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What? Where? When?
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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

What? Where? When? (Russian "Что? Где? Когда?") is an intellectual game show well known in Russian-language media and other CIS. It is produced for television by TV Igra on the Russian Channel One and also exists as a competitive game played in clubs organized by the World Association of Clubs.


The game was developed between 1975 and 1977 by artist, television host and director Vladimir Voroshilov. The first version of the game (aired September 4, 1975), emphasized knowledge rather than logic.

The game quickly became popular, and a dozen or so of the best players from the TV version have become household names of the same magnitude as pop-music stars: Alexander Drouz, Maxim Potashev, Viktor Sidnev, Alexei Blinov, Nurali Latypov, Fyodor Dvinyatin, Boris Burda, Anatoly Vasserman, and so on.

Licensed 'national' versions of the game are currently being aired throughout countries of former USSR (like Azerbaijan and Georgia). Notably, whilst the 'main' TV show is aired live, licensed shows are usually recorded.


This chapter describes rules of TV show. Rules of competitive game may slightly differ.

In the course of the game, a team of 6 people - znatoki or "experts" - answer a selection of questions mailed in by the game's audience. They have 60 seconds to ponder and discuss the question and formulate their answer. For each correct response the team earns a point; a wrong answer means a victory (and a prize) for the author of the question.


Theoretically, these questions ought to presume no special expertise from the players beyond general secondary school knowledge and sharp logic. In reality, the game requires vast general erudition, a thorough understanding of the body of modern knowledge, lightning-quick thinking, well-coordinated teamwork, and, perhaps most importantly, an ability to think outside of the box.

From the title of the game, one might conclude (erroneously) that to play well one needs to know a large number of specific facts. In fact, questions that require specialized factual knowledge (e.g., sports scores) are not considered interesting, and one strives to avoid them. Popular culture factoids are likewise mostly eschewed.

Competitive game

In addition to the original TV version, which to this date is one of the most popular TV programs in Russia, a competitive variant exists that is played by over 10,000 teams in all countries of the former USSR and in Russian-speaking diasporas around the world, most notably in Israel, Germany, Finland, United Kingdom, United States and Canada. Although Russian is the official language of most national and all international tournaments, there are countries (among them Bulgaria, Moldova, Uzbekistan and Georgia) where non-Russian-language teams are more numerous. Face-to-face World Championships have been held every year since 2002 with corporate sponsorship and under the aegis of TV Igra and the governments and National Olympic committees of Russia and Azerbaijan.

The Club in the Republic of Moldova

The "CUC" (Ce? Unde? Cand?) games were initiated by Marcel Spataru, under the control of the CMJI (Moldovan Club of Intellectual Games). As of january 2009, teams participate in a hierarchy of tournaments: Superleague, League and Divisions. 7 teams compete for the champion title in the superleague. The last 3 teams out of the top-7 based in the Superleague fall out at the end of the season, and participate in the League stage tournaments the next season. There are 3 parallel leagues, each with 7 teams competing for the right to ascend to the superleague.

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