Centennial High's Its Ac tournament(12/2/07)Ellicott City,MD

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Centennial High's Its Ac tournament(12/2/07)Ellicott City,MD

Post by pgandhi » Thu Oct 18, 2007 11:32 pm

Centennial High School's It's Academic Team would like to cordially invite you to our third annual tournament.

The tournament will be held on Sunday, December 2.

Format: 40 tossup-bonus questions. All questions will be house-written.

Cost: $55 for the first team, $45 for additional teams. There will be a $10 discount per team for working buzzers.

Deadline for registration: November 20th. Just email us with the number of teams from your school that will be attending and how many buzzer sets you will be bringing.

Centennial High School is located in Ellicott City, Maryland. We would be happy to provide directions to our school!
Email us at: chsitsac@gmail.com
-CHS Its Ac team

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Post by pgandhi » Tue Oct 30, 2007 9:59 pm

Oh yeah, don't forget our amazing breakfast!

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Post by pgandhi » Wed Nov 28, 2007 10:42 pm

We have 48 teams signed up for our tournament!
As we have reached our limit, we can not accept any more teams.
Thank you to all the teams that have registered!
Registration will be from 8:00 a.m to 9:00 a.m.
We will have a coaches round at lunch time, for any coaches who want to participate, proceeds will go to the Special Olympics of Howard County.

-Pratik Gandhi
Centennial Its Academic Treasurer

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Post by Gonzagapuma1 » Sun Dec 02, 2007 6:04 pm

Results:
1. Walter Johnson
2. Gonzaga A
3. Georgetown Day
4. Gonzaga B
5-8- Whitman, St. Anslem's and two others

The questions were probably the worst ive heard since ER last year.

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Post by ieppler » Sun Dec 02, 2007 6:12 pm

The final was decided on a protest.

I agree with Puma that the questions were the worst I have heard since I last played an ER tournament. There were many problems with the tournament direction, as well. I would post a long critique of the tournament, but I'm not sure it's worth the time.
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Post by aestheteboy » Sun Dec 02, 2007 6:17 pm

The breakfast was good, as advertised. The format was 40 tossups, not, as advertised. The questions were certainly not good, but I was still happy to win since the trophy was the best looking I've seen in any non-national tournament.
Whitman split their four players into 2 teams of two, for those of you who were wondering.
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Post by Byko » Sun Dec 02, 2007 7:06 pm

Gonzagapuma1 wrote:Results:
1. Walter Johnson
2. Gonzaga A
3. Georgetown Day
4. Gonzaga B
5-8- Whitman, St. Anslem's and two others

The questions were probably the worst ive heard since ER last year.
The other two quarterfinalists were Reservoir and ER. Other teams making the playoffs were Whitman B, Hammond, Perry Hall, Maret, Long Reach, Robinson (VA), St. Anselm's B, and Pikesville. All of the top 8 qualify automatically for this year's PACE NSC.

The questions made efforts to be pyramidal. Sometimes it worked really well. Sometimes, the clues ended up in very much the wrong order (such as a question about I-Ching that mentions "Book of Changes" in the first line). And the answer space was a bit strange at times: I was surprised to see a question on Georg Philipp Telemann, and I have never heard of the African literary work Gassire's Lute (after writing a number of African literature questions for another tournament).
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Post by Stat Boy » Sun Dec 02, 2007 7:24 pm

Congratulations to WJ. I agree with Bykowski's analysis of the questions, and I wish we had been able to play Gonzaga on other terms; however, they deserve all due credit for their win against us. They played extremely well in coming from behind and were able to come through again on the replacement question.
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Post by Nine-Tenths Ideas » Sun Dec 02, 2007 8:57 pm

Most of the questions were fine, with a few misleading ones. The one noticeable thing was the difference in difficulty between questions. Some were ridiculous; others might have started off with harder clues. Lots of emphasis on economics and philosophy.
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Post by gonzagaeagleahy » Sun Dec 02, 2007 10:54 pm

Yeah, in accordance with i guess everyone else that's posted, the questions were poor, to say the least.
Specifically starting almost every question off with the subject's birthday...yeah that's not a good idea for any true attempt at pyramidal questions. Nor is writing questions on literary works or authors where you say worthless and useless information until the very last line. For example, many lit questions included no characters. At all. And for some authors and such, some questions were similar to "Born March 4, 1907 in Ellicot City, MD he died when he was 92...he wrote for 30 years, specifically the last years of his life. He recently wrote a famous book..." and then at the end name a work. By the end, though, I saw that the lit questions had more or less somewhat improved possibly because I was actually hearing more decent questions. But there was a large inconsistency in question difficulty, some being ridiculously easy early, and some...
Byko wrote:Gassire's Lute
OK. Um. no.
NeverHitTina wrote:Lots of emphasis on economics and philosophy.
I recall a handful, at most, of economics questions and not many philosophy. Overall the distribution I found fine, just the quality iffy.

