Challenging questions. Dynamic competition. A corrupt leader? As I’m sure we’ve all been overjoyed to discover, this year marks CB’s first as home to a Quiz Bowl team. But behind this seemingly harmless club is Alex Liu (‘25), a power-hungry dictator out for the blood of those he competes against. But, first things first. What […]
Challenging questions. Dynamic competition. A corrupt leader? As I’m sure we’ve all been overjoyed to discover, this year marks CB’s first as home to a Quiz Bowl team. But behind this seemingly harmless club is Alex Liu (‘25), a power-hungry dictator out for the blood of those he competes against.
But, first things first. What is Quiz Bowl? Alex describes the club as, “like a big, dysfunctional TV family.” Once a week, a group of about 5-10 students gather in Room 407 and split into teams, gaining points by answering trivia-style questions about what are supposed to be a variety of random topics, from science to pop culture, complete with the most outlandish scoring system known to man. One would think that this sounds like a perfectly innocent club. But what should be harmless fun has evolved into something much more nefarious.
What was once friendly competition has turned cutthroat. As Dylan Soltani (‘25) puts it, “the moment you step in the door, we are not friends anymore, okay? We are enemies…. I’ve known Jack Lai (‘25) for seven years. If he’s on the enemy team, I never knew him.” And this mindset seems consistent across the club. Moderator Mr. Dave Anderson ‘07 even goes so far as to suggest that, “the controversy and the crucible that is Quiz Bowl — it’s part of the allure. I love drama, I love to stir the pot, and it makes things fun.”
While “fun” may have once been an adequate descriptor for Quiz Bowl, it has since become anything but. After all, it’s hard to enjoy what began as harmless rivalry when corruption has stacked the odds against you in what Dylan vehemently describes as “a threat to democracy.”
A bit of backstory: anyone who knows Alex knows that he is suspiciously knowledgeable in certain areas. While this is all well and good under normal circumstances, questions seem catered toward this specific skill set whenever Alex is competing. As Dylan explains, “Alex is the leader, and he’s the best person at geography and history, right? And, wow, what a crazy coincidence, right? That 90% of the questions stem from history? Let’s talk about that. I’ve thought about this a lot.”
Of course, this could all just be a big coincidence. For all we know, an actual quiz bowl competition would also be rigged in Alex’s favor. So I took it upon myself to ask him about his thoughts on the accusations made against him. His reaction was nothing if not suspicious: “I am the institution. I’ll go talk to them. I’ll handle them myself. They have concerns? I’ll address them. They just won’t be able to be worried anymore. I’ll make sure they won’t be worried.”
Now, aside from the thinly veiled threat (for which my whistleblowers and I will be pressing charges), this response appears to corroborate claims of Alex’s corruption. After all, why get so defensive if you’ve got nothing to hide?
My exchanges with the club’s other officers served only to further my suspicions about its integrity. When asked if he condemned Alex’s corrupt actions, “No,” was Ian Fung (‘25)’s immediate response. He then went on to explain how, “I find it interesting to see the debates, the discussions, the arguments. It just makes it more lively.”
My conversation with Andrew Arias (‘25), meanwhile, was repeatedly interrupted by Alex, warning Andrew to “choose your next words carefully,” and hardly allowing him to get a word in edgewise, except to assure me that he “would go on a witness stand at any moment….this is anonymous, right?”
On the flip side, Mr. Anderson’s sole response was to obfuscate about any inquiries about corruption within the club’s leadership. “I must refrain from comment. I would advise you to speak to my legal team.” While I may be biased due to my inherent hatred of lawyers of any kind, this refusal to comment by the individual with arguably the greatest stakes in this situation (save, perhaps, Alex himself) is certainly cause for concern.
But having called out this blatant corruption in one of CB’s most well-known and respected clubs, what measures can be taken to eradicate it? While Andrew and Dylan’s suggestions of “hiding, leaving, running a coup,” or “[making] every single question about the NBA, NFL, NHL… and then [having] no history questions” certainly are options, there must be a simpler way to resolve this issue.
I, for one, believe that the best way to restore Quiz Bowl’s integrity is to grow the club’s numbers. The more members there are participating in competitions, the more people will bear witness to the rampant injustice carried out by its leaders, and the harder it will become for Alex to disprove the allegations against him.
Many Quiz Bowl members have even found meetings to be enjoyable, despite all practice matches being mysteriously rigged in Alex’s favor. Dylan marvels at how, “I actually look forward to going to Quiz Bowl — it’s crazy.” Ian remarks that “it helps you become more well-rounded.”
Strangely enough, Alex may have said it best: “we do have a fun time, it’s easy to pick up… it isn’t an intelligence game — it’s more of a response game. If you get [a question] wrong, it’s okay, we all laugh it off.” And, of course, “[members] can watch Dylan lose,” a universal Quiz Bowl phenomenon.
So please consider attending a Quiz Bowl meeting or two (Thursdays after school in Room 407!), if not for the (rigged) competition and community, then to bring an end to the tyrannical rule of Alex Liu.
DISCLAIMER: for legal reasons, the contents of this article in their entirety are satirical, and are not meant to be taken seriously. Quiz Bowl and its leadership are perfectly respectable entities, and in the words of Mr. Anderson, they “condemn corruption in all forms.” Please don’t sue me.