VCU Fall Tournament X (Richmond, VA – 10/30/21)

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Matt Weiner
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VCU Fall Tournament X (Richmond, VA – 10/30/21)

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This is the general announcement for the 2021 Virginia Commonwealth University Fall Tournament, which is a high school academic quizbowl tournament, to be hosted at VCU in Richmond, Virginia, on Saturday, October 30, 2021 from 8:30 AM to about 4:30 PM. We plan to host this tournament as an in-person event. See the end of this announcement for our covid safety protocols.

The registration link is here. Please read the entire announcement before registering.

The tournament will take place in the interconnected Oliver Hall/Temple Building complex, which is located at the intersection of Main Street and Harrison Street, in Richmond, Virginia. This is not the building in which we usually host our tournaments (Grace E. Harris Hall) but is in fact located directly across the street from Harris. For GPS use, the address of the building is 901 W Main St, Richmond VA.

Parking on Main Street directly in front of the building or on other nearby surface streets is, usually, free and available on Saturdays. In the event that the on-street parking is closed or full, you can use the West Main Street Parking Deck one block east of the tournament building. The parking deck has entrances on Cherry Street and Laurel Street and is nominally located at 801 W Main St for GPS purposes. A campus map is accessible here.

There will NOT be an opening meeting at this tournament; see below for more information.

This tournament will be using NAQT’s 2021 SSNCT question set. The difficulty is equivalent to a regular NAQT Invitational Series set. Teams that actually played the SSNCT online in April 2021 or have ordered a copy of the packet set are not eligible.

Any person who has encountered the content of SSNCT, in any context including as a staffer at the actual SSNCT, is not eligible to play and is expected to disclose the fact that they have knowledge of set content if they are in touch with teams playing this tournament, e.g. as a coach or peer in a quizbowl club.

This tournament is for teams of eligible players representing a single high school. Other than those schools which are disqualified due to exposure to the 2021 SSNCT set, all public, private, religious, magnet, and charter schools are eligible regardless of experience level or location. Eligibility to participate for a given school will generally reflect the practices of national quizbowl organizations such as PACE and NAQT. For homeschool co-ops and collectives, VCU's high school tournaments will follow the eligibility guidelines published by NAQT here. If you believe that you should be granted an eligibility exception, please contact us at [email protected].

This tournament will be submitted to the Partnership for Academic Competition Excellence for appropriate certification and may be a qualification opportunity for the 2022 National Scholastics Championship, which will occur at the end of the 2021-2022 school year at a date and location to be announced. More information will be available at this link. Under NAQT policy, this question set is not an automatic qualifier for the 2022 High School National Championship Tournament, which will occur on May 27-29 in Atlanta, but we encourage high finishers to apply to NAQT for wild-card bids if interested.

This tournament will use the tossup/bonus format. A round will consist of 20 tossups with correct tossup answers earning a team a bonus in which it can earn up to 30 additional points, broken into three questions each worth 10 points. There will be no math calculation tossups or bonuses; this does not preclude tossups or bonuses on mathematical concepts. Specific scenarios will be handled according to the ACF rules. Teams will be seeded to preliminary groupings before being reseeded based on record for playoffs. All teams will be offered a minimum of 8 games, and we hope to increase that number once the final field size is determined. Trophies will be awarded to the top teams, and book prizes will be awarded to the top individual scorers.

Registration & fees:
base fee: +$70 per team to your school's total fee.

buzzer discount: -$5 to your school's total fee for each fully functional system. There is no limit to the number of systems you can bring. A fully functional buzzer system is defined as follows:
  • A buzzer system that clearly indicates which player has buzzed.
  • The control unit and at least 8 activators work, including lights on either or both of the 8 activators and control unit.
  • If the activators plug into a control unit via a modular connector, such as a telephone plug, tape must be provided if any latching tabs are broken.
staff discount: -$10 to your school's total fee. This can be a coach, parent, student, or other person who is not playing. Team-provided staffers will keep score for various games. Volunteer staffers must stay through all the games (excepting finals) in order to receive credit for their school. There is no limit to the number of staffers you can bring.

travel discount: -$10 to your school's total fee for every 150 miles traveled one-way from your school's address to VCU, according to Google Maps.

minimum fee: The minimum fee is $0. You can bring enough buzzers and staffers to eliminate your fee, but you cannot have a negative fee.

To register for this tournament, fill out this form. Once you have submitted the form, there is no further action needed on your part in order to be officially registered. There will be periodic updates in this thread and by e-mail indicating who has registered. Posts made in this thread do not count as official registrations. Contact [email protected] if you need to modify your registration.

Please feel welcome to share this announcement with any schools that you think would be interested in attending!

Field size and registration priority

For reasons related to the covid protocols below, we are limiting this tournament to 16 teams and are unlikely to expand beyond that number.

Any school is welcome to register up to 2 teams immediately. C teams and beyond will be put on a waitlist until all schools have a chance to register A and B teams. After October 1 we will begin allowing C and further teams into the field based on order of registration.

Method of payment:
All teams must pay by the day of the tournament. Per the covid guidelines below, we strongly encourage either using electronic payment or mailing payment in advance, though day-of payment will also be accepted on site. Teams who do not pay by the day of the tournament will be charged a $25 penalty and will have two weeks to pay their total amount.

Venmo and Zelle information, as well as a mailing address for checks, will be shared with all registrants. For on-site payment, we can accept checks or cash or run physical credit/debit cards via Square.

