Mensa members snag Brain Games title

March 29, 2009|By DAVE McMILLION

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va.-- It turns out that the winners of Sunday's Brain Games competition were a brainy bunch in more ways than one.

The six-person team that won the annual academic competition at Shepherd University are members of Mensa, an organization that allows for the exchange of intellectual ideas through lectures, discussions and journals.

Greg Fisher recalled how someone with the Frederick, Md., chapter of Mensa asked if anyone in the group wanted to form a Brain Games team.

A few agreed, some joined grudgingly and the South Mountaineers team was formed.

"We ended up with this rag-tag team. We don't study. We just come here to have a good time," Fisher said.


Fisher and his colleagues showed enough intellectual know-how to overcome 30 other teams in the trivia game that raises money for Literacy Volunteers of the Eastern Panhandle.

Dozens of players hunkered over long tables in the Ram's Den Sunday afternoon, straining their brains to come up with answers to questions like:

  • What was the name of the Soviet grandmaster that Bobby Fischer defeated to become the World Chess Champion in 1972?

    Answer: Boris Spassky

  • What is the oldest surviving system of laws?

    Anwer: Hammurabi's Code

    The South Mountaineers won the contest with a score of 84 out of 99 points. The 100-question game was initially worth 100 points. But it dropped to 99 points when players basically "threatened to burn the building down" because of their disdain over one question, said Allan Ramsay, member of the board of directors for Literacy Volunteers of the Eastern Panhandle.

    Judges decided to throw it out, Ramsay said.

    Two teams tied for second place and to break the tie, a special trivia question was given to them.

    The question asked teams to name the 10 events in a decathlon.

    The team Maybe This Year named all 10 events, capturing second place, Ramsay said.

    Third place went to Book Cart-el.

    Literacy Volunteers of the Eastern Panhandle teaches reading and math skills and helps people obtain GEDs. Volunteers with the organization said they have seen an increasing demand for their services, which they attribute in part to a higher level of reading skills required in today's jobs.

    Literacy Volunteers expected to raise thousands of dollars through the $25-per-team entry fees in Sunday's games and through raffles.

    Other members of the South Mountaineers were Bill Hansbury of Shepherdstown, Bill and Jan Todd of Frederick, Md., Dan Shawen of Gaithersburg, Md., and Joanne Brown of Point of Rocks, Md.

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