Quizzing Around the World: India

You may not know about the Indian capital Chennai (formerly Madras), but if you like bar trivia, you might owe a debt of thanks to the town.

In the early ‘80s, a professor named Shankar Balakrishnan who worked for Anna University in then-Madras invented a new type of quizzing called Infinite Bounce. The Indian Institute of Technology-Madras picked up on it, and it became popular in Asian and European trivia circles soon after. 

In an Infinite Bounce quiz, also known as Infinite Rebounds or Bouncer, questions “bounce” from team to team until they’re answered. According to the Boat Club Quiz Club out of the College of Engineering, Pune in Pune, Maharashtra, India, the quiz host starts with the team ranked immediately behind the team that answered the last question correctly. If they can’t answer, the question is passed to the team behind them, and so on.

If no team can answer the question, the host goes back to the same team that started the sequence. On the other hand, if each team correctly answers a question, the order is reversed, similar to the way a snake draft works. In some formats, if a team doesn’t know the answer to a question, they can decide who to pass it to, rather than stick to the order, which introduces an element of strategy to the generally fair, equal premise of Infinite Bounce.

It sounds more complicated than it is (though the Pune quiz club did come up with an algorithm to define Infinite Bounce mathematically).