2010 NAQT HSNCT

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Re: 2010 NAQT HSNCT

Post by btressler » Fri Jun 04, 2010 10:40 am

Kyle wrote:If I remember correctly, in 2005, when the field had 96 teams, there was a card system for the first five rounds, then swiss pairs by two rounds (i.e. after round 5, your opponents were set for rounds 6 and 7), then reseeding for round 10.
Rounds 6 and 7 were indeed created using the first five.
Round 8 was created after the round 6 scoresheets came in.
Round 9 was created after the round 7 scoresheets came in.
Round 10 was created after the round 9 scoresheets came in, necessitating a 20-30 minute wait.

This was also back in the days when every team played every round.

I think having playoff pools would be good, but I'm not sure how feasible it would be in a field this size.

There's always some craziness on Sunday. I believe one year Gross Pointe North was the 1 seed and went bye, loss, win, loss, or something like that.
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Re: 2010 NAQT HSNCT

Post by The King's Flight to the Scots » Fri Jun 04, 2010 11:29 am

marnold wrote:
Cernel Joson wrote: You're kind of missing the point. We're not arguing over some nebulous concept like whether Adair "earned their placement" or whatever--it's pretty obvious that Adair had a great day and played better than anyone could have expected. That doesn't mean, however, that Adair should end up ahead of teams with a more difficult path than theirs. Like, Torrey Pines and GDS are undeniably tougher teams to beat than LASA B, and in this case, Charter really got screwed over by the card system, whatever "advantage" people may claim they had.
To quote Sorice: laffeaux. "It's not that we're saying they didn't earn their placement, but man it sure does suck they placed ahead of teams that actually deserved it!" First, comparing Charter's game with GDS to any of Adair's games is obviously wrong: Adair's game against an easier team than GDS in round 18 was because they were playing a team in the loser's bracket and Charter was playing a team in the winner's bracket. That LASA B is worse than Torrey Pines is true, but, like, someone was going to be playing one team and someone was going to be playing the other. The card system is a marvel and works quite well, and is obviously a necessity for a tournament on the scale of HSNCT. If you want to play a national championship tournament run on a small enough scale that all teams can play round robin playoff brackets, I have some good news: you will be in mere hours. If you don't understand the advantages of having a national championship format that can accommodate more than 64 teams at the expense of this massive injustice (of one place) inflicted on Charter, I'm not sure what to tell you.
Come on, you're smarter than this. I'm not saying Adair did or didn't deserve their ranking over Charter; I'm saying it's irrelevant, since either way, they had an easier time of it, which should never happen at HSNCT. Maybe if they'd faced the same opponents, Adair would have come out ahead anyway: we don't know, but as it is, it wasn't a fair contest. The whole point of a NATIONAL tournament is to produce a fair, accurate ranking for the top teams, and since the card system failed to do that, it did not "work quite well." Adding on countless teams by sticking on byes and making the card system more complicated seems to be worsening this problem. This isn't the only example of a weird system producing unfair results, either: I'd rather avoid calling out additional teams, but look at the stats and you'll see what I mean. You conclude by basically pointing out my main point in this thread, which is that the NSC's system is fairer than HSNCT's...I agree?

Anyway, I don't have any irrational hatred for NAQT, nor do I think top teams shouldn't attend their national. I would have attended if I weren't graduating, and as it was, I wrote a few questions for it. We do need to recognize, however, that this card system is prone to generating unfair results. Whether the additional teams make it worth the sacrifice, I can't say, but if there's a way to reform it, we should find one.
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Re: 2010 NAQT HSNCT

Post by Connie Prater » Fri Jun 04, 2010 11:45 am

An interesting stat I came across--
Stevenson accomplished something I had, until now, thought impossible. 40 PPB in one round :P
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Re: 2010 NAQT HSNCT

