What Is The Quizzing Order Of Merit?

The Quizzing Order of Merit recognises quizzers' achievements at the National and International Quiz Circuit events.
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What Is The Quizzing Order Of Merit?

Postby Chris » Wed Jul 18, 2012 2:53 am

The British Quiz Association’s (BQA’s) Order of Merit was launched in its current form in July 2009. The purpose of this article is to explain the thinking behind it, describe how it works, and set out how it will henceforth be operated – i.e. some minor changes are coming into force affecting the current and next season.

Early Days

Quizzing.co.uk, the web-based arm of the BQA, had been running Grand Prix (GP) style quizzes since 2003. Early on there were only a handful of events each year, but the number of meetings grew steadily and in 2006 some seven ordinary, domestic GP events were staged – in addition to the now regular trio of ‘big’ contests, namely the World, British, and European Championships, held annually in June, September, and November (respectively).

While records were being kept as to who had won Grands Prix, or been runner up, and who had won the various genres within individual GPs and Championships, it was felt by some that insufficient importance was attached to, or note being made of, the relative strengths of fields within each contest. Someone may have actually won a Genre or GP where, arguably, there hadn’t been the strongest or largest of fields present, whereas a more assured performance on the questions on another day might have earned less apparent recognition simply because the ‘big guns’ had been in attendance on that occasion. Two people in particular discussed this phenomenon (Mark Labbett and William De’Ath) and following some consultation with Quizzing.co.uk directors, Mark undertook to devise a proper rankings system. As stated earlier, this came into full effect with the launch of the Order of Merit in 2009, although the system launched by taking into account past results. beginning with the April 2007 London GP (a transatlantic challenge event between the UK and North America).

How Rankings Points Are Calculated

The basic idea behind the Order of Merit is that all new attendees of GPs etc. are accorded ‘Novice Status’. Once a person has been to four events in an extended period, or reached a certain threshold at the end of a particular season, they progress to ‘Sage’ status. Remarkable performance or an extended, regular run of good results can result in further promotions to ‘Candidate Master’, ‘Master’, or even ‘Grand Master’ status.

At each event a value is attached to the field. Every ‘Novice’ present adds 5 points to the overall ‘pot’, ‘Sages’ 10, ‘Candidates’ 20, ‘Masters’ 30 and ‘Grand Masters’ 50. The aggregate of all these points is the sum total of ranking points that the winner will earn for taking first place. Players down the order will earn a diminishing rate of ranking points (with a more generous taper for the top 20 places) so that the person finishing in last place might only get 10 points – compared to perhaps 1200 for the winner. As an added refinement the big three annual competitions have a heavier weighting (World Championships earn double the normal tally of points, while British and European Championships earn an extra 50% over GPs), and of course they tend to be worth even more because, typically, all the top players make an effort to attend and we commonly see a big turnout anyway. The flip side of this is when we sometimes run special quizzes around the British Championships – they’ve tended to be specialist ‘Lowbrow’ and ‘Highbrow’ quizzes, with much smaller fields (around 40 players only) and they earn a base 50% of the points that are on offer for a GP.

So, to summarise, the bigger the event, the bigger the field, and the stronger the field, the more ranking points there are to be won. So, a finish in the Top 20 of a big event will earn you big points. Just to give you an example; by winning the 2012 Rochester GP in July (which had a field of 65 players) Jesse Honey earned 1320 points. The 26th best placed UK quizzer (that’s 26 in the UK, not the World) in the 2012 running of the World Quizzing Championships (Tim Westwood) picked up 1321 points. But don’t feel too sorry for Jesse, in winning the WQC he picked up a whopping 3370 points – that’s roughly worth 2 or 3 times what your average GP win will get him!

So, how does one get to progress up the rankings, and what does one have to do to become, say, a Grand Master? We’ll deal with the second of these first…

The Order of Merit

This is reviewed annually. Beginning with the first event after the annual WQC, a new seasonal tally/aggregate is kept of rankings points earned at events. All events attended count towards your year end total - in recent years it’s typically been possible to earn points at three championships and the equivalent of nine or ten GPs.

