The annual summer format discussion

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Post by Ben Dillon » Tue Jun 19, 2007 1:56 pm

I'll throw in my congratulations to Harrison and company as well. I've seen them on NAQT format, and they're darn good at that too. But I've rarely ever seen them beaten in NAC format, and never this year.

After the close of NAC-Orlando, Harrison's coach said they might branch out next year to do PACE, but that they didn't like the NAQT format. (Side note: my team, St. Joseph's, is not a big fan of the format either, having "grown up" on NAC.) With Chip reducing entry fees, a second national tournament becomes possible for teams like Harrison, which has no budget and raises all their own money.

It's hard to say how Harrison will do next year without Ariel and Fuhe. Definitely, they will still have weapons, but the rest of the state of Indiana (St. Joe, Culver, Hamilton, Fishers, Washington, etc.) will be champing at the bit to play them.
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Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Tue Jun 19, 2007 6:04 pm

If they don't like NAQT's depthm they'll scream at PACE. Just a warning.
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Post by Ben Dillon » Tue Jun 19, 2007 6:16 pm

Oh, it's not a depth thing at all; it is entirely a format thing. There's a variety in the four-quarter format (straight tossups, tossups with bonuses, sixty-second rounds) that NAQT does not have (all tossups with bonuses).

My team feels the same way, and yet I think they're better at the NAQT format than they are at the NAC format.
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Post by MahoningQuizBowler » Thu Jun 21, 2007 1:27 pm

I understand the whole "this is what we grew up with" idea, but if you start playing a different format, like NAQT or PACE, then in 3 years your freshmen will have "grown up" with that format and your problem is solved. The question is, who will provide the incentive to make the change?

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Post by Ben Dillon » Thu Jun 21, 2007 5:48 pm

Sigh... I guess this might degenerate into yet another thread of why the tossup/bonus format is REAL quiz bowl and the four-quarter format isn't. I know some of you subscribe to that theory; I simply don't. (My players have played both and prefer the four-quarter format, even though they're arguably better on the tossup/bonus format.)
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Post by mhanna » Thu Jun 21, 2007 6:29 pm

My team prefers the variety of the four-quarter format as it more closely resembles what we play in our county competition. Most of the tournaments in which we participate, with the exception of NAQT tournnaments, are a variation of the four-quarter style.

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Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Thu Jun 21, 2007 7:32 pm

I really want to know why the 4 quarter format is better? I grew up on many kinds of 4 (or 5) quarter games too, but the moment I came across tu/bo I immediately realized that it's more effiecient, more fair, and more economical (you can cram a lot more games and information into a tu/bo game then any 4 quarter game without making the tournament go until, like, midnight). So for multiple reasons I would like to know what is better to your mind about 4 quarters, or what 4 quarter format you like best/why?

And any of the new (or old mods) can feel free to split this.
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Post by mhanna » Thu Jun 21, 2007 8:59 pm

Bonus bouncebacks? Are there opportunities to steal points on missed lightening round questions? There are many variations. No one is better than the others. Overall, I think familiarity with a particular format might make for one team's preference. Before NAQT there was ASCN and NAC and both used the four-quarter format. Tu/Bo rewards the quick and may rule out the deep w/o a bounceback. I can remember when I first started coaching, my teams had speed but lacked depth. We would get the TU, but get clobbered on the bounus bouncebacks that we missed.

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Post by Jackson_Raj » Thu Jun 21, 2007 9:02 pm

Regarding :chip: 's reduction of costs for teams from $150 per person to $600 per team...I think it's mainly for teams like Harrison, who had 9 people on their A team...as well as a seperate B Team...

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Post by Matt Weiner » Thu Jun 21, 2007 9:08 pm

Ben Dillon wrote:Sigh... I guess this might degenerate into yet another thread of why the tossup/bonus format is REAL quiz bowl and the four-quarter format isn't.
Yeah, you can keep posting that this is about formats until the cows come home, it won't change the fact that it's about ethics, question quality, ethics, the JV-quality field at Chip, ethics, and ethics.

