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National Geographic World Championship

Alex Trebek

Russia had a magnificent 6th and final round

Sassafras the porcupine

Althea the Owl

Spotted turtle

National Geographic Championship

Chinese Taipei and Russian teams

Russia's Alexander Bondarchuk

The Russian team

National Geographic's John Fahey

Google hosts championship

At Google's headquarters in Mountain View, Calif., yesterday, three national teams competed in the finals of the National Geographic World Championship, the culmination of an international geography competition pitting countries against each other in world knowledge.

Legendary Jeopardy host Alex Trebek moderated the hour-long quiz show event that challenged students to identify world locations, languages, animals, and cultural artifacts.
Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET
Alex Trebek tests the contestants' knowledge of world geography Wednesday at the National Geographic Championship.

Trebek was using crutches at the event because, as he explained in typical Jeopardy question-and-answer form, he had fallen down while chasing a burglar who'd stolen things from his hotel room in San Francisco.
Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET
Alex Trebek and the three finalist teams--Canada, Chinese Taipei, and Russia--on stage at Google's headquarters in Mountain View, Calif.
Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET
Sassafras the porcupine, on loan from the San Francisco Zoo, joined Trebek onstage for one of the questions in round 3.
Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET
A San Francisco Zoo owl named Althea, alongside host Alex Trebek, stares out into the crowd during a demonstration at the National Geographic Championship.
Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET
An African spotted turtle is carried off stage following a question during the fourth round of the National Geographic Championship.
Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET
The competition has been held every two years since 1993.
Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET
The Chinese Taipei and Russian teams pause to contemplate a question.
Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET
Russia's Alexander Bondarchuk (right) thinks before answering a question in the sixth and final round, during which the Russian team eventually took the lead.

Chinese Taipei had the lead going into round 5, but missteps late in the game quickly dropped them from the top spot.
Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET
The Russian team celebrates their victory in the National Geographic Championship Wednesday at Google's headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. The team had a magnificent sixth and final round, scoring six points to win the competition. It was Russia's first victory in the contest's history.
Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET
Chairman and CEO of the National Geographic Society John Fahey gave the opening remarks at the event, touting the cultural exchange and global education that come with world knowledge.
Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET
Google hosted the quiz show-style event in this theater setting, co-sponsoring it along with National Geographic.
Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET
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