Thomas De Bock
|Thomas De Bock|
|Noted subjects||Generalist, 1950s geopolitical history, geography, trash|
|Past colleges||Oxford Brookes (2014-2018)|
|Stats||HDWhite • NAQT|
Thomas De Bock (variously referred to as Thomas de Bock, Tom De Bock, Tom de Bock, TDB or surprisingly rarely just Tom) was the long-time president of the Oxford Brookes University Quiz Society, where he studied motorsport engineering from 2014 to 2018.
Tom was born and raised in Belgium and grew up watching motorsport. Both of these facets of Tom's personality are well represented in the question content he writes, as evidenced by his production of the first (and thus far only) quizbowl packet exclusively on Formula One.
Tom was unaware that competitive quiz existed outside of Sporcle and quiz shows when he moved to Oxford for university, but he was intrigued by the existence of the Oxford Brookes University Quiz Society. This introduced him to pub quizzes, which became a weekly fixture for him by the time he received the email from Ian Bayley regarding auditions for University Challenge. Despite knowing little about the show, Tom auditioned and promptly made the team, along with Charlotte Harris, Luke Field, captain Chris Taylor and reserve Judy Martingale. At Ian's behest, the team entered the local UK mirror of 2014 Penn Bowl, for which Luke did not appear. This was the start of Brookes' third era of quizbowl. The tournament was far too difficult for a group of students who had no idea what a quizbowl was before, and the team lost all their games. For the last game, only Tom and Judy remained, and at least one of them would be on almost every Brookes team until 2018.
Shortly after the team's unsuccessful audition for University Challenge, Ian advised Tom to attend the Oxford practice session that same evening. Successfully converting tossups on his native Belgium, Sardinia and Millard Fillmore, Tom was invited by Ewan MacAulay to generally help out at 2015 OOT two weeks later. There, Tom moderated his first games having never seen a quizbowl packet before. Incredibly non-dispirited by the experience, Tom continued to attend both Oxford practice sessions and Brookes pub quizzes. He and his flatmate Guy Newbury teamed up for the Oxford Intercollegiate Quiz, where they were knocked out in the group stage despite a win over Magdalen Campbell.
Now with more experience, he was able to gather a team for 2015 MUT consisting of himself, Judy, then-society president Andrew Francis and pub quiz regular Matthew Warren-Davey. More points were forthcoming, culminating in a first full-collegiate competitive win against Warwick C at the end of the day. An unsuccessful outing at the 2015 Deep Bench with Ben Salter and Bob de Caux capped the year, whereupon Tom would become vice president of the quiz society.
Now with a new University Challenge team consisting of Tom, Judy, Emma-Ben Lewis, Ben Jolliffe and Matt Purkis, the season started where it left off at 2015 ACF Fall, with one registered victory over Oxford C. A winless showing at Cambridge Open left Tom to focus on staffing and writing, hosting Brookes' first tournament and sending a team to the UK mirror of 2016 VCU Novice. He returned to playing for Brookes for MUT and BSQC, joined by Lorna Rhodes and Sebastian Otway, where the team recorded wins against Warwick B in the former and Edinburgh and Bristol in the latter. Playing once again on the Other Universities team at Deep Bench, Tom was part of a team that defeated Oxford and Open teams, along with Sophie Rudd, Jonathan Elliott and Richard Evans.
Over the year, the pub quiz aspect of the quiz society atrophied with the departure of most regulars. Instead, the hosting of 2016 MLK provided the society with sufficient funds to purchase a buzzer set and begin to host weekly practice sessions of its own. Unbeknownst to Tom, Andrew had left the society and designated Tom as its new president.
While the new Brookes buzzer practices were initially popular, a quick drop-off left him to staff most tournaments or play on mixed or open teams, including an "Edinbrookes" team at Cambridge Open and with Ian Bayley, Jacob Lloyd and Isaac Brown at the first iteration of WAO. Aside from this, Tom entered several side tournaments, such as Listory, HIT and Floreat, and led the Brookes team to the Oxford ICQ quarter-finals for the first time since 2011. The team was defeated by Merton College, echoing his team's University Challenge loss to the same college in the second round.
Joined by Judy and University Challenge team members Inigo Purcell and Kirsten Etheridge, Tom attended 2017 BSQC. A frustrating prelim bracket yielded only one win, but the balanced team was able to go undefeated in the afternoon, recording a university-best seven victories over the course of the day. Bolstered by these results and joined on the society committee by Paul Wyard, everything was in place to grow the society the following year.