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Post by First Chairman » Thu Jun 21, 2007 9:14 pm

Jackson_Raj wrote:Regarding :chip: 's reduction of costs for teams from $150 per person to $600 per team...I think it's mainly for teams like Harrison, who had 9 people on their A team...as well as a seperate B Team...
Well, the lifting of the required alternate is probably more important.

But if you had 9 people on your team, how many of them would play a game? It's sorta cruel to shuttle 9 students and have them on some forced rotation of game play.
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Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Thu Jun 21, 2007 9:17 pm

mhanna wrote:Bonus bouncebacks? Are there opportunities to steal points on missed lightening round questions? There are many variations. No one is better than the others. Overall, I think familiarity with a particular format might make for one team's preference. Before NAQT there was ASCN and NAC and both used the four-quarter format. Tu/Bo rewards the quick and may rule out the deep w/o a bounceback. I can remember when I first started coaching, my teams had speed but lacked depth. We would get the TU, but get clobbered on the bounus bouncebacks that we missed.

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Not when you do PACE, they have bouncebacks (OK, so it's not regular tu/bo totally, but every tossup has a bonus of some kind). Lightning rounds [are not good]. Reason being when you get 3 choices of rounds to do, you are totally at the whim of an editor (and whatever the other team chooses if you're ahead) and it is basically impossible to do good, balanced lightning rounds. I can't tell you how many times I've seen otherwise good teams lose to an inferior opponent because of some trashy lightning round distribution. Honestly, those have to go.
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Post by DumbJaques » Thu Jun 21, 2007 10:25 pm

It seemed like every time I read one of the "summaries" on Chip's website, it was like ". . . but X team pulled away in the lightning round, and held onto it to win even though Y team was better at buzzing in on tossups and answering bonuses." I personally detest the concept of individual rounds. They're impossible to balance evenly, they often impact the game substantially, and they serve no real purpose that's conducive to the idea of the game. Also, the buzzer is there for a reason (don't say "What about bonuses," because you earn those by using the buzzer).

Also, Pace has bouncebacks. Even in non-bounceback formats, when the questions are good and pyramidal (notably absent in four corner formats. . . hmm. . .), depth is more important than speed anyway. Regardless, I don't see how bouncebacks + lightning round + "fun" variety can overcome abysmal excuses for question quality and field strength. I find it curious how, surprisingly, the fact that it's a lot easier for an inferior team to win at NAC and like formats just happens to not matter at all to anyone despite the fact that the shortcomings of NAC far outweigh the other presented "pros."
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Post by Matt Weiner » Thu Jun 21, 2007 10:28 pm

Honestly, it is possible to write good lightning rounds as long as you make them on "things that start with the letter G" or something like that which won't upset the distribution. Putting in 10 Shakespeare questions or 10 chemistry questions is as unfair as making all the tossups on the same subject.

In general, it's no big challenge to write four-quarter questions that aren't terrible. Chip's problem is that he chooses to write terrible questions, play favorites with teams, steal from other writers, and award a "national championship" to the winner of a tournament that the 25 best teams in the country don't attend. Of course, this is the 100th time I've said this and it's just going to be ignored as certain people continue pretending it's about some nonsensical tossup/bonus v. four quarter war.
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Post by First Chairman » Thu Jun 21, 2007 10:32 pm

Those who know me know I grew up pre-ACF and pre-ASCN. QU NAC was the only game on the block, and back then it was quiz bowl. I don't necessarily mind what quiz bowl is or is not, but somehow I don't remember the old Texaco TV programs having as much kibbutzing between questions as I saw earlier this month at Marymount. Four-quarters CAN be real quiz bowl if it returns to a solid academic test of true knowledge, not gimmicks like the examples Dave and I have previously reported. I am a true believer that questions are what make a game/format good or not. Believe me, no one will like a standard 30-point bonus on "name the Shakespeare play from initials."

And whatever Matt just posted seconds before my own post.
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Post by Ben Dillon » Thu Jun 21, 2007 10:57 pm

charlieDfromNKC:
I really want to know why the 4 quarter format is better?
Matt Weiner:
It's certainly possible to write four-quarter questions that aren't terrible.
Matt said it more succinctly than I did earlier. It's not that I think the four-quarter format is better, it's that my students like it better. They know that pyramidal tossups are written better; they know that they often can get screwed over by the sixty-second round; etc. But they like the variety of format over a constant tossup/bonus thing.