Post by Down and out in Quintana Roo » Fri Jun 04, 2010 12:08 pm

Cernel Joson wrote:
marnold wrote:
Cernel Joson wrote: You're kind of missing the point. We're not arguing over some nebulous concept like whether Adair "earned their placement" or whatever--it's pretty obvious that Adair had a great day and played better than anyone could have expected. That doesn't mean, however, that Adair should end up ahead of teams with a more difficult path than theirs. Like, Torrey Pines and GDS are undeniably tougher teams to beat than LASA B, and in this case, Charter really got screwed over by the card system, whatever "advantage" people may claim they had.
To quote Sorice: laffeaux. "It's not that we're saying they didn't earn their placement, but man it sure does suck they placed ahead of teams that actually deserved it!" First, comparing Charter's game with GDS to any of Adair's games is obviously wrong: Adair's game against an easier team than GDS in round 18 was because they were playing a team in the loser's bracket and Charter was playing a team in the winner's bracket. That LASA B is worse than Torrey Pines is true, but, like, someone was going to be playing one team and someone was going to be playing the other. The card system is a marvel and works quite well, and is obviously a necessity for a tournament on the scale of HSNCT. If you want to play a national championship tournament run on a small enough scale that all teams can play round robin playoff brackets, I have some good news: you will be in mere hours. If you don't understand the advantages of having a national championship format that can accommodate more than 64 teams at the expense of this massive injustice (of one place) inflicted on Charter, I'm not sure what to tell you.
Come on, you're smarter than this. I'm not saying Adair did or didn't deserve their ranking over Charter; I'm saying it's irrelevant, since either way, they had an easier time of it, which should never happen at HSNCT. Maybe if they'd faced the same opponents, Adair would have come out ahead anyway: we don't know, but as it is, it wasn't a fair contest. The whole point of a NATIONAL tournament is to produce a fair, accurate ranking for the top teams, and since the card system failed to do that, it did not "work quite well." Adding on countless teams by sticking on byes and making the card system more complicated seems to be worsening this problem. This isn't the only example of a weird system producing unfair results, either: I'd rather avoid calling out additional teams, but look at the stats and you'll see what I mean. You conclude by basically pointing out my main point in this thread, which is that the NSC's system is fairer than HSNCT's...I agree?

Anyway, I don't have any irrational hatred for NAQT, nor do I think top teams shouldn't attend their national. I would have attended if I weren't graduating, and as it was, I wrote a few questions for it. We do need to recognize, however, that this card system is prone to generating unfair results. Whether the additional teams make it worth the sacrifice, I can't say, but if there's a way to reform it, we should find one.
Is the rationalization for why NAQT doesn't seed teams or have a round-robin system simply just "it would be really hard"? I'm sure it's hard for PACE to do it with 64 teams, but i bet with enough information, NAQT could do it too. Every team has played on NAQT questions from that year, and they have the stats, it would be arduous but it wouldn't be impossible. I could imagine something like 10 team brackets working out okay. I'm certainly no schedule expert, it just seems a shame that PACE's bracketing is far more fair than this random structure of teams facing others with similar records but nothing else in common. You shouldn't have a team going 4-6 with over 15ppb on Nationals questions (this did happen) while another team goes 6-4 with not even 9ppb (this also did happen). That's ridiculous.
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Re: 2010 NAQT HSNCT

Post by jonah » Fri Jun 04, 2010 12:38 pm

I'm not entirely sure how it works, but it does appear that NAQT seeds teams going into the prelims. Also, they don't have stats from every tournament that people qualify at — at least some tournaments on NAQT questions, e.g. the IHSSBCA Kickoffs in Illinois, don't keep stats beyond record.
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Re: 2010 NAQT HSNCT

Post by Down and out in Quintana Roo » Fri Jun 04, 2010 12:47 pm

jonah wrote:I'm not entirely sure how it works, but it does appear that NAQT seeds teams going into the prelims. Also, they don't have stats from every tournament that people qualify at — at least some tournaments on NAQT questions, e.g. the IHSSBCA Kickoffs in Illinois, don't keep stats beyond record.
Then the rule should be that the tournament at which you qualify needs to keep full statistics... or you better qualify at a better tournament. Stats are really not that difficult to keep, and NAQT would have a more fair Nationals if they required their tournament hosts to keep them... which they actually do say that they do right on their website:
NAQT 'Official Event' page wrote:Statistics. Hosts must submit full statistics for the competing teams and players when reporting the results.
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Re: 2010 NAQT HSNCT