In Tom's last year at Brookes, focus was placed on building a regular crowd of quizzers coming to practice and attending tournaments. This yielded immediate results, as a Brookes team won three matches at the 2017 EFT student mirror without Tom, who had already won an open mirror of the tournament with Daoud Jackson, George Corfield and Harris Bunker. Relative success continued with multiple victories at the Oxford Freshers' ICQ and the British Academic Novice Tournament for which Tom contributed and co-edited miscellaneous and trash questions. Tom also played for Oxford B at Penn Bowl and Queen's University Belfast at Scot Bowl, securing several match victories at both events.
On the playing side, Tom also led a three-player team to two victories at 2017 ACF Fall, including against perennial rival Tricia Gogginn's Southampton B. Away from Brookes, Tom also notched up respectable top-scoring performances as guest player for Pericardium at WAO II and for the regular "Four People You Meet At Quiz Tournaments" team at 2018 Cambridge Open. In his fourth and final Oxford ICQ, Tom was joined by break-out stars Joe Middleton-Welling, Alistair Simpson and Julia Clark on Brookes A. The team recorded five straight wins to reach the semi-final, whereupon they were once again defeated by Merton College, the same team that had earlier beaten Brookes C in the second round.
Ultimately, Tom left Brookes with two appearances at SMT and BSQC, winning a combined nine matches with Sean Mizen, Joe and Judy. He left the Brookes Quiz Society in the capable hands of Alistair Simpson, and plans to carry on playing open tournaments and staffing student tournaments where possible in the future.
- 2016 Oxford ICQ (with Lorna Rhodes, Guy Newbury and Ben Jolliffe) - 2nd individually
- 2016 BSQC (with Lorna Rhodes and Sebastian Otway) - 6th individually
- 2016 Listory (with Edmund Dickinson, Ian Bayley and Daniel Chiverton) - overall winners
- 2016 EFT (with Paul Wyard) - 9th individually
- 2017 Oxford ICQ (with Lorna Rhodes, Kirsten Etheridge and Ben Jolliffe) - quarter-finals, 6th individually
- 2017 BSQC (with Inigo Purcell, Judy Martingale and Kirsten Etheridge) - 11th/18, 2nd individually, top individual scorer in play-offs
- 2017 EFT Open (with Daoud Jackson, George Corfield and Harris Bunker) - overall winners
- 2017 GEODUCK (with Hugh Oxlade and Jonathan Elliott) - 3rd place, top individual scorer (69 PPG)
- 2017 ACF Fall (with Joe Middleton-Welling and Julia Clark) - 5th individually
- 2018 Cambridge Open (with Emma Laslett, Chris Savory and Sasha Mottaghi-Taromsari) - 5th individually in play-offs
- 2018 LoCO (with Edmund Dickinson, Daoud Jackson and Max Espensen) - 4th/11, 9th individually
- 2018 Oxford ICQ (with Alistair Simpson, Joe Middleton-Welling and Julia Clark) - semi-finals, 5th individually
- 2018 SMT (with Sean Mizen) - 5th/9, 2nd individually
- 2018 Scot Bowl (with Alex McMillan, Laura Conlon and Joe Hindley) - 11th/16, 4th individually
- 2018 BSQC (with Joe Middleton-Welling and Judy Martingale) - 12th/20, 7th individually
- 2015, 2017 Cambridge Open Sports
- 2016-18 Oxford Open Tournament
- 2016 Lowbrow Oxford Open
- 2017 British Academic Novice Tournament
- 2017 ACF Fall
- 2018 MKULTRA
- 2017 OOT (geography, general)
- 2017 BANT (miscellaneous, trash, general)
- 2018 OOT (general)
- Tom can usually be spotted at quiz tournaments wearing one of his signature dark-blue Oxford Brookes Racing polo shirts. He owns three of them.
- As a player, Tom is known for his low power and neg counts. This characteristic is exemplified by his statslines of 7/57/0 at 2017 BSQC and 48/0 at 2017 ACF Fall.
- Out of 17 tossups on four-wheeled motorsport Tom has heard in a competitive setting, he has successfully converted 15. Of the remaining two, one could not be converted by his motorsport-knowledge rival Edmund Dickinson due to the moderator reading the answerline aloud before the neg, and the other was made before Tom realised the tossup was on motorsport while playing on the same team as Edmund. As a result, Tom claims to have never been beaten to a four-wheel motorsport tossup, and Edmund Dickinson has never converted a motorsport tossup while in the same room as Tom.
- Tom regularly competes in various quiz formats, including the Quiz League of London and written Grand Prix quizzes. Based on results from the World Quizzing Championships, Tom lays claim to being the best quizzer to come from Wallonia, by virtue of being the only one.