For example, some of them who are neophytes to quiz bowl love the sixty-second round, when the pressure to buzz in is eliminated. Some love straight tossups one after another without the constant stoppage of play for bonuses.

Matt Weiner:
Yeah, you can keep posting that this is about formats until the cows come home, it won't change the fact that it's about ethics, question quality, ethics, the JV-quality field at Chip, ethics, and ethics.
Let me answer this...
Game format: NAC over NAQT
Ethics: NAQT over NAC
Question quality: NAQT over NAC
JV-quality field at Chip: NAQT over NAC (and thank you for impugning my team, btw)

Of the above, which do my students care most about? The format. So we go to NAC. If Chip lowers entry fees next year, we'll likely go to both NAC and NAQT.
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Post by DumbJaques » Thu Jun 21, 2007 11:11 pm

impugning my team
I don't think that the statement of the obvious fact that the field at NAC is obviously orders of magnitude below the field at a tournament like NAQT is an attack on anyone. It is what it is, and by your own testament, your team is apparently "better" at pyramidal formats. So really, your decision to go to NAC accounts for the lowered performance of your team and, in turn, a more ready and accurate grouping of that team into a "JV-level" field. Considering the fact that upwards of half of the posts you make about the Chip/4 quarters/whatever issue seem to involve you pointing that fact out about your team's performance disparities, I don't really think you've got grounds to come down on Matt for that comment (which isn't focused on any specific team anyway).
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Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Thu Jun 21, 2007 11:14 pm

Why is game format more important than everything else about quizbowl? If NAQT obviously does everything better except your kids dislike the game format, then why do you get hung up on such an inconsequential detail just because your kids like it. If the tournament's better, it's better and that's your problem if the kids get left behind. And if you have funds, why not both?
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Post by First Chairman » Thu Jun 21, 2007 11:26 pm

Ben:
As also pointed out earlier, PACE has three variations on the theme of tossup/bonus. I think you may have implied that your kids like the variety of PACE games over straight-up toss/bonus of NAQT or similar formats. I understand if it's the "variety" that they enjoy, and thus the discussion can turn more on whether one should have "variety" of this sort in "quiz bowl" since I can see both sides of that argument.

Admittedly, more serious stakes are in play when it comes to SAT vs. ACT. I'm sure some people excel at the SAT than they do with the ACT, and more places "prefer" the SAT over the ACT. But that doesn't mean that the ACT is less legitimate a test. But why not have the students take both exams? (I was one of those kids who kicked butt on the ACT but couldn't figure out the SAT at the time for whatever reason.)

And for that reason: why not come to PACE?
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Post by MahoningQuizBowler » Thu Jun 21, 2007 11:26 pm

Easy, Charlie. The activity is about the kids, and if you suddenly say "we're not going to do the format you like anymore", and you lose your entire team, then what good does that do? They play both...slowly, over time, things may change...or they may not. At least they are giving both a chance.

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Post by First Chairman » Thu Jun 21, 2007 11:29 pm

MahoningQuizBowler wrote:Easy, Charlie. The activity is about the kids, and if you suddenly say "we're not going to do the format you like anymore", and you lose your entire team, then what good does that do? They play both...slowly, over time, things may change...or they may not. At least they are giving both a chance.
There's an interesting coaching philosophy dilemma. Is the role of the coach to always placate the "will" of the kids or get them to play at events that "they" enjoy, or is the coach's role to actually provide a challenge to the students to see how well they do to stretch themselves to more difficult or challenging fields or formats? Some people like to reward students, some others believe that adversity provides the truest test.
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Post by Ben Dillon » Thu Jun 21, 2007 11:36 pm

We don't have deep pockets. Going to both tournaments has not been an option until recently, when either or both NAC and NAQT were in Chicago, which is close enough to us to commute. If NAC lowers costs next year, going to both will be an option regardless of location.

