Illinois '15 - '16

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Irreligion in Bangladesh
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Re: Illinois '15 - '16

Post by Irreligion in Bangladesh » Fri Feb 05, 2016 12:43 pm

Due to a high number of conflicts with February 14th, we are postponing the Team Illinois selection event to Saturday, March 26th. The new event will take place in the Chicago area; more details to come.

If you are interested in applying for Team Illinois, you still have time to e-mail me! If you thought you had applied already but didn't get an e-mail from me regarding this change this week, e-mail me at brad.a.fischer@gmail.com so I can get you on the list.
Brad Fischer
Head Editor, IHSA State Series

Winnebago HS ('06)
Northern Illinois University ('10)
Assistant Coach, IMSA (2010-12)
Coach, Keith Country Day School (2012-16)

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Re: Illinois '15 - '16

Post by Irreligion in Bangladesh » Sun Feb 21, 2016 2:31 am

I'm having some sleep issues at the moment and don't have the mental focus to write questions or do my taxes, so we get this post instead.

The full results aren't all posted to the Masonic Bowl website yet, so I don't want to mention any question specifics, but I want to thank David Reinstein, Jonah Greenthal, Donald Taylor, and Andrew Wang for another fantastic set of questions.

First, an aside: Nobody should look to the Masonic game format as a way to run their own tournament. The "teamwork" style instead of "bonus" style is best served as a novelty. Comp math is a minor issue, though I generally was OK with its execution today. Most importantly, the Masonic format leads games, especially between nationally competitive teams, to be artificially close for longer than they usually are in standard tossup-bonus format. But, as far as a single tournament that hundreds of otherwise-not-very-active teams get to play, I'm not going to complain too much about the novelty of spreading bonus control around a bit. You can complain, but to me, the format's not worth crusading over. Fine.

New question writers should study the tossups in 2016 Masonic Sectionals as Lesson One in how to write quizbowl questions.

The Masonic writers have to write a set of questions that will be played by over 300 teams, ranging from schools with double-digit enrollment that have played 0 games of quizbowl this year all the way to teams that are studying to win national titles. They nailed it. This tournament kept tossup answer selection firmly in control, then used cluing that was able to engage teams at high levels without going over the heads of teams at low levels. Clue gradation within tossups was the finest I've seen in years -- listening to these tossups, you can see where an Auburn/Hinsdale level team would buzz, where a Waubonsie Valley or Piasa Southwestern would buzz, where a Keith would buzz, where a novice team would buzz -- and none of those levels were merely paid lip service. Clues provided honest, helpful descriptions of what was going on -- there was very little "context-free namedropping" of namesake scientist effects, for example -- and giveaways weren't simply dashed-off rapid fire because all the words were spent on the leadin.

Newer writers struggle MIGHTILY with making sure that answers are accessible to newer players and making sure that clues are descriptive, helpful, and (at the end) easy enough for new players. There's no easier way to drive off inexperienced teams than by blowing them out of the water with nonsense clue phrases on stock quizbowl answer lines, and quizbowl can't survive much more of that. Hundreds of schools played Masonic Sectionals, and I guarantee you none of them left the event complaining that they couldn't answer the questions -- that's not something most tournaments can say.

The very nature of pyramidal quizbowl means that the same questions should be able to fairly judge games at any level of play. Far, far too often we see so-called "regular difficulty" house-written sets fail to encompass the entire spectrum. If you want to learn what "regular difficulty" quizbowl should look like, read this set and build from the foundation it lays: accessible answer lines, clear clues, smooth gradation. Read this set, and learn how to write tossups for the total audience.

(ETA full writing team credits, now that I know who all worked on it)
Last edited by Irreligion in Bangladesh on Sun Feb 21, 2016 4:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Brad Fischer
Head Editor, IHSA State Series

Winnebago HS ('06)
Northern Illinois University ('10)
Assistant Coach, IMSA (2010-12)
Coach, Keith Country Day School (2012-16)

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Re: Illinois '15 - '16

Post by Deviant Insider » Sun Feb 21, 2016 9:04 am

Thanks. To be honest, we aimed this at easier than regular difficulty because of the large number of inactive or slightly active teams that played yesterday. The tossups probably were longer than some people would like because we were in fact trying to differentiate between teams of widely different knowledge bases, including times when strong teams played strong teams and when weak teams played weak teams. (Tossups were around 550 characters including spaces.)