I liked the special folders. It was pretty well organized but I was angered by the placing of Walter Johnson, who had not registered on time or something?, in our bracket where we, Baltimore Poly who we thought were probably good enough to make the playoffs, and Robinson were. I understand it's easier to just switch them with the team that was absent but they could have swapped a team in another bracket with them, for there wre a few brackets with not solid teams, relatively, which would have not led to us playing whitman so early or playing WJ in the prelims...also, although i'm not complaining about the specific protests at all...the final had a protest that was simply resolved by one guy's decision in like a minute as opposed to possibly doing a little researching to prove he was wrong, which i recently did.

I liked the folders, though. And the donuts. They were delish.

Edit: it was really timely and done just when they said it would, actually a few minutes before, and that was great.
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Post by Gonzagapuma1 » Sun Dec 02, 2007 11:11 pm

Byko wrote:Gassire's Lute
For whatever reason I just looked that up and I'm pretty sure wikipedia should check its pockets the next time anyone from Centennial is around.

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Post by aestheteboy » Sun Dec 02, 2007 11:13 pm

gonzagaeagleahy wrote:the placing of Walter Johnson, who had not registered on time or something?
I'd like to apologize for this, although I blame Whipple.
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Post by gonzagaeagleahy » Sun Dec 02, 2007 11:19 pm

aestheteboy wrote:
gonzagaeagleahy wrote:the placing of Walter Johnson, who had not registered on time or something?
I'd like to apologize for this, although I blame Whipple.
They still could have done something to even out the brackets a little more...
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Post by Byko » Mon Dec 03, 2007 10:07 am

gonzagaeagleahy wrote:Yeah, in accordance with i guess everyone else that's posted, the questions were poor, to say the least.
I can't speak for everyone else, but I wouldn't describe them as poor. I'll save my rant on this kind of thing for another time.
gonzagaeagleahy wrote:also, although i'm not complaining about the specific protests at all...the final had a protest that was simply resolved by one guy's decision in like a minute as opposed to possibly doing a little researching to prove he was wrong, which i recently did.
I recommend you come with evidence before making statements like that. I was in the room for the finals, and I'd like to know what you're suggesting. In the end, I don't have an argument against the decisions that were made.
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Post by Stat Boy » Mon Dec 03, 2007 3:33 pm

gonzagapuma1 wrote:I'm pretty sure wikipedia should check its pockets the next time anyone from Centennial is around
This would not have been as noticeable if wording or order of clues had been changed from the wiki.
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Post by ieppler » Mon Dec 03, 2007 7:22 pm

Do any of the other questions appear to be copied from Wikipedia?
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Post by gonzagaeagleahy » Mon Dec 03, 2007 8:41 pm

Byko wrote:I recommend you come with evidence before making statements like that. I was in the room for the finals, and I'd like to know what you're suggesting. In the end, I don't have an argument against the decisions that were made.
In addition to the question (whose answer was capacitor, for those who didn't witness the protest) being more general, as it stated in the first line, "The first of these...", two dates, as i vividly remember, are given, 1745 and 1746, at the beginning of the question. The question then continues on to say that the work was done by Ewald Georg von Kleist (in 1745) and Pieter van Musschenbroek (in 1746). It was off the mention of Pieter van Musschenbroek that WJ buzzed and said "Leyden jar." The leyden jar is named leyden jar from the work of Musschenbroek based on where he worked, the university of leyden. Therefore, the leyden jar was not worked on before it was first used and the answer was too specific, as opposed to just capacitor.
I would have just liked, or at least respected, if the moderator would double check facts or anything to thoroughly resolve the protest as opposed to his own opinion.
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Post by aestheteboy » Mon Dec 03, 2007 9:36 pm

I agree that the protest was resolved rather hastily. To be fair, though, the capacitor protest would not have affected the outcome of the game because alkali metal v alkaline earth metal protest was enough to give us the win (assuming that we would have gotten the replacement tossup...).