I have been trying to make the point that format does play a part in teams choosing NAC. For some of you, it's an inconsequential reason; for us, it isn't. C'est la vie.

There is, however, a more substantive reason we keep choosing NAC... it's the choice of weekends. Memorial Day weekend (which has often been the NAQT tourney) is usually out because it's the weekend before finals. We haven't gone to the first weekend of NAC for the last few years for exactly the same reason. However, NAC has two more choices; NAQT does not.

In another thread, someone suggested that NAQT could solve its "overcrowding" issue by taking a page from Chip and offering two weekends. If they did this, I assure you that more teams would participate.

P.S. I apologize for the "impugning" comment at Matt. Unless, of course, he was directing it at my team ;>
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Post by theMoMA » Fri Jun 22, 2007 5:41 am

Ben, early in my senior year I was in the same boat as a lot of your players are right now. Having grown up on four-quarter format and making the playoffs at NAC as juniors, our team made the decision to go to the NAC instead of the HSNCT. We wound up advancing out of the DC bracket and losing the championship game last year, but I still feel like going to QU was a huge mistake.

I think it's easily safe to say that your team is one of the top 30 in the country, as was our second-place team, but doesn't it bother your players to avoid facing their real competition? I know it was really frustrating for me to see two Minnesota teams that we were very successful against in state play get all sorts of deserved accolades for finishing in the top 16 at HSNCT. Instead of getting similar praise for our postseason play, we found ourselves having to apologize for NAC. I don't understand why a player on a competitive team like yours wouldn't want to play the best field out there.

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Post by Byko » Fri Jun 22, 2007 10:12 am

I would quote people here, but it would probably take me about 45 minutes to put this entire post together if I did, so I'll just kind of hit some highlights from reading through this discussion:

1. Sometimes you don't have the option to play on a different format. I'm sure there are several teams in Indiana who don't have much (if any) budget for quiz bowl, and many of the tournaments that are run there are in the four quarter format. These teams may truly not know about what else is out there. The only real way to "grow up" with a new format is for said format to come in and pretty much replace everything else that's around in the local area. I think having options is a good thing so that players and coaches can make decisions for themselves as to what they like and why they like it rather than just having one format dominate all. Yes, I think variety has a place in quiz bowl.

2. Most of the people speaking about four quarter format in this forum are saying that they like it better, not that it is necessarily better than tossup/bonus. When written well, you can have a reasonable four quarter game that is fair. Let's look at this:

Tossups (seeing as how they're in TU/B format, there's nothing unfair there)
Tossups with bonuses
Lightning round/worksheet (okay, I have some thoughts on this below)
Tossups

I've never been a huge fan of lightning rounds or worksheets that are all within one category area (though I'll write them if required) because it does increase the amount of luck involved, even if there is a choice (for example, suppose you have the second choice from the categories of Kings Named Hakkon, Popes Named Boniface, Advanced Quantum Physics, and Shakespeare Plays from Their Initials). After watching several games at NAC in which a team pulls away in the lightning round and ends up winning, perhaps over a team that is better in the tossup and tossup/bonus phases, I'm not a huge fan of this.

As boring as worksheets are to watch, here is one thing that can be said about them: when done "right", they are the best option of the bunch. Both teams get the same questions, so they have equal opportunity at the points. Additionally, if the questions cover all of the major disciplines and do so in a balanced way, it doesn't favor a team with strengths in one narrow area.

3. Let's try a revolutionary concept here. Let's make sure that this IS about format and NOT about a particular tournament. We all know that there were 2 four-quarter format nationals and that one of them in recent years had a better reputation than the other until that one decided to literally take the money and run. So let's keep it about that. Let's actually READ what other people write rather than pursuing our own individual agendas. Enough.

Maybe we ought to take the meaningful merits-and-downsides-of-four-quarters discussion to theory and let those who want to pursue overly drawn out battles that people are tired of hearing and dealing with do so in a more appropriate forum. Like AHAN.
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Post by First Chairman » Fri Jun 22, 2007 10:19 am

I was contemplating the split, and have done so. Please continue.
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Post by Ben Dillon » Fri Jun 22, 2007 10:53 am

My team finished #16 at NAC this year. Given the level of competition and the teams we've seen/played against during the year, including out-of-state teams like DCC, I think we'd be no higher than #50 in the nation if everyone were to play together at one national tournament instead of four.

