The Deep Bench Format

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Skepticism and Animal Feed
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The Deep Bench Format

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Sun Jun 09, 2019 8:56 pm

The University of Minnesota used to host a tournament called "Deep Bench". The entire point was to reward the, well, bench strength of quizbowl teams. You had to bring a lot of people (I think 8?) and then there was a round where everyone broke up into singles (teams of 1) doubles (teams of 2) and quads (teams of 4) and played each other. And the scores of all these different rounds somehow got added together. The point was, you couldn't win just by having two really good players or whatever. And obviously you couldn't even enter the tournament, yet alone win, if your entire team was just 3 people.

I definitely played it in Minnesota once during the 2006-2007 season with UChicago and then played a mirror in the Northeast in the 2007-2008 season with Harvard.

I searched for "Deep Bench" before making this post and it looks like somebody unsuccessfully tried to host such a tournament in the last few years, but I couldn't find an actual Deep Bench tournament in the last 3 years so it looks like this may have passed into history.

Anyone have more details and/or memories?
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Red Panda Cub
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Re: The Deep Bench Format

Post by Red Panda Cub » Mon Jun 10, 2019 2:24 am

I think it is basically just, under the influence of Kyle Haddad-Fonda, the UK circuit that has much interest in the Deep Bench format. He likely introduced it at as a way to make up for the fact that at most tournaments Oxford comprised about 1/4 of the teams, so finding a format where the balance of that one the obnoxious-useful spectrum shifts a bit towards useful was on his mind.

I believe there were plans to run another one this year, but they may have fallen through.
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Re: The Deep Bench Format

Post by jonah » Mon Jun 10, 2019 8:15 am

About two years ago, NAQT contemplated running a Deep Bench-style tournament, but ended up going in the exact opposite direction and creating the IPNCT.
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Re: The Deep Bench Format

Post by btressler » Mon Jun 10, 2019 10:00 am

I may mis-remember, as I never played. But I think I may have talked to Eric Hilleman about it.

There were probably 7 or 9 teams, and it was an invitational in the strict sense: teams had to be invited. You brought 8 players. Each played quads and then either singles or doubles. (Don't know if teams ever played short and/or took forfeits.) Each team submitted 20/20+ and then 20+ more tossups. (I think many events at the time asked for 24/24 so repeats could be left out.)

Quads A and Quads B played round robins in tossup-bonus format.
Singles A and B, Doubles A, B, and C played rounds robins on 20 tossups.

A teams earned 5 points, B earned 4, C earned 3.

I suspect during the singles and double portions people had to go to a waiting room, because I doubt they had enough rooms to accommodate everyone concurrently. They may have alternated portions, like play 4 quads rounds and then some singles/doubles.

The winner of each of the categories was recognized, and then the points were added up for an overall champion.
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Re: The Deep Bench Format

Post by Mike Bentley » Mon Jun 10, 2019 12:09 pm

We played this once when it was mirrored in the Boston area in 2007. I liked the format a lot at the time. It was a way for weaker players on the team (like myself at the time) to get to play meaningful matches against other players without being crowded out by better team members. The downside was that you needed to assemble big teams and have a lot of staff to run it.

It'd be cool for someone to bring this back for some tournament.
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pray for elves
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Re: The Deep Bench Format

Post by pray for elves » Tue Jun 11, 2019 3:16 pm

Mike Bentley wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 12:09 pm
We played this once when it was mirrored in the Boston area in 2007. I liked the format a lot at the time. It was a way for weaker players on the team (like myself at the time) to get to play meaningful matches against other players without being crowded out by better team members. The downside was that you needed to assemble big teams and have a lot of staff to run it.

It'd be cool for someone to bring this back for some tournament.
As the person who organized the mirror Mike and Bruce played in 2007, I can attest to the fact that getting together enough staff and game rooms was an adventure. I recruited (and paid with pizza) people who had no experience reading to help us through the singles and doubles rounds, as each 8-player team splits into five teams in that format (doubles A-C, singles A+B). I think we had 8 teams, and that meant we needed 20 staff, which was a huge challenge with a club that normally had around 10-15 active members at a time. With that said, it was a lot of fun and I like the format. (It helped us that MIT brought a boatload of people to play and staff.)

For reference, overall winner was calculated based on a weighted finish format across all "events" (quads a+b, doubles a-c, singles a+b), and as a result you could at least theoretically have a tournament champion who doesn't win any individual bracket if the other results are wacky enough.
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Re: The Deep Bench Format

Post by Coelacanth » Wed Jun 12, 2019 10:46 am

My memory is that this format was invented by Carleton College, but we definitely hosted a few iterations at Minnesota.

It's a challenge to staff when all the singles and doubles matches are going. It's also hard to get enough good tossups. I think the best model is to housewrite some of the tossup-only rounds and do submission for the quads packets.
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