Post by Ondes Martenot » Fri Jun 04, 2010 12:49 pm

To the best of my knowledge, NAQT does very slight "seeding" of the sort that powerhouse matchups wont occur in round 1, i.e. there was a zero percent in this hsnct that maggie walker would be facing state college in round 1.
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Re: 2010 NAQT HSNCT

Post by pblessman » Fri Jun 04, 2010 12:51 pm

Cernel Joson wrote: ... it wasn't a fair contest.
Cernel Joson wrote:...the NSC's system is fairer than HSNCT's

Cernel Joson wrote:...this card system is prone to generating unfair results.
My question here is: What is fair? The teams you (or some other standard or statistic) expect to place higher finish higher? Because however way you cut it, Adair County EARNED their spot. They had to win five elimination games in a row, and they accumulated an impressive PP20TUH and PPB during that stretch to accomplish this. Charter had TWO BYES and an extra loss to give, yet they did not advance to the same stage of the competition. Do I believe Adair County would have beaten Charter head-to-head on Sunday? I might going out on a limb, but the way they were playing that day (and Charter having a bit of a down day, probably...) I wouldn't be surprised if they had.

The problem is of course that there is no way we can actually have everybody play everybody. Having more games would be helpful, I agree, but in the end this system is fair as far as it would have allowed Charter to get to the same rank as Adair County by only asking them to go 2-1 on Sunday, whereas Adair had to go 5-0.

A final point I want to raise is that it's a bit sad that we are not more willing to celebrate the Cinderella story here... Everybody loves the mid-major team making it to the NCAA Final Four, but Adair County advancing by winning five straight elimination matches in which they were underdogs is seen as "unfair."
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Re: 2010 NAQT HSNCThttp://hsquizbowl.org/forums/posting.php?mode

Post by marnold » Fri Jun 04, 2010 1:01 pm

Cernel Joson wrote:Come on, you're smarter than this. I'm not saying Adair did or didn't deserve their ranking over Charter; I'm saying it's irrelevant, since either way, they had an easier time of it, which should never happen at HSNCT. Maybe if they'd faced the same opponents, Adair would have come out ahead anyway: we don't know, but as it is, it wasn't a fair contest. The whole point of a NATIONAL tournament is to produce a fair, accurate ranking for the top teams, and since the card system failed to do that, it did not "work quite well." Adding on countless teams by sticking on byes and making the card system more complicated seems to be worsening this problem. This isn't the only example of a weird system producing unfair results, either: I'd rather avoid calling out additional teams, but look at the stats and you'll see what I mean. You conclude by basically pointing out my main point in this thread, which is that the NSC's system is fairer than HSNCT's...I agree?

Anyway, I don't have any irrational hatred for NAQT, nor do I think top teams shouldn't attend their national. I would have attended if I weren't graduating, and as it was, I wrote a few questions for it. We do need to recognize, however, that this card system is prone to generating unfair results. Whether the additional teams make it worth the sacrifice, I can't say, but if there's a way to reform it, we should find one.
I still think you're wrong on the claim that Charter got screwed: Charter had the benefit of two byes (something none of the other 11th place teams had) and had I think the fourth-lowest PP20TUH of the teams in the loser's bracket then (so it seems you really should be saddened that Stevenson, statistically the best 11th place team, had to play DCC instead of the weaker LASA B). But that aside, I meant what I said in my last sentence: I'm really not sure what to tell you if you think this one-place shuffling in the standings 6 places from the top (that even the players involved don't care about) isn't acceptable given the many, many benefits of having a really large national championship. It strikes me as just completely obvious, but I guess you disagree - I suppose that's an argument for another thread.

