
In brief, that is the World Quest competition.
World Quest 2023 was conducted April 26, 2023, and was sponsored by the city’s International Relations Council (IRC) and hosted at the University of Missouri, Kansas City (UMKC) Volker campus. Sixteen teams, most representing local colleges and businesses, competed in this year’s World Quest competition.
World Quest constitutes a series of competitions held nation-wide, involving teams ranging from high schools and colleges to businesses and social service groups. World Quest is essentially a fun and interactive global trivia competition. Teams of eight compete to show their knowledge of global affairs, geography, world languages, and more.
The competitions are held annually. School-based teams successful in their locality move on to higher level competition, and eventually to a national competition. Teams representing local college groups, businesses or social service organizations compete for a traveling trophy and local bragging rights.
The competition is tough with topics ranging from current events to geography and international relations, to music and theater, to culture and sports. World Quest puts a premium on broad knowledge and quick recall of details.
It’s not for the timid!
The Command and General Staff College team, sponsored by the CGSC Foundation, has been competing in World Quest for several years. The CGSC Team has an enviable record of finishing among top competitors. The eight members of this year’s team, all of whom were faculty members in the Department of Joint, Interagency and Multinational Operations (DJIMO), included World Quest veterans from last year’s team as well as newcomers. Team members included: Lt. Col. Valiant Haller, Mr. Dan Honken, Mr. Bruce Reider, Dr. John Modinger, Mr. Gary Hobin, Dr. Mark Wilcox, Mr. Joe Donalbain, Lt. Col. David McCaughrin.
The World Quest competition consisted of six rounds, each round having ten questions. Most rounds focused on a specific topic: Round 1’s topic: In the News; Round 2: Where in the World? Round 3: One for the History Books. Round 4: Identifications. The final two rounds were entitled Potpourri I and Potpourri II, and included, as the titles suggested, a variety of subject areas.
Answering some questions requires specific detailed information.
Question: Which of these Presidents was fluent in Mandarin? The list of five former U.S. Presidents followed. A team member who happens to be a history buff knows the answer; the team captain marks the answer on the tally sheet.
“For some [topics], we have an advantage,” said a CGSC team member, “in that one of us has served in that area.”
In Round 4, for example, the question asked teams to identify the structure in a photograph.
“I know that one; I’ve been there” was a team member’s immediate response. Mark one correct answer on the answer tally sheet!
For some questions, rapid evaluation of multiple-choice answers yields a solution. Eliminating some choices as clearly wrong or unlikely improves chances for an accurate best guess, and as a team’s score is the total number of correct answers, guessing a correct answer helps.
World Quest competition is tough. Teams are scored by the number of correct answers in each round, with the team with the highest total of correct answers being declared the trophy winner. A measure of the competition’s intensity: the top three teams’ scores were separated by two points: CGSC’s World Quest team finished third in the competition, trailing the first-place team by two answers.
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