Donald Taylor wrote the Social Studies, Literature, and Miscellaneous (about half the questions). Andrew Wang wrote the bio/chem/physics (about a quarter of the questions), and I wrote the math, fine arts, and other science (about a quarter of the questions). The editing was done by me and Jonah. The fact that the clues were substantive rather than name dropping is due to Jonah, since I have a bad habit of name dropping, and Jonah has a good habit of calling me on it.

The results are all posted now, so people can discuss individual questions. The writers and editors reserve the right to remain vague until State is over--don't expect to see actual question text before then. I read yesterday, so I know of 2 or 3 questions that need fixing because some words were jumbled, and there was 1 question I was told to research because somebody who knows the subject better than me said he thought some clues were erroneous. (I haven't researched it yet, but I will.) Feel free to bring more such things to my attention by email or post. I appreciate Brad's kind words, but I don't expect everybody to have that reaction.

I plan to post the Sectional and State questions after State in two weeks.
David Reinstein
PACE VP of Outreach, Head Writer and Editor for Scobol Solo and Masonics (Illinois), TD for New Trier Scobol Solo and New Trier Varsity, Writer for NAQT (2011-2017), IHSSBCA Board Member, IHSSBCA Chair (2004-2014), PACE Member, PACE President (2016-2018), New Trier Coach (1994-2011)

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Re: Illinois '15 - '16

Post by the return of AHAN » Sun Feb 21, 2016 12:21 pm

I moderated yesterday, and the set was outstanding. Agreed with Brad that the format ensures weak teams don't get pounded, and instead of 530-60 scores, you get 390-200, which is fine. But I can see where a team that regularly exhibits better play in a regular quizbowl match (by way of more and earlier toss-up scores) is far more vulnerable to an upset. I moderated Fremd vs. St. Viator yesterday, and the outcome was in doubt going into the final 4 toss-ups, to the point I was quickly glancing at the tiebreaker rules during the 45 second timeout.
Interestingly, in the final round, I was moderating the 3rd place match, while Brad Savage was next door with the championship. Though I read at a pretty good pace, as does Brad, the Fremd kids burst out of that room while I was reading teamwork question 27. Definitely a function of the fact Fremd and Barrington were answering questions far faster than Maine South and Meadows were, yet the game play wasn't suffering at all. We had an enjoyable match where the teams were challenged, yet able to answer more answer lines than not.
Jeff Price
Barrington High School Coach
Barrington Station Middle School Coach (2013 MSNCT Champions, 2013 & 2017 Illinois Class AA State Champions)
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Re: Illinois '15 - '16

Post by dtaylor4 » Sun Feb 21, 2016 1:38 pm

As I was reading at O'Fallon yesterday, I distinctly remember seeing one TU in my areas where the clues should have been re-jiggered, and another TU where the answer was a bit too far out there.

I had a good spread of teams in my room, but even the teams I saw that maybe won 0-2 games all day were having fun and were converting questions at the end.

With the Sectional bonuses, I found that leading with the hard part was a good way to distinguish the top teams, as they get less information to work with.

About the format: I have been invited to the Masons' April recap meeting for the past three years (it helps that it's maybe ten minutes from me). I can be reasonably confident in saying that the format is not changing. Yes, I understand it can lead to upsets, but when I've seen teams average 20ppb on their controlled bonuses and still not make top 4, that says something about the depth of that field. I've pushed for the game format to be lengthened (20/20 as opposed to 16/16), but been shot down on the spot.

Right now, the thing that I plan on trying to improve is a tournament format for 9 teams with 7 packets. Right now, the Masonic standard is pools of 5 and 4, then top 4. With 8, it's a full RR, with 10, it's 5/5 so teams can at least scrimmage a fifth game.

Congrats to all of the sectional winners, I will see you all in two weeks.