As for how our players handle any accolades, most people congratulating them don't even know there are multiple national tournaments. I'm not even sure any of my players frequent these boards, though I know they do go the NAQT website.
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Post by Howard » Fri Jun 22, 2007 1:02 pm

DumbJaques wrote:So really, your decision to go to NAC accounts for the lowered performance of your team and, in turn, a more ready and accurate grouping of that team into a "JV-level" field.
You cannot be serious. Attending one tournament accounts for "lowered performance" of a team?? Nonsense. I find it difficult to believe that just one tournament accounts for much of significance in any team that has a reasonable amount of similar tournament experience.
charlieDfromNKC wrote:why do you get hung up on such an inconsequential detail just because your kids like it.
A team students good enough to qualify for more than one national level tournament should be able to choose the tournament they'd like to attend (as long as factors such as cost or location don't make the choice simply not feasible). If they've qualified for nationals, I think the students have earned the right to choose their last tournament of the year.
E.T. Chuck wrote:There's an interesting coaching philosophy dilemma. Is the role of the coach to always placate the "will" of the kids or get them to play at events that "they" enjoy, or is the coach's role to actually provide a challenge to the students to see how well they do to stretch themselves to more difficult or challenging fields or formats?
Both roles are important. One thing to realize is that quizbowl is relatively unimportant when one considers the truly important things in life. But quizbowl competition does provide a chance to learn some important life lessons. When it comes to coaching, I have a set of core principles that are not to be compromised. Beyond that, I allow the students to choose what they'd like to do. The format of our concentration for practice is one of those areas of choice.
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Post by DumbJaques » Fri Jun 22, 2007 1:11 pm

I certainly am not trying to ignore what people are saying to further my "agenda." I really don't think I have my crap together enough to even have an agenda, but if anyone would like to put together a portfolio for me, I'd appreciate it. My master plan at the moment continues to be the vandalization of Evan Silberman's posts and the vigilant defense of my own.

I agree that it's entirely possible to write good four corners rounds. I think that, inherently, lightning rounds will never be perfectly fair and are usually not only highly unfair but also key to shifting the game's outcome (which I consider a very bad thing). I am not familiar with the opportunities teams have to play good, well-written, pyramidal four-corners games. I'm not saying they don't exist and I know they potentially could (and I'd like to see them if anyone has them). I suppose that four corners really does offer a fun, varied type of deal, but I don't understand how that can outweigh bad questions, frustrating and sometimes ridiculous results, and the generally lower field associated with national four-corners format(s) and major invitationals (when compared to pyramidal tu/bon invitationals). Honestly if a 20/20 round had a worksheet at halftime I would find it an annoying waste of time, but if it was written well it probably wouldn't screw the game (name these V-initialed rappers!) If I were ever to write a four-corners format, I'd probably do something like 20 shortish tossups, 10 tossups/bonus, a worksheet (I guess), and another 10 tossups/bonus. This would run longer than 20/20 (obviously), and I don't think the other stuff is really necessary, but I promise it would be better than the four corners I've seen and played in the past.

I do think variety has a place in quizbowl, and would not object to teams preferring four corners as a format. I don't buy the argument it outweighs the things I talked about, and I think that, in today's qb world, four corners does tend to equate at least much more often than not with inferior questions.
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Post by Matt Weiner » Fri Jun 22, 2007 5:30 pm

Yeah, it seems like people are making arguments for some hypothetical good four-quarters tournament that may exist someday, while ignoring the reality of what Chip is today. I would find it distasteful as a person who devotes any amount of time to good quizbowl and, were I a coach, a supposed role model for students, to redirect my school's money to someone of Chip's known ethical standards or lack thereof. That is the dealbreaker regardless of weird priorities about formats or amazing lack of interest in question quality.