All checks must be made out to "Quizbowl at VCU". If you require an invoice or W-9 form in order to have a check cut, you must let us know by October 10, so that we can send you the paperwork in time. If you do not let us know about this requirement by October 10, and it causes you to come to the tournament without your payment, then you will be subject to the $25 late payment penalty.

Team & roster size:
There may be a maximum of six players on one team's roster, up to four of whom may play at one time. There will be no exceptions to this rule. If you bring more than six players, you must register a second team to have all of them play. There is a half-time substitution opportunity in each game. Each player may appear on only one team's roster throughout the day; there is no switching from the B team to the A team, etc. Teams may play shorthanded, with fewer than four players.

Code of conduct and chaperone policy:

All participants in the tournament are expected to be familiar with the code of conduct designed to provide a safe and inclusive environment at Quizbowl at VCU events.

All schools participating in this event are expected to have at least one coach or other designated adult who is present for the duration of the tournament and actively takes responsibility for the conduct of the school's players. One coach may suffice for multiple teams from the same school.

Neither breakfast nor lunch will be provided by the tournament. We will provide a list of suggested eateries for the lunch break, which will be at some time after 12 PM.

Safety plan regarding covid:

Our plan is to host this tournament in-person under the following conditions:

*General guidance on VCU campus closures may be accessed at VCU Alert. This is where official decisions on closing the campus due to weather emergencies and other concerns outside of covid may be found. In the event that there is an emergency situation near the date of the tournament, we will go by what is published on VCU Alert and will run the tournament if the campus is open.

*All people attending the tournament in any capacity (player, coach, staff, parent or other spectator, etc.) must be vaccinated against covid-19. This is a non-negotiable point. If you have a legitimate medical reason why you cannot be vaccinated, then you should not attend this tournament as we cannot provide appropriate health guarantees for such individuals. For similar reasons, while we normally allow students of any age to participate in our tournaments if they are otherwise eligible, we will not be allowing anyone under age 12 to attend this event (including as a spectator) unless there is a change in vaccine eligibility in the very near future.

*Except for moderators who are engaged in reading games, all attendees will be required to properly wear masks while inside the building or while congregating in non-distanced groups outside.

*We have reserved rooms with windows that open and, unless it is raining heavily, we will be opening windows all day and using fans to refresh the room air between rounds. Please bring jackets to accommodate the outside temperature on the tournament day.

*The rooms we are using are large enough to allow each team to sit at a six-foot distance from the other team and the staff table, as well as for coaches and parents to distance. We do not encourage members of a given team to sit so far apart that players need to raise their voices in order to communicate with each other on bonus questions.

*There will be a designated 10-minute period after every two rounds during which all participants will be encouraged to step outside the building while we refresh the air in each room using the fans. Please do not congregate in close unmasked groups during this time.

*There will be no meetings greater than the size of a single game (that is, no opening meeting or awards ceremony attended by the entire tournament field). All information about the tournament schedule, rules, etc. will be provided electronically ahead of time. Every team will be informed of its round 1 game room and will go directly to that room upon arrival at the tournament building. The time window for room setup will be 8:35 to 8:50 and we will begin games at 8:50. To avoid unnecessary indoor time, please wait until 8:30 to enter the building if you arrive early. Please avoid congregating in the hallways in groups larger than your own school's delegation - use the outdoor periods if you want to socialize with other teams.

*Teams who are bringing buzzers will be asked to deliver them directly to an assigned round 1 game room (which will, in as many cases as possible, be the same room in which you are playing round 1). Teams will receive their paper schedules and other documents from their round 1 room staffers.

*We encourage you to pay by mailing a check in advance or using electronic payment methods outlined below. For those who need to hand-deliver a check or cash, we will accept it through your round 1 staffer.

*At the end of your last pre-scheduled game, you will remain in your game room while placement game pairings are calculated, and information on your seed for placement games will be communicated to you by your room staffer when available. After the final round of the tournament, staffers will break down buzzers and leave the cases outside the room doors so that you can pick up your buzzer on your way out. We will identify the top 4 teams and top 8 individual scorers and bring trophies and book prizes directly to game rooms after the appropriate rounds.

*Buzzers and desks will be sanitized between rounds and hand sanitizer will be provided in rooms.

*We encourage all participants to eat lunch outdoors if possible. In addition to outdoor seating areas at many of the usual restaurants in the area that we recommend, there are several seating areas outside campus buildings that may be used.

We will be monitoring the situation over the coming weeks with regard to infection trends, university policies, school policies on activities, and so forth. If a viable in-person tournament cannot occur then we will move to an online event.

Current field (as of 10/28):

School- # of teams

Dinwiddie- 2
Douglas Freeman- 1
Edison- 1
Maggie Walker- 4
Norfolk Academic Guild- 1
Richard Montgomery- 1

Matt Weiner
Advisor and Tournament Director, Quizbowl at VCU
[email protected]
Matt Weiner
Advisor to Quizbowl at Virginia Commonwealth University / Founder of
User avatar
Matt Weiner
Posts: 8133
Joined: Fri Apr 11, 2003 8:34 pm
Location: Richmond, VA

Re: VCU Fall Tournament X (Richmond, VA – 10/30/21)

Post by Matt Weiner »

Congratulations to Richard Montgomery, who won today's tournament by defeating Norfolk Academic Guild in the second game of a two-game final. Full stats are here: ... /complete/ Thanks to all the staffers who made an efficient event possible today.
Matt Weiner
Advisor to Quizbowl at Virginia Commonwealth University / Founder of