Also, not that it matters, I buzzed off Kleist (the last word was Pieter) and I was fairly sure what I was talking about. If you don't mind my quoting from wiki "(Kleist's invention) . . . This invention went on to be known as the Leyden jar because in 1746, Pieter van Musschenbroek of the University of Leiden, Netherlands, independently made the same discovery."
Also, http://chem.ch.huji.ac.il/history/kleist.html
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Post by Mike Bentley » Tue Dec 04, 2007 5:28 pm

Is it possible to get the contact list or at least the list of teams that went to this tournament? I'd be interesting in seeing how you guys got 48 teams (one of the larger fields in the DC area in recent memory).
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Post by gonzagaeagleahy » Tue Dec 04, 2007 8:57 pm

In response to Daichi a bit ago, i don't feel like quoting, i was specifically responding due to the hasty protest. I acknowledge your guys' win; you played very well, and i was pretty surprised by your supporting cast, one i didn't really predict would be there at the start of the year.
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Post by pgandhi » Tue Dec 04, 2007 9:56 pm

The Centennial It's Academic team would like to thank all the teams who attended our tournament for a making it a successful
one. We had 48 teams, coming from as far north as Baltimore County and Baltimore City, as far east as Anne Arundel County, and as far south as Northern Virginia. Other regions represented include Montgomery County, Howard County and DC.

We would also like to thank Mr. Bykowski for reading at the tournament and guiding us in organizing the tournament.

Congratulations to Walter Johnson on winning! Gonzaga, we are sorry you lost on a protest. It was a close, adrenaline-filled final game that we all enjoyed watching.

We would like to address some of your criticisms about our questions. This year, we had a wide range of teams at a variety of levels, so we had make the questions as balanced as possible so everyone had a fair chance at making the playoffs. Also, many of us are first-time question writers; since the majority of the club are either freshmen or sophomores, the general lack of experience in question-writing led us to decide to write shorter questions this year. Thank you for all the helpful comments and suggestions; we will definitely take them into careful consideration for next year.

Above all, we hope everybody had fun and we hope to see you back here next year!


P.S. GDS, we look forward to attending your tournament on December 15; Gonzaga, we hope to attend your tournament on February 9th, as well.
Also, Gassire's Lute is part of Centennial's "Humanities" curriculum. The question was written by a "Humanities" student.
-Pratik Gandhi
CHS It's Ac Treasurer
Last edited by pgandhi on Tue Dec 04, 2007 9:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by BuzzerZen » Tue Dec 04, 2007 9:57 pm

Trolling and attendant discussion can now be found in AHAN Jr.
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Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Tue Dec 04, 2007 10:09 pm

pgandhi wrote:This year, we had a wide range of teams at a variety of levels, so we had make the questions as balanced as possible so everyone had a fair chance at making the playoffs.
Of course I have no basis to discuss things that actually happened here, but I would like to point out the inherent flaw in this statement, namely, that you do, in fact, not want just any team to be able to make the playoffs. Instead, you want the best teams to make the playoffs as a reward for being better then the other teams and thus making the ultimate outcome of the tournament more legitimate. To approach this game from the "lets keep it open to everybody," while sounding noble, is actually pretty counterproductive. In the future I would recommend writing it from the standpoint of "lets have the most knowledgeable teams have the best chance to make the playoffs, and have the most knowledgeable team win."
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Post by cvdwightw » Tue Dec 04, 2007 10:43 pm

pgandhi wrote:Also, Gassire's Lute is part of Centennial's "Humanities" curriculum. The question was written by a "Humanities" student.
Herein lies the problem. Gassire's Lute may be part of your school's curriculum, but it is not widely known in any sort of quizbowl circles nor is it extensively taught at the high school level (if I am incorrect and there are many places in the DC area that use this work, I apologize, though it doesn't seem like that is the case). Many times someone will go off and read a great work, whether independently or for a class, and assume it's far better known than it is. If people at the tournament can't answer the tossup (especially since you claimed you had teams of all sorts of skill levels), it is by definition way too hard for the tournament. To give another example, when I was in high school I read Garcia Marquez's short story "Night of the Curlews" as assigned reading for an English class. It would be ludicrous for me to write a tossup on said short story, especially at the high school level, because no one would get it, and it would only lead to well-intentioned and less well-intentioned feedback like the thread here. I hope this is a better explanation than the "Um. No." post of why that answer selection a bad idea.