ETA Format stuffs

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Re: Illinois '15 - '16

Post by MLaudermith » Sun Feb 21, 2016 6:30 pm

dtaylor4 wrote:About the format: I have been invited to the Masons' April recap meeting for the past three years (it helps that it's maybe ten minutes from me). I can be reasonably confident in saying that the format is not changing. Yes, I understand it can lead to upsets, but when I've seen teams average 20ppb on their controlled bonuses and still not make top 4, that says something about the depth of that field. I've pushed for the game format to be lengthened (20/20 as opposed to 16/16), but been shot down on the spot.
I don't have a major issue with using this format at the sectional level, but do you think the Masons would at least consider going to a more traditional tossup/bonus format at the state tournament?
Mike Laudermith, Scholastic Bowl Coach, Fenton High School
IHSSBCA Member-at-Large

"Where can you belt back a fifth of scotch on the Firth of Forth?"
--geography tossup from the pioneering days of Illinois Scholastic Bowl

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Re: Illinois '15 - '16

Post by dtaylor4 » Sun Feb 21, 2016 11:12 pm

MLaudermith wrote:
dtaylor4 wrote:About the format: I have been invited to the Masons' April recap meeting for the past three years (it helps that it's maybe ten minutes from me). I can be reasonably confident in saying that the format is not changing. Yes, I understand it can lead to upsets, but when I've seen teams average 20ppb on their controlled bonuses and still not make top 4, that says something about the depth of that field. I've pushed for the game format to be lengthened (20/20 as opposed to 16/16), but been shot down on the spot.
I don't have a major issue with using this format at the sectional level, but do you think the Masons would at least consider going to a more traditional tossup/bonus format at the state tournament?
I hadn't thought about it, but something like that would need to come from coaches and players. I will say that the committee does take seriously feedback from coaches and players.

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Re: Illinois '15 - '16

Post by Deviant Insider » Sat Mar 05, 2016 7:18 pm

Congratulations to Masonic State Champions Hinsdale Central, Latin, and Keith!

The questions have been sent to the archives, though they aren't showing up yet.

Thanks to Matt Laird, we found that there was a false statement in the Sectional questions. They stated that Macduff took Duncan's head, but he actually took Macbeth's head. The good news is that the structure of the question probably meant that it didn't mess up game play. The bad news is that it shouldn't have happened, and it's my fault.
David Reinstein
PACE VP of Outreach, Head Writer and Editor for Scobol Solo and Masonics (Illinois), TD for New Trier Scobol Solo and New Trier Varsity, Writer for NAQT (2011-2017), IHSSBCA Board Member, IHSSBCA Chair (2004-2014), PACE Member, PACE President (2016-2018), New Trier Coach (1994-2011)

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Re: Illinois '15 - '16

Post by AGoodMan » Mon May 02, 2016 9:50 pm

Just a quick shoutout to Southwestern and especially Macomb for the great showing at SSNCT!
Jon Suh
Wheaton Warrenville South High School '16
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Re: Illinois '15 - '16

Post by mhasquin » Sat May 07, 2016 5:54 pm

randomguy1997 wrote:Just a quick shoutout to Southwestern and especially Macomb for the great showing at SSNCT!
Thanks Jonathan. We had a great run. Illinois was represented well. It was a lot of fun rooting Macomb on as well.
Matt Hasquin
Scholastic Bowl Coach - Southwestern High School - Piasa, Illinois
IHSSBCA Chair

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Re: Illinois '15 - '16

Post by Dominator » Mon Jun 13, 2016 9:32 pm

To close out this thread, I just wanted to mention that I am leaving Illinois this summer for California. I have loved the 7 years I was a part of the Illinois quizbowl scene, working with, playing with, and playing against so many great people. (I won't try to name them all, because I'd undoubtedly forget some.) I can't imagine wasting so many Saturdays with anyone else. I hope I get to see you all at a nationals sometime soon. Maybe Illinois could finally just win one...
Dr. Noah Prince

Normal Community High School (2002)
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (2004, 2007, 2008)

Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy - Scholastic Bowl coach (2009-2014), assistant coach (2014-2015), well wisher (2015-2016)
guy in San Diego (2016-present)
President of Qblitz (2018-present)