It’s rare that any quizzer can attend every event (even if they wanted to) and competition is so fierce at the top no one has ever been quite dominant enough to monopolise first place. So, and in order to attain the highest rank - ‘Grand Master’ (GM) - the bar is set at 50% of the seasonal maximum aggregate of available ranking points.

So, for example, if you attended only half of the events but won them all, or attended every event and accrued a points tally each time equal to half of what the winner was getting, at the end of the season you could expect to be hailed a Grand Master, and would retain that status for the following season (and harking back to what was said earlier, henceforth whenever you attended an event, your presence would add 50 to the rankings tally).

From season to season, from among the total of around 400 plus quizzers who have attended one or more of our events (a typical field these days is around 80 players) some 8 to 10 people will be of Grand Master rank. Some players, e.g. Kevin Ashman and Pat Gibson have a seemingly permanent grip on that lofty status.

Next down from GM is the ‘Master’ rank. To achieve this status you will need to score 30% of the seasonal maximum available (i.e. a little over half of what is needed for GM status). In the new season 2012-13 we have some 19 people of this rank. One rung below them on the ladder are 28 ‘Candidate Masters’. These all scored at least 15% of the available maximum in season 2011-12 (i.e. half of the minimum that the Masters must’ve have earned). Then we have the bulk of the members, 140 or so accomplished quizzers of the ‘Sage’ rank, all of whom will have attended a minimum of four ranking events or scored 5% of the total rankings points available in the preceding season to earn them a place on the first rung proper of the Order of Merit.

At the end of each season the directors of Quizzing.co.uk and the BQA have established who has done enough to earn promotion (in some cases players jumping two or more grades at once), who has done enough to maintain their status, or else who has slipped down the rankings (we never demote more than one rank at a time). Additionally the directors have discretion to grant dispensations in exceptional, deserving cases. To date this has resulted in two special rapid promotions, an elevation to Grand Master status for a player who missed out by a whisker because they missed the WQC to attend a special, ‘family’ celebration, and also the occasional saving of rank, where someone has missed-out due to circumstances beyond their control. At the end of season 2011-12 (i.e. for the coming year/season) the directors of the BQA will not be sanctioning any exceptional promotions, but they are allowing one especially meritorious player to retain their current rank (i.e. Master). The person affected is Nic Paul. A fuller explanation will be made on this matter in due course.

The Order of Merit Season

When the Order and National Quiz rankings were first established we typically had not been holding events right throughout the year. The annual climax was the WQC in June, and things kicked-off again in earnest at the BQC in September. Accordingly, the season was fixed for the 10 month period of September to June, with a summer holiday hiatus. While players made an effort to get out to the WQC for its prestige - and bumper crop of rankings points - they would have to wait for the season’s opener in September to see if they had made it onto the Order of Merit, or indeed been promoted/relegated. This did at least give additional spice to the BQC weekend – an occasion when most active quizzers would be in attendance anyway for the distribution of badges of rank etc..

From the foregoing then, it can be seen that recent seasons have in effect begun early (we’ve had summer events these last two seasons) albeit the ‘formal start’/announcements had remained as September. The fact that rankings points and ranks, following the 2012 WQC were being once again held over for the BQC has frustrated a number of quizzers. So much so that discussion of the policy/established regime (a matter that was already under review by the directors the BQA) became rancorous.

The Directors are now minded to announce changes coming into effect as follows…

Season 2012-13 will run from July 2012 to August 2013 (i.e. a lengthened season).
Season 2013-14, and thereafter, will run from September (2013 etc.) to August (2014 etc.)

Season 2011-12 remains unchanged (since it had concluded) but we will be announcing ranks effective from September 2012, and the ranking points etc. from June/July onwards, in the coming days. We will not now be waiting until September.

While we regret that some people will learn of their demotions earlier than expected, and others will miss the anticipated excitement of the announcements at the season’s opener, this change has been felt necessary in order to limit the damage caused by bad feelings around the (albeit well established) delay. Players expecting to lose their higher status come September, and who will be described in results from July and August at the lower rank, may nevertheless regard themselves as retaining their higher status until the BQC. Similarly, players anticipating promotion should look upon their status as being ‘unofficial’ until the BQC – i.e. until they are formally announced.