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Post by Mike Bentley » Fri Jun 22, 2007 10:52 pm

My contribution to this thread will be to mention how big of a pain it is to write even individual rounds. We do it every year for our fall tournament and it becomes pretty hard to write evenly matched, say, fine arts questions after you've already gone through 10 rounds of topics.
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Post by The Time Keeper » Fri Jun 22, 2007 11:19 pm

Matt Weiner wrote:Yeah, it seems like people are making arguments for some hypothetical good four-quarters tournament that may exist someday, while ignoring the reality of what Chip is today. I would find it distasteful as a person who devotes any amount of time to good quizbowl and, were I a coach, a supposed role model for students, to redirect my school's money to someone of Chip's known ethical standards or lack thereof. That is the dealbreaker regardless of weird priorities about formats or amazing lack of interest in question quality.
The best thing is how various people who teach at high schools or are administrators have over the years been aware of Chip's blatant, often-displayed, and wholly undeniable plagiarism but don't care about it at all. I seem to recall plagiarism being one of the most serious academic offenses possible in both the school and real worlds, yet these people don't seem to care. If I were a teacher who supported a known plagiarist (not to mention the millions of other problems the tournament has) with my school's money year after year I would probably feel like an incredible scumbag.

Edit: In case people attending Chip tournaments didn't know or are new to the board or whatever, he's well-known for his plagiarism over the years. Various examples have been pointed out throughout the internet and I'm sure someone has or could compile a comprehensive list in case you need proof. Stop supporting Chip.

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Post by Byko » Sat Jun 23, 2007 12:51 am

Can we please stick to the topic? The topic is NOT about NAC or ASCN or any particular four quarter tournament. This is a FORMAT discussion. There is a good reason why this thread was split off into the Theory discussion.

People know how you feel about Chip. Enough is enough already. Continuing to yell about it is only going to piss people off. If you are trying to convert people, you are going about it the wrong way.

Back on topic, please.
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Post by ecks » Sat Jun 23, 2007 1:24 am

My own two cents: when it comes to playing in a tournament, the best way to determine the best team is to have as many of them play each other as possible while still allowing enough questions in each game to allow for a good distribution. That's the main reason I like the TU/Bonus format; as stated earlier in this thread, it's easier to have a larger amount of games in a shorter amount of time, especially with pyramidal questions. In the Missouri format, for example, which is TU-TU/Bonus-TU-TU/Bonus, games take nearly an hour to finish on NAQT-length questions, the outcomes of which by and large have been determined well before the official end.

I don't know how common triangular matches are, but it would seem that those kinds of matches are the kind best suited for formats other than TU/Bonus, because the small number of teams means they can all play each other in a reasonable amount of time.
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Post by sweaver » Sat Jun 23, 2007 7:40 am

E.T. Chuck wrote: somehow I don't remember the old Texaco TV programs having as much kibbutzing between questions as I saw earlier this month at Marymount.
Between questions, the players went to collective farms in Israel? That seems very disruptive.

If they were kibbitzing, talking between questions, that gets annoying too, though not quite as lengthy. The moderator should put the kibosh on that.

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Post by First Chairman » Sat Jun 23, 2007 9:26 am

Yeah... that's what I meant. Yiddish was not my best language.
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Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Sat Jun 23, 2007 9:38 am

Yiddish is beautiful. I learned so much from my old violin teacher.
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Post by mhanna » Sat Jun 23, 2007 9:53 am

Bravo, Byko! My sentiments exactly. More to the point about good quiz bowl. Why play at all? Good questions or bad? TU/TU-BO/ four quarter? I used to host softball tournaments as well as quiz bowl tournaments. The winner was going to be one of four or five teams and the rest paid their money and got clobbered. Is quiz bowl any different? Look at the tournament entries. Barring any unforeseen circumstances (as in upset) in any particular tournament, the usual cast of characters advance to the quarter-finals after piling up an obscene number of points over lesser ability opponents. Hodges Lewis of Irmo taught me seeding is everything. Hoping for an upset along the way. In the end the results are the same year after year in strong programs. Those teams always seem to reload rather than rebuild. Yet, I can remember even the mid-Atlantic teams having problems when they came to Brookwood and to Walton. At ASCN the road to the championship went through South Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee. If you couldn't beat those teams in that format, you didn't win. Maybe the format had something to do with their frustration. I don't really know. MW, TJ, RM, DCC and SC are going to do well no matter the format. Right now, I don't know any program that can compete with them on a regular basis especially with the PACE and NAQT format. When MW takes down Dorman 600-25 there is a gulf that is difficult to cross. Who wants to play for a consolation title or 4th place? On paper things may look one way, but that's why we play the game.