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Re: Illinois '15 - '16

Post by the return of AHAN » Mon Jun 13, 2016 9:44 pm

Dominator wrote:To close out this thread, I just wanted to mention that I am leaving Illinois this summer for California. I have loved the 7 years I was a part of the Illinois quizbowl scene, working with, playing with, and playing against so many great people. (I won't try to name them all, because I'd undoubtedly forget some.) I can't imagine wasting so many Saturdays with anyone else. I hope I get to see you all at a nationals sometime soon. Maybe Illinois could finally just win one...
https://www.naqt.com/stats/tournament-t ... nt_id=4299
Jeff Price
Barrington High School Coach
Barrington Station Middle School Coach (2013 MSNCT Champions, 2013 & 2017 Illinois Class AA State Champions)
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Re: Illinois '15 - '16

Post by Dominator » Mon Jun 13, 2016 9:46 pm

the return of AHAN wrote:
Dominator wrote:To close out this thread, I just wanted to mention that I am leaving Illinois this summer for California. I have loved the 7 years I was a part of the Illinois quizbowl scene, working with, playing with, and playing against so many great people. (I won't try to name them all, because I'd undoubtedly forget some.) I can't imagine wasting so many Saturdays with anyone else. I hope I get to see you all at a nationals sometime soon. Maybe Illinois could finally just win one...
https://www.naqt.com/stats/tournament-t ... nt_id=4299
Well played, sir.

Edited to note that the third place team from that year may well be my kids' middle school.
Dr. Noah Prince

Normal Community High School (2002)
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (2004, 2007, 2008)

Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy - Scholastic Bowl coach (2009-2014), assistant coach (2014-2015), well wisher (2015-2016)
guy in San Diego (2016-present)
President of Qblitz (2018-present)

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Re: Illinois '15 - '16

Post by AGoodMan » Mon Jun 13, 2016 10:33 pm

I want to add that I had a blast this season playing quiz bowl with and against some truly talented people. Thank you to the various schools, parents, players, coaches, staffers, and also Young Lee & Google Hangouts for providing so many opportunities to waste away many Saturdays. :smile:

I also think Illinois is a real contender to finally win a high school national championship next season, as it always is. Stevenson only loses Kazuma and Barrington returns the entire A team, while Pranav has vowed to study and Jakob Myers will continue to be Jakob Myers. Good luck next year guys!
Jon Suh
Wheaton Warrenville South High School '16
Harvard '20 (Co-President)
PACE

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Re: Illinois '15 - '16

Post by Ent » Thu Jun 16, 2016 6:38 pm

I saw that it is about time to end this thread, and I don't like to keep rehashing the past much, put looking at who started this thread, it shows how much time has really past in just 14 months or so.'

To coach Prince, safe travels. I think Illinois quizbowl is much better off for your efforts, and you will be missed.

Rather than ending on the past, I want to reiterate something about the future. Like a lot of people, I just got an e-mail from R regarding students leaving high school. IF you are graduating, and you are going to be playing in college, that's great! Best of luck to you.

Whether you are playing or not, I do want to reach out to graduating seniors in particular, and encourage them to consider staying involved. There are many ways to do this:
1. Moderating
2. Tournament direction/organization
3. Scorekeeping
4. Stats

As time has gone on in Illinois due to a lot of factors, the number of people who can do these things well has dropped, and every year, we lose a few more. With a huge retirement to the teaching flocks in Illinois soon, there will likely be a small bump in those people leaving some of these jobs, soon. As a player, you know that you are aware that one of the key factors to a good playing experience is having good people in those jobs. No one walks into the job the first time or the second time or the third time and gets it right. However, we are looking for some good people who are willing to learn to help and give the next generation of players a chance.

I know that college can be a really busy time, and especially if you are playing, you may not have tons of time to work, however, please keep this message in the back of your head as you move forward. After college, as you settle into your professions and even family life, please consider donating some time to learning to do one of these jobs, and then doing them. Jobs like scorekeeping may take less time to master, and aren't necessarily as stressful, but are very important for keeping tournaments moving on time. Stats is something done "behind the scenes" for those that might be a bit shy. The point is: there are many jobs for many different people. Please consider giving back to the activity. Keep in mind, while some of the people doing these jobs were good players in their day, some were not. These jobs are not contingent on playing ability. If you are wondering how to get started, you can contact a tournament host (check out ihssbca.org for a list), you can contact ihssbca, and they can guide you to a local contact person. You can also drop a line to the general e-mail for naqt

Best of luck to the future, and please keep this idea in mind.
Thomas Egan

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