One final point on this… there will be a slight delay in the interactive stats on Quizzing.co.uk catching up with other published data. This is because our database supremo has been asked to place a “publish delay” on part of the stats, and is waiting on my telling him all the supporting graphics files (and, inter alia, this article) are up first BEFORE he is invited to tweak whatever he needs to in order to reveal all of the information in the interactive database. Any ‘delay’ on his part is in fact NOT a delay as such, he is merely awaiting a (convenient) opportunity to follow the lead I give him.

The effect of the shortened season 2012-13 will be to give even somewhat less emphasis to the ‘big three’ events in the year. Given that one of these is the EQC, and that in 2012 it is being staged in Estonia (i.e. possibly as far as one is likely to have to travel for such an event – until Armenia makes its bid at any rate!) it may be of some relief to ‘International Quiz’ mavens perhaps to learn that we have been actively looking to slip an extra event into the schedule in late October/early November (as we did in 2009) for the benefit of those unable to make the trip overseas [please see my ‘Nordic footnote’].

OK, so that’s the simpler of the regimes explained (!), what now about the All Time UK Rankings?

BQA National Rankings

While the Order of Merit is ‘re-set’ annually, there is another tally of points that keeps on growing, sort of!

The BQA All Time National Rankings - we publish these monthly (ostensibly) - shows the top 225 ranked quizzers, based on attendance at BQA and iQa events over the last 2 years, or thereabouts. As ranking points are awarded for an event, these are added to your tally. When the next month’s event is calculated, that too is added but the value of the points awarded for the previous event ‘degrades’ by 4%. This means that by the time an event has been succeeded by 25 later ones, its value has been reduced to zero. Obviously, where the ‘big three’ events occur in the cycle (or indeed GPs with bumper attendance – like the annual one run in Northampton by Nic Paul) this can have a significant effect in the movement of people up and down the rankings.

Anyway, suffice it to say, regular (and ‘successful’) attendance probably has a more significant impact on one’s ranking than it does for the Order of Merit. A player could perhaps secure GM status by turning up to and winning the biggest 4 events of the year, but in order to secure the No1 spot in the rankings, they will need to attend and excel in the ‘lesser’ events as well. Consistency is vital.

One or two minor points to make on the rankings…

The rankings will feature some overseas players. This is because, we’re delighted to say, we sometimes get quizzers from overseas attending our events, GPs as well as WQC etc.. Accordingly, the first time a player attends a GP or WQC or BQC on what is, essentially, UK soil, they go onto the rankings (and, I should say, the Order of Merit – subject to the other qualifying criteria). They will not go onto the rankings simply by attending an EQC here (UK-based EQCs are infrequent, not guaranteed, and so cannot be considered a normal entry route into the rankings system for overseas-based players). Moreover, where a quizzer has played in a UK-based event, their future scores in the WQC are entered into the mix (this is done on a notional basis, at a rate equivalent to what they would have earned had they sat the WQC here). We do this to reward players who take the trouble to come and quiz with us here, to recognise their continued performance, and to encourage them to return! It’s about rewarding them and should not have any unduly heavy impact on any UK quizzers.

Where a weekend - i.e. the BQC weekend – features multiple quizzers then for the purpose of limiting what would otherwise be excessive erosion of the associated rankings points, while results will be published separately, the points from all those quizzes will be aggregated together for rankings purposes. Otherwise, on the BQC Saturday, the rankings points gained in the early morning quiz will have already degraded by 8% before the day is out!

That’s it. Many thanks for reading this far. We hope to have all the stats/data and graphics published on the site in the next 48 hours.


Chris Jones

‘Nordic footnote’: Without wishing to introduce too much of a digression, we have for some time been negotiating the possibility of running an event based on the more accessible questions featured at the 2012 Nordic Quizzing Championships weekend staged in Copenhagen (and if this is a success, we hope to repeat the process in 2013 and 2014, using questions from the 2010 and 2014 Nordic events). This event, like the EQC, featured individual, pairs, team and international matches. At this extra event we will present an individual quiz (drawn, as intimated) from them more accessible of the questions, but at the same time we’d hope to play the odd friendly too using the ‘international format’ matches.