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Post by theMoMA » Sat Jun 23, 2007 10:02 am

I wonder: Does the winner of the play-in game wish they were in the NIT?

Edit: It's possible I'm reading the above post totally wrong, and I apologize if that's the case.

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Post by First Chairman » Sat Jun 23, 2007 10:43 am

E.T. Chuck wrote:There's an interesting coaching philosophy dilemma. Is the role of the coach to always placate the "will" of the kids or get them to play at events that "they" enjoy, or is the coach's role to actually provide a challenge to the students to see how well they do to stretch themselves to more difficult or challenging fields or formats?
Both roles are important. One thing to realize is that quizbowl is relatively unimportant when one considers the truly important things in life. But quizbowl competition does provide a chance to learn some important life lessons. When it comes to coaching, I have a set of core principles that are not to be compromised. Beyond that, I allow the students to choose what they'd like to do. The format of our concentration for practice is one of those areas of choice.
Of course I wrote the original prompt so I meant to make the answer rather ambivalent. However, this is the crux of philosophical argument on how one coaches. There is a level of balance between the two positions (and many other that I haven't covered). The question is how one defines core principles and goals.
Last edited by First Chairman on Sat Jun 23, 2007 4:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by vcuEvan » Sat Jun 23, 2007 4:05 pm

mhanna wrote:When MW takes down Dorman 600-25 there is a gulf that is difficult to cross.
To be fair, we played Dorman a lot and that is by no means a normal score between our teams. Dorman was and will be a very competitive team.

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Post by jrbarry » Sat Jun 23, 2007 4:28 pm

Some of us were sponsoring large tournaments with 3-part or 4-quarter formats with pyramidal tossups before NAQT got into the high school business.

4-quarter formats do not mean Chip Beall and T/B formats do not mean NAQT.

As for the coaching philosophy question, I lead my team to where I feel they should go...all year long...up until our State Tournament which is the most important one we play in all year.

After State, my players get to have alot of input into where we go to Nationals if we go at all. Frankly, nationals is fun wherever you go. But, since there is no one national that is THE national we ALL recognize as such in the quiz bowl world, it is less important to me than State which everyone in my state recognizes is THE title.

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Post by mhanna » Sat Jun 23, 2007 4:40 pm

We point to our county competition. Anything after that is gravy. My team has a say in which tournaments we attend. I do want them to know success and sometimes we travel out of the region to play teams they have no preconceived notions about. At times we are successful and other times not. We do not measure success in wins and losses, but how did we play and are we improving. We did not attend any national tournament for the past two years because of scheduling conflicts with graduation, the students' summer plans and funding. This year we were fortunate enough to attend two national tournaments and were respectable at both. We were fortunate. The overall object is to have some fun, play the game and see the sights.
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Post by First Chairman » Sat Jun 23, 2007 5:04 pm

jrbarry wrote:After State, my players get to have alot of input into where we go to Nationals if we go at all. Frankly, nationals is fun wherever you go. But, since there is no one national that is THE national we ALL recognize as such in the quiz bowl world, it is less important to me than State which everyone in my state recognizes is THE title.
Except the Decathlon folks. ;)
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Post by jrbarry » Sat Jun 23, 2007 7:07 pm

Decathalon? in GA? All 8 schools that do decathalon probably wouldn't call it "quizbowl."