What I do think is worth mentioning here: I really wish people stopped thinking that "less than maximally fair" is the same as "unfair." It's the mindset of a really large group of people on this forum that many of the properties of good quizbowl are rigidly binary: anything short of good quizbowl's current standards (of question quality, of tournament format, etc.) must be consigned to the flames. That leads well-intentioned advocates of good quizbowl to all sorts of bizarre crusades against organizations and individuals that are really allies. If it's feasible to reseed the cards after round 18 or 19 whatever, that's great - it's an easy way to correct for the slight imprecision in rankings. If NAQT even finds a way to make bracketed round robin playoffs work, that would also be cool, and undeniably better than the status quo. But for god's sake, keep some perspective: the card system produced one bad matchup (Adair v. LASA B) that led to one team being ranked ahead of a few others they were statistically worse than, a switch that didn't change whether the top class of truly contending teams really made it as far as they should.
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Re: 2010 NAQT HSNCT

Post by jonah » Fri Jun 04, 2010 1:12 pm

Carangoides ciliarius wrote:
jonah wrote:they actually do say that they do right on their website:
NAQT 'Official Event' page wrote:Statistics. Hosts must submit full statistics for the competing teams and players when reporting the results.
NAQT distinguishes between "events on NAQT questions" and "Official NAQT Events". Both can qualify teams (as can conferences and such), but only the latter require full stats. Whether this is a good policy is a question probably best left to a new thread, but you're wrong that it's extant policy to require full stats.
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Re: 2010 NAQT HSNCT

Post by vcuEvan » Fri Jun 04, 2010 1:31 pm

While the point about the system being effective on a macro level is valid, I don't think that or any perceived insults to Adair should preclude discussion of ways to make the system better. Also, while I agree that head to head results should be the primary consideration in a team's placement in a tournament, I very much disagree that head to head is the best reflection of how good a team is. Stats and a team's performance over the whole year represent performance over thousands of tossup/bonus cycles instead of 20. No one is saying we should decide tournaments based on this information, but it's valid data to use when discussing whether a system is fair and how it should be calibrated. Waving this off with claims of elitism is ridiculous.
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Re: 2010 NAQT HSNCT

Post by nobthehobbit » Fri Jun 04, 2010 2:20 pm

So this whole discussion of "fair" and "unfair" and "less than maximally fair" et cetera inspired in me an idea of what might be most fair, but it's far too crazy. (The following is not it. It is probably crazy, but not as crazy.)

Quite simply, when you've got 200 teams, trying to seed them into brackets properly just won't work well. Let's say you try to get them into twenty 10-team brackets, so each team gets 9 games. Okay, then to correct for seeding errors/upsets, you let the top two teams advance from each bracket. That leaves 40 teams. So now you have to do brackets again! So depending on how many rooms and staff you've got, you'll probably need 13-15 rounds for the initial brackets. Then you have 40 teams in contention, and so you rebracket into four 10-team brackets. Then what? Another round-robin? Depending on how you rebracket, this could be another 8 games (if you put teams from the same prelim bracket into the same second-round bracket) or 9 (if not). If you want to have consolation games as well, that's another 12-15 rounds (depending on rooms and staff again). Then you might take the top two from each second-round bracket for a final 8-team bracket, which, again depending on rematch policy, could take as many as 7 games (10-12 rounds if you want consolation games). And then there's a final, another 2 rounds. So unless you can roust up 200+ staff and get 100+ rooms (so that you can have every team play every round in a 2-staff room, which you need for a timed format), you're probably looking at needing 45 packets. Even if you only advance teams that do well enough to remain in contention, you still need, going by the above, 30+ packets. (Once you're past the prelims, you've only got 40 teams, and that can be handled easily.) You'd still need as many packets as they're writing now (26, unless I'm mistaken) to handle things if you do have staff to handle 100 games at once. The current format is, I think, an admission that they just don't have enough staff. And this doesn't even consider when those games would be played. (You'd probably be looking at playing all day Saturday and Sunday, at least, even with enough staff and rooms.)