Importantly part of the motivation for this extra event will be the hope of making a significant donation from the takings direct to the organisers of the Nordic Championships – this to help them defray recent and ongoing costs. We see this as a way of supporting their efforts to bring into the EQC family the likes of Sweden and the Faeroes, and solidify Denmark’s participation also.

Anyway, while the EQC event in Tallinn will carry extra weighting for rankings points purposes, it was never going to attract a huge UK field, so it is possible that a ‘shadow Nordic’ event in the UK with 30 or 40 quizzers could generate a similar number of rankings points as will be earned in Estonia.

We have still to make a final decision on how we will do this but we do envisage, in the event that someone wants to attend BOTH events (i.e.’ EQC and the ‘Nordic’ event), we will allow them to retain ONLY the higher of the two lots of rankings points earned – we neither want to discourage people going to Tartu, nor do we want to pressurise anyone already committed to going to Estonia to feel that they need to attend both or risk missing-out on another event which could’ve earned them some more rankings points.

Please understand that we are attempting to find a solution that hopefully will work best for just about everyone.
Chris Jones
Director, Quizzing Ltd., BQA and iQa

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Order of Merit Ranks : 2015/16 Season

Postby Chris » Sat Aug 09, 2014 9:43 pm

The Order of Merit recognises the achievements of quizzers taking part in events on the British quiz circuit - including a number of competitions run by the International Quizzing Association.

This is the up to date, current Order of Merit (as at 9 September 2015), ranks and insignia etc. having formally been ratified/issued at the British Quizzing Championships at Newark Showground on Saturday 5 September 2015.

A player with "(P)" after their name was 'promoted' at the end of season 2014/15 to their current rank for the first time. Players regaining a rank previously held are not marked with a "P".

Grand Masters

Andy Tucker
Anne Hegerty
David Hesp
David Stainer
Didier Bruyere (P)
Ian Bayley
Kevin Ashman
Mark Grant
Nick Mills
Olav Bjortomt
Pat Gibson
Paul Sinha
Jesse Honey (ret)
Mark Bytheway (dec)


Alan Gibbs
Andrew Frazer
Barry Howbridge (P)
Chris Quinn
Clive Dunning (P)
David Good (P)
David Lea
Eric Wildsmith
Gareth Kingston (P)
Gerard Mackay
Iain Thoms
Ian Clark (P)
Ian Orriss
John Hall (P)
John Wilson
Kathryn Johnson
Paul Steeples
Peter Watson
Phil Bennion (P)
Scott Dawson
Steve Dodding

Candidate Masters

Adrian Chalkley
Andrew Teale
Barbara Thompson
Barry Simmons
Chris Jones
David Bill
David Edwards
David Harris (P)
David McBryan
David Taylor
Diane Hallagan
Dorjana Sirola (P)
Gareth Aubrey
Holger Waldenburger (P)
Hugh Bennett
Ian Welham
Iwan Thomas
Jamie Dodding
Jamie Hall
Jenny Ryan
Josh Mandel (P)
Keith Andrew
Kevin Jones (P)
Lorcan Duff (P)
Mark Henry (P)
Mark Kerr
Mark Rae
Mark Ryder (P)
Mark Walton
Martin Wightman (P)
Michael McPartland (P)
Neil Macaskill
Nic Paul
Nick Archer
Paul Hillman
Phil Smith
Rob Hannah
Rob Sutherland (P)
Roderick Cromar
Sean Carey
Stuart Finlayson (P)
Tim Westcott
Tom Trogh (P)
Tony Walmsley
William De'Ath