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Post by Gonzagapuma1 » Tue Dec 04, 2007 11:17 pm

aestheteboy wrote:(assuming that we would have gotten the replacement tossup...).
I don't know, the replacement tossup was Gassire's Lute 2: Battle For Wagadu.

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Post by square634 » Tue Dec 04, 2007 11:40 pm

I'm a Centennial graduate who came back to read this year, so I thought I'd offer a few thoughts...

1. The tournament ran more smoothly from a scheduling standpoint than it has in the past, so props to the current team for doing very well with that.

2. The brackets were kind of a travesty, I read for the (comparatively) stacked bracket with WJ, Gonzaga, Baltimore Poly, and Robinson. Our coach rushed into a decision regarding this without talking to anyone else, otherwise this would have been remedied (not that I have any decision-making power anymore).

3. Gassire's Lute is the only question I can think of that was really out there. I think 99% of the questions were easily gettable, which is much higher than the past two years. I think the answers, though not necessarily the clues, were much easier than in most tournaments.

4. We stuck with our usual formula for distribution, although geography was less represented this year. Because of the classes our best teachers are assigned to, psychology has been more represented than economics and philosophy (I can't figure out the earlier post that said these were emphasized ??), although more students are signing up for econ now thanks to a teacher's retirement. My biggest gripe with distribution was that it was obviously not randomized within rounds. For example, IIRC one of the rounds had all three Japanese questions from the entire tournament... I wrote a program that randomized it last year, but it was a complete pain in the a** and took forever, so I guess I understand why they didn't do it. On the other hand, our strategy for eliminating repeats, which was a problem last year, definitely worked.

5. I think part of the problem with the questions is the teams they were advertising to. We have had many criticisms in the past two years (when the questions were better, IMO) that the questions were too long and hard. I think the weaker teams like the other Howard County schools probably enjoyed this tournament more because the questions were easier to get and had more buzzer races. I'm not saying that's a good thing, but most teams are looking to do well on the TV show, not NAQT questions. However, those types of teams don't have people who post on this board, so you wouldn't hear that opinion. To answer somebody else's question, I think that is part of how we get a very large, though not necessarily strong field (in addition to hosting the tournament on a Sunday). I think for next year's tournament, they will have to decide one way or the other what types of teams they are trying to cater to. I think the questions tried to be middle of the road between pyramidal and TV show style, and some ended up being good questions while others were ordered poorly.

6. There was definitely a huge impact from six seniors graduating. I know that shouldn't be an excuse, but I think that put limitations on what kinds of questions could be written. I'm sure that inexperience also led to an over-reliance on wikipedia (if indeed that is the case). The newer players also chose to change the direction of the tournament from tossup-bonus, despite the mild protests of the departing seniors. They should have definitely advertised this fact if they didn't.

To be honest, I thought the tournament ran more smoothly than I expected considering the circumstances and having no seniors on the team
Last edited by square634 on Tue Dec 04, 2007 11:56 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Post by Gonzagapuma1 » Tue Dec 04, 2007 11:45 pm

square634 wrote:I'm a Centennial graduate who came back to read this year, so I thought I'd offer a few thoughts...
The tournament ran more smoothly from a scheduling standpoint than it has in the past, so props to the current team for doing very well with that.To be honest, I thought the tournament ran more smoothly than I expected considering the circumstances and having no seniors on the team
I completely agree with this. I hope our tournament runs as well as yours did.

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Post by Howard » Wed Dec 05, 2007 1:56 pm

pgandhi wrote:This year, we had a wide range of teams at a variety of levels, so we had make the questions as balanced as possible so everyone had a fair chance at making the playoffs.
Perhaps this is a slight misstatement, or not. Regardless, a tournament needs to do its best to cater to it's entire audience, not just the top or bottom teams.

First, the announcement should state the format of the tournament and it's question style. Second, the tournament should reflect the announcement. I saw a post above indicating this didn't occur, but the announcement here in this thread appears accurate.

