LIVE BLOGGING: Russia Wins National Geographic World Championship!

Whiz kids from Canada, Chinese Taipei and Russia battle it out for the title.

Patch continuously updated this news item as the 2011 National Geographic World Championship got underway Wednesday morning at Google's headquarters in Mountain View.

10:00 a.m. Spotted Alex Trebek's reserved parking spot.

10:15 a.m. The three teams of three gathered with their coaches and competition coordinators to go over the rules one last time.

10:31 a.m. Introductions begin. John Fahey, CEO and chairman of National Geographic Society, said, "There are a lot of smart people in this room, but get ready to get humbled a bit."

10:38 a.m. Alex Trebek explained how he got on crutches: "At 2:30 a.m., chasing a burglar down the hallway of my San Francisco hotel until Achilles tendon ruptured and then fell on carpet, bruising other leg in process. Surgery on Friday."

10:42 a.m. Trebek read the format of the competition. Eight rounds, six individual rounds. The captain of each team sits in the middle, and teams can confer for 20 seconds.

10:46 a.m. All three teams have already missed one question in Round One.

10:52 a.m. Canada missed the first question of Part C of Round One, about the habitat of Athena, an Eurasian eagle owl that lives at the San Francisco Zoo. Both Chinese Taipei and Russia answered correctly the location of the animals they had to work with, a tortoise and a porcupine.

10:56 a.m. Using Google Earth, the three teams moved on to a round where they had to identify island groups around the world. They all misidentified the islands. Near end of Round Two, Russia leads with 5, over Chinese Taipei, 4, and Canada, 2. 

10:58 a.m. During a small break, the audience learns that Alexander Cohen of the Canadian team has visited 33 countries.

11:04 a.m. Other fun facts: Alejandro Torres-Lopez has visited about 23 countries; his teammate, Aoife O'Leary, has dual Canadian-Irish nationality; the Chinese Taipei teams likes basketball; Chen-Luo Cheng's favorite food is chocolate, while Po-Chen Chu's is steam buns.

11:06 a.m. Tong-hong Hsu doesn't watch Yao Ming play. Russia's Masha Samoletova said she wants to visit Oakland, because her favorite author, Jack London, lived there.

11:09 a.m. Round Three, an individual round. Canada's Torres-Lopez misses question about new dam to be built in Malaysia. Chinese Taipei's Chu misses on Mallorca in Spain and Russia's Shustov on Iceland about sustainable fishing.

11:14 a.m. After answering out of turn, Russia's team recovers, but O'Leary's answer of Mariana Trench and Hsu's answer of Naples concludes Round Three, with Chinese Taipei at 8 points, Russia at 7 and Canada at 6.

11:18 a.m. Only the Canadian team took home points in Part One of Round Four with its answer of Cartagena to identify the picture shown on the overhead.

11:26 a.m. One of Trebek's favorite segments of the competition, probably because it looks like the Jeopardy! boxes, is called "Pick a Box." Here individual players pick a category and answer questions in that category. The Russian captain slipped and attempted to help a teammate, and his question was disqualified. That was good news for Canada, which answered correctly when asked about the indigenous people of Paraguay, the Guarani. Chinese Taipei was incorrect in its answer for the first permanent city in the Philippines discovered by Magellan.

11:31 a.m. At the end of Round Four Canada and Chinese Taipei tied with 13 points, one ahead of Russia. To start Round Five, the teams were shown drums from around the world. Canada and Russia both gained points, but Chinese Taipei didn't know the answer.

11:37 a.m. Round Six was called "Endangered Tongues," and teams heard a recording and had to guess the country that the voice came from after a clue was read. Both Canada and Chinese Taipei fell to identify them, but Russia knew the voice. After that round, Russia again took the lead with 18, and the other two tied with 13.

11:41 a.m. In Part One of Round Seven, the teams had to identify a strait on a map. All answered correctly. However, in Part Two, only Canada and Chinese Taipei answered correctly when the teams had to figure out which cities were on the same latitude across the globe. At the end of the round, Russia had 22 points, Canada, 20, and Chinese Taipei, 15.

11:47 a.m. For the last and final round, you could hear a pin drop on the carpet at Charlie's Cafe at Google. During the round, five questions would be asked with decreasing difficulty and value. Only Russia scored correctly for three points. The question was which country's law is comprised 90 percent by Sharia Law. The answer is Saudi Arabia.

11:53 a.m. Russia wins 2011 National Geographic World Championship with a point score of 27, to Canada's 22 and Chinese Taipei's 15.


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