Amit Dee (P)
Amy Macpherson
Andrew Burford (P)
Andrew Fanko
Andrew Hunter
Andrew Rowe
Andrew Whittingham
Andy Cobley
Andy Crane
Ashton Davies (P)
Audrey Doyle
Barry Haniford
Barry Humphrey
Benny Bielstein
Beth Webster
Bob De Caux
Bob Thompson
Brian Chesney (P)
Brian Davis (P)
Brian Pendreigh
Brian Wilkins
Caleb Liu
Callum Pickering
Chris Brewis
Chris Grandison
Colin Daffern
Colin Foster
Colin Kidd
Craig Element
Dag Griffiths
Dan O'Malley
Dan Sheehy
Daniel Fullard
Danielle Cartwright
Darren Martin
David Challender
David Cruickshank
David Dunford
David Fay (dec.)
David Jones
David Knapp
David Masters (dec.)
David Murphy
David Rainford
David Saunders
David Smith
Derek Caudwell
Derek Hayes
Dick Cribb
Duncan Potter
Ebb Saxton
Ed Kelly
Ed Payne
Ed Vout
Edmund Dickinson
Elizabeth Gibson
Elspeth Jones
Emma Laslett (P)
Erik Derycke
Ewan McNaught
Frankie Thomas
Fraser McNicol (P)
Galen Chung
Gary Grant
George Ferzoco
Glenys Hopkins
Graham Barker
Grant Catto
Hamish Cameron
Helen Beilby
Howard Pizzey
Howard Royse
Howard Towner (P)
Hywel Morgan
Ian Dalziel
Ian Garland
Ian Griffiths
Ian Townsend
Ian Volante
Jack Bennett (P)
James Tomlinson (P)
Jamie Turner
Jan Smith
Jeff Evans
Joe Docherty
John Dyer
John Harrison
John Hayes (P)
John Nolan
John Porcella
John Savage
Jon Breakell
Jon Jacob
Jon Stitcher
Jonathan Elliot (P)
Julia Hobbs
Keith Marshall
Keith Pointon
Keli Richards (P)
Ken Emond
Ken Oliver
Ken Owen
Kerry James
Kevin Leetion
Les Morrell
Liam Butler
Lisa Hermann
Luke Proctor
Madeline Evans
Mal Kitchen
Margaret Howe
Margaret McCaskill
Marianne Fairthorne
Marion Macaskill
Mark Cooper
Mark Labbett
Mark Laycock (P)
Mark Preston (P)
Martin Croke
Martin Johnson
Martin Prendergast
Matt Loxham
Michael Coffey
Michael Gordon
Mick McCarthy
Mick Page
Mike Abbott
Mike Clark
Mike Crowe (P)
Mike Foden
Ned Pendleton
Neil Harrison
Neil Phillips
Niall Pringle
Nic Mortimer
Nick Patterson
Nick Reed
Oliver Levy
Padraig Fanning
Pat Collet
Pat Gee
Patrick Carthy (P)
Paul Davis
Paul Emerson
Paul Geary
Paul Philpot
Pete Daniel
Pete Lambert
Peter Ediss
Phil Duffy (dec)
Quentin Holt
Rachael Neiman
Richard Hitchings
Richard Parnell
Ritchie Venner
Robin Whelan
Roy Bebbington
Sam Goodyear
Scott Douthwaite
Sean O'Neill
Shaun Wallace
Sree Kanthamneni (P)
Steph' O'Donoghue
Stephen Pearson
Steve McMullan
Steve Rhodes (P)
Steve Robinson
Stewart McCartney
Stuart Johnson
Stuart Robinson
Stuart Solomons
Suda Perera
Sydney Curtis
Thomas Grinyer
Tom Barnes
Tom Pandelaere
Tony Hightower
Traci Whitehead
Wayne Mair
Will Howells