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Post by Tegan » Sat Jun 23, 2007 9:38 pm

When I wrote my reoprt for Illinois on the national scene (after having actually sat thruogh NAQT and PACE and the NAC, I said that the one big thing that was positive about NAC was a four quarter format .... that it did break up the constant thundering of just toss-up and bonus.....however, I did see some problems with how the NAC chose to do their format, which is to say (note: no accusation here) that the system opened up the possibility of charges of favoritism and cheating that COULD be easily corrected, yet didn't seem to be. There was also the issue (as mentioned earlier) that there was too much of a problem of teams playing uneven schedules, the questions in the lightning ruond being uneven, etc, etc.

As Matt and Coach Dillon were saying, and I tend to agree, I think there must be a way to utilize the overall format that NAC uses, while correcting the most obvious problems which exist.

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Post by Matt Weiner » Sat Jun 23, 2007 9:51 pm

Tegan wrote:As Matt and Coach Dillon were saying, and I tend to agree, I think there must be a way to utilize the overall format that NAC uses, while correcting the most obvious problems which exist.
Yeah:

1) Lightning rounds and/or worksheets should follow a similar distribution to the match as a whole, and that distribution should be similar to that found in all good tournaments.

2) Tossups should be pyramidal and otherwise good; if you must use variable-value tossups, then all tossups in one phase of the match should be worth X and in another phase Y. Don't mix it up at random or try to judge what's "worth" some number of points.

3) If you use bonus bouncebacks, use the kind that the NSC as well as most tournaments in the South use, not the crazy kind where you can get a tossup right and end up 50 points behind because you missed one bonus part. Bonuses as a whole should not look any different than bonuses in TU/B tournaments.

I really don't care about format--there's nothing inherently better or worse about ACF, NAQT, PACE, or four quarter game formats. What matters is whether the rules are fair and the questions are good within whatever format you like. That means I recognize that many four-quarter tournaments are better than some tossup/bonus tournaments, but at the same time I don't see the need to start up four quarter tournaments that compete with other-format tournaments just for the sake of having four quarter tournaments--just work to make the questions good in whatever formats the tournaments that are out there use.

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Post by jrbarry » Sun Jun 24, 2007 3:12 pm

Matt's three suggestions for 4-quarter formats are excellent.

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Post by The Atom Strikes! » Mon Jun 25, 2007 7:45 pm

I would say that I have no objection to the 4-quarter formats, so long as the lightening rounds are well-balanced (as Matt stated earlier), and the tossups are pyramidal, rewarding knowledge as opposed to reflexes. The buzzer-beating, direction-changing questions that I have encountered at most 4-quarter tournaments where I have been present actually punish knowledge by making knowledgeable players neg, which should be the opposite of the goal of quizbowl.
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Post by Gautam » Tue Jul 03, 2007 10:25 am

SwissBoy wrote:I would say that I have no objection to the 4-quarter formats, so long as the lightening rounds are well-balanced (as Matt stated earlier), and the tossups are pyramidal, rewarding knowledge as opposed to reflexes. The buzzer-beating, direction-changing questions that I have encountered at most 4-quarter tournaments where I have been present actually punish knowledge by making knowledgeable players neg, which should be the opposite of the goal of quizbowl.
Agreement.

The MN State league used horrendous Patrick's press questions for the past umpteen years. R took over the operations in 2006, and the league has been much much better than ever.

The league continues to use the four quarters format, except the four quarters are not the same as before. The packets are "derived" from A-series sets; therefore, there is negligible buzzer beating (unless it's between two really good teams) and there are absolutely no direction changes. There are no negs.

The first quarter is made of 12 one liner tus that are pretty easy. Then, we have a 6 min. quarter with tu.+bon. Then we have a lightning round. 3 choices, team behind in scoring gets to choose first. And then, we have another quarter with tu.+bon.

The good thing about this format, I think is that Lightning rounds won't be as influential in determining the outcome of the game. Even if a good team gets shafted bad lightning rounds, it has a LOT of time to get even in the 4th quarter.

The only thing I would suggest that R change in the packets is to make the lightning rounds more uniform, and, sometimes, more challenging. For instance, in the semifinals, there was a lightning round which required the team to name the currency given the country, and the hardest one was the Italian Lira....

Those are my thoughts on the 4-quarter format in MN. I like the timed quarters, and the NAQT questions add a lot of fun to the games.

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