So, here's the problem. Use an answer set that is answerable by nearly all teams, but use questions that start with hard enough clues to distinguish between top teams and end with easy enough clues to give lower tier teams a chance to answer. I had far from my best team at this tournament, and was pleased that not only were the answers more accessible this year, but that the final clues were easy enough that less experienced players were able to answer some questions. In previous years, I thought that the answer selection and clue choices caused many questions to go unanswered in many matches. In that regard, I thought this year's set was an improvement. By the same token, it didn't have enough difficult clues to distinguish between top teams. I'll leave the pyramidality discussion to others because I don't think my knowledge is sufficient to draw good conclusions. I don't recall being one of the ones to suggest making the questions shorter, but apparently many teams requested that. I don't see any way to make short questions that are pyramidal and capable of being played well by the complete range of teams that was at this tournament.

Quite often, discussions here lead to a lot of drama. It's only with great reservation that I'm even willing to post my opinions, because I don't want any more drama to erupt. A few tournament organizers can testify that I usually give my opinions via e-mail. Since civil discussion seems almost unattainable here, perhaps others will consider doing the same. While some of the criticisms are quite valid, I think complaining about one tossup that was too difficult is off base. Presuming the goal of a tournament is to challenge all teams present, I don't find it unreasonable that there be as many as one question each round that 10% or fewer rooms answer correctly. This would, indeed, be encouragement for learning for even the best teams.

Edit: correct to proper form of "its." Doh!
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Post by jbarnes112358 » Wed Dec 05, 2007 9:27 pm

Even though we did not attend, I will weigh in on some of the issues discussed. We did attend last year and enjoyed the tournament. The breakfast was impressive as was the trophy. In fact, we were so impressed with the trophy we put it out in the main lobby where all the more significant school trophies are housed.

Concerning the question quality issues: First of all, there seems to be an inordinate fixation on one answer that might have been a little over the top. I have never been to a tournament, whether house-written or vender-written, that did not have multiple examples of poor answer choices.

Also, perhaps delivering criticism in a little more diplomatic manner might result in a little less defensiveness on the part of the recipient of the criticism.

I am certainly sympathetic with the dilemma of writing a tournament that appeals to an audience of varied abilities, while still rewarding the most knowledgeable teams. We are in the process of trying to accomplish this for our upcoming GSAC tournament. I basically agree with "Howard" on the pyramidal theory. Writing good pyramidal questions is not easy. They do not work as well if they are too short or if the clues are in the wrong order. But also, having longer questions filled with more or less worthless information is also bad. It sounds like some of the questions had some of these issues. I don't believe that every team should be able to answer every question, even by the "giveaway" clue, though the better teams probably should get most of them. There needs to be some learning of new information as well. Tournaments should aim to determine the best teams, but they should also offer all teams the opportunity to learn new material.

It sounds like Centennial has some younger writers who are trying to learn how to write good questions. So do we. With training and constructive feedback, hopefully we can produce future generations of excellent question writers that will continue the trend toward more quality in high school academic competition. I would love to see more question-writing seminars held in our area and around the country, for coaches and players alike. Perhaps such training sessions could be offered as part of an extended lunch at a regular season tournament. The weekend of quizbowl might be an excellent venue for such a session as well. Hint. Hint.

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Post by DumbJaques » Wed Dec 05, 2007 9:49 pm

I would love to see more question-writing seminars held in our area and around the country, for coaches and players alike. Perhaps such training sessions could be offered as part of an extended lunch at a regular season tournament. The weekend of quizbowl might be an excellent venue for such a session as well. Hint. Hint.
That's an interesting idea. While I'm somewhat concerned about having enough time for all our events, I look into fitting something like that in - something the reenacts portions of the PACE bootcamp, I would think, would be useful to teams. I'll post in the WoQ thread about it shortly.
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Post by First Chairman » Wed Dec 05, 2007 11:37 pm

It would be a nice idea. In agreement with Chris, I'm concerned about doing too much on a first run. Doing too much means we can't focus or even digest everything that is happening. We'll think about it if we can feasibly find a way to do this. Otherwise, it could be another summer session.
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Post by jbarnes112358 » Wed Dec 05, 2007 11:50 pm

Will Run PACE for Reese's wrote:It would be a nice idea. In agreement with Chris, I'm concerned about doing too much on a first run. Doing too much means we can't focus or even digest everything that is happening. We'll think about it if we can feasibly find a way to do this. Otherwise, it could be another summer session.
Understood. But, such sessions would be valuable whenever and wherever.

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