Quizzical Nature: If He Doesn't Know The Answers, He Knows Questions

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Quizzical Nature: If He Doesn't Know The Answers, He Knows Questions

"For me, winning a prize seems to depend on 70 percent luck and 30 percent skill," says Im Chang-baek, a worker at a pharmaceutical company by day, but a television quiz show fanatic by night. He may not be the best at those TV games, but he is one of the most dedicated.

In August, he participated on the program "Live: I Like Quizzes," a popular program on the television station MBC. The goal is to answer 10 questions correctly to become a "quiz master." Mr. Im bowed out after only five. Although he made it only halfway, his love for quiz shows goes full bore.

Mr. Im owns more than 20 notebooks of quiz data, classified into different categories, and over 80 videotapes he has made of game shows aired on Korean television. These precious documents are not for his own use, but for other quiz lovers. His large collection of information, which he gladly shares with others, has earned him the nickname "Quiz Missionary" and an Internet following of his own.

His first taste of competition came on "Junior High Quiz King" when he was just 16. He participated in three more television quiz games over the next few years. Although he came in first or second place in the preliminary rounds, he was always eliminated halfway through the championship contests. "I am often referred to as an expert on quiz solving," Mr. Im says, "but I must get cold feet on the actual game day."

Determined to win at least one title, he started to study the quiz shows intensely last year.

As he was hunting for people to study quiz shows with, he came across an Internet community of housewife alumni who appeared on the television station SBS's morning quiz program "Quiz Queen Challenge." Among the 600 members, Mr. Im is the only male, but he gladly shares his knowledge and documents with everyone. "There are many housewife contestants who are not yet familiar with gathering and compiling information," he says, "so I put together articles that I had collected from newspapers over the last year and a half, and also gathered questions that appeared on all the television quiz shows. I then presented them on the Internet bulletin board and also offered them on computer disks."

Mr. Im dreams of one day compiling enough data to open up a professional Web site, exclusively for quiz shows.

by Kim Hyun-kyung

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