Adam Allen
Adam Barr
Aditya Aankaran
Adrian Humphries
Adrian Tuite
Alan Bentley
Alan Hodgson
Alan Speed
Alice Walker
Alkesh Solanki
Andie Ritchie
Andrew Billings
Andrew Harris
Andrew Mallarkey
Andrew Newton
Andy Bolton
Angela Hyde
Anna Savory
Anne-Marie Rosoman
Arthur Heyes
Audrey Maguire
Barbara-Anne Eddy
Beryl Cannon
Brian Bridgeman
Brian Harrison
Brian O'Donnell
Charlie Gibbins
Cheryl Goucher
Chic Mcgregor
Chris Bayley
Chris Burton
Chris Clough
Chris Fenwick
Chris Frean
Chris James
Chris Laslett
Chris Pendleton
Chris Roberts
Christine Beale
Colm O'Sullivan
Dan Spiller
Daniel Chambers
Dave Ryan
Dave Webb
David Abdy
David Gow
David Hemmingway
David Hodder
David Kennard
David Lettington
David Smorthit
David Tagg
David Tilley
Debbie Bleathman
Debs McDonald
Dennis Brown
Derek Cray
Dermot Downes
Derrick Redhead
Diane Pople
Dom Tait
Duncan McDonald
Eamon Gallagher
Eamon McEntee
Ed Wiesniewski
Elliet Smorhit
Elsie Walker
Emily Newman
Emma Hanson
Eskil Aasmul
Fergus Howell
Gagan Jain
Gareth Price
George Lewis
Ger Slattery
Giles Grundy
Gordon McLean
Graeme Scotland
Grant Conner
Greg Spiller
Gregory Houston
Guy Stubbs
Haydn Thompson
Holly Pattenden
Hywel Williams
Ian Matheson
Ian Wooley
Innis Carson
Jack Corney
Jackie Walker
James Andrews
James Belshaw
James Morton
James Murphy
James Pearson
Jamie McNeill
Jan D. Cox
Jane Selby
Jane Wiesniewski
Jayne Hull
Jeff Drinkwater
Jeremy Baker
Jeremy Holt
Jim Eccleson
Jim Powell
Joe Hart
John Beynon
John Gardner
John Good
John Griffin
John Griffiths
John Groarke
John Holohan
John Hutcheon
John Larkin
John O'Sullivan
John Rampton
John Wilding
Jonathan Kershaw
Jules Bowes
Julie Cope
June Smith
Karen Crofton
Karen Pearson
Karl Sears
Karlo Lugomer
Katherine Oyler
Katherine Waudby
Katie Brown
Keith Watson
Ken Morland
Kerrie O'Neill
Krishnamurti Ganesh
Lauren Hamer
Laurie Hooper
Lawrence Cook
Liam Kane
Lindsay Mucka
Lynsey Black
Maggi Edlin
Maggie Hall
Malcolm Lee
Marc Cambridge
Marco Biagi MSP
Margaret Andersen
Margaret Watson
Mark Ellis
Mark Neville
Mark Watson
Marshall A. Milne
Martin Reppion
Martin Smith
Martyn Smith
Matt Beatson
Matt Emerson
Matthew Wincott
Max Espensen
Melanie Beaumont
Mesha Zakharov
Michael Cullen
Michael Gunn
Michael Lees
Michael Reeve
Michelle Nevitt
Mike Coyne
Nat Jester
Nathan Cullen
Nathan Hamer
Nick Haycox
Nick Saward
Nick Van Rensburg
Nicola Emerson
Nigel Jessup
Nuala O'Reilly
Paddy Duffy
Pat Butler
Paul Abthorpe
Paul Gilbert
Paul Hughes
Paul Mitchell
Paul Murphy
Pete Roberts
Peter Belshaw
Peter Cozens
Peter Lowney
Peter Robson
Peter Ryan
Phil Crowe
Phil Doubtfire
Phil Priest
Pietro Aronica
Pravin Varma
Ramkey Ve
Richard Chalkley
Richard Elliott
Richard Evans
Richard Jones
Richard Ronaldson
Rob Harding
Robert Bell
Roger Pratley
Roger Springthorpe
Roger Wilkins
Ross Ferguson
Ruairi McKenzie
Ryan Taylor
Said Khan
Sam Ashby
Samantha Warnakulasuriya
Samuel Hodkin
Sarah Evans
Sarah Gordon
Sarah Pennick
Sean Kinsella
Shaun Williamson
Simon Alvey
Simon Belcher
Simon Chilton
Steve Baker
Steve Coates
Steve MacVicar
Stuart Black
Stuart Field
Stuart McLachlan
Stuart Redmond
Stuart Scholes
Sue Reirry
Suzy Turner
Sylvia Bellini
Ted Smith
Terri Marzoli
Tim Naismith
Tom Faulkner
Tom Speller
Tom Tracey
Tony David
Tony Jenner
Tony Richardson
Tracey Bailey
Trevor Batton
Vinod Ganesh

Chris Jones
Director, Quizzing Ltd., BQA and iQa

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