So the current system is a compromise: NAQT could have a smaller field, and do brackets and all that better stuff, but there's something to be said for allowing lots and lots of teams to get experience on Nationals-level questions, and meeting lots and lots of other people who are interested in quizbowl.
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Re: 2010 NAQT HSNCThttp://hsquizbowl.org/forums/posting.php?mode

Post by btressler » Fri Jun 04, 2010 2:32 pm

marnold wrote: Charter had the benefit of two byes
Since I complained when Solon byed twice in 2004, it's only fair that I agree with this statement.

I know why the Sunday card system is constructed the way it is: so NAQT knows exactly how many trophies they need. But it causes lots of later byes when the number of teams in the winners and losers brackets are odd. Could we not come up with some alternate system where all the byes are distributed in round 1, or at least make sure that double byes aren't awarded (on the assumption that teams will hold onto the card they start the day with)?

For the record, reseeding sometime mid-Sunday would help avoid a double bye.

Alex disagreed with me, but I wouldn't have minded if we could have given the bye back and played whomever was holding card 26. I think that the downtime can cause a team to get out of "the zone".
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Re: 2010 NAQT HSNCT

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Fri Jun 04, 2010 2:52 pm

What other State College grad did you play with besides John? But yeah, that was a fun game. Tried to get their answer of "Thus _Spoke_ Zarathustra" thrown out to no avail. I think John had some protest about our answer of _algebraic_ notation on a chess theory question. No swearing, though, because there was a high school teacher there and I still was respectful and everything when I was a sophomore.
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Re: 2010 NAQT HSNCT

Post by cvdwightw » Fri Jun 04, 2010 2:52 pm

Fun fact:

The "Trophy 26" went a total of 192-68 (73.8%) in their prelim games. I went and broke down their games by result of previous game:

Win: 114-61 (65.1%)
Loss: 52-7 (88.1%)

Win, no bye in between: 58-35 (62.4%)
Loss, no bye in between: 28-2 (93.3%!) (the 2 teams that lost 2 consecutive games were Chattahoochee and OPRF)
Bye after win: 56-26 (68.3%)
Bye after loss: 24-5 (82.8%)

EDIT: For all 75 playoff teams:
Win: 240-209 (53.4%)
Loss: 193-33 (85.4%)

Record after no bye: 226-125 (64.4%)
Record after bye: 207-118 (63.7%)

Win, no bye in between: 128-110 (53.8%)
Loss, no bye in between: 98-14 (87.5%)
Bye after win: 112-99 (53.1%)
Bye after loss: 95-19 (83.3%)

Total: 499-251 (66.5%)

I will do some more research to see if this holds for all teams (they have a significantly higher record coming off a loss than coming off a win). I suspect that a large amount of the significance comes from the high number of samples (750 total games), though once we get to all 1920 total games we should have a total record of 960-960 and a record of 864-864 in non-opening matchups (i.e. where a team is coming off a win or a loss). Also these results so far show no significant effect of a bye round on a team's performance, either when viewed in isolation (just as bye-no bye) or when broken down by whether the previous result was a win or a loss.
Last edited by cvdwightw on Fri Jun 04, 2010 8:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 2010 NAQT HSNCT

Post by The King's Flight to the Scots » Fri Jun 04, 2010 3:17 pm

pblessman wrote:
Cernel Joson wrote: ... it wasn't a fair contest.
Cernel Joson wrote:...the NSC's system is fairer than HSNCT's

Cernel Joson wrote:...this card system is prone to generating unfair results.
My question here is: What is fair? The teams you (or some other standard or statistic) expect to place higher finish higher? Because however way you cut it, Adair County EARNED their spot. They had to win five elimination games in a row, and they accumulated an impressive PP20TUH and PPB during that stretch to accomplish this. Charter had TWO BYES and an extra loss to give, yet they did not advance to the same stage of the competition. Do I believe Adair County would have beaten Charter head-to-head on Sunday? I might going out on a limb, but the way they were playing that day (and Charter having a bit of a down day, probably...) I wouldn't be surprised if they had.

The problem is of course that there is no way we can actually have everybody play everybody. Having more games would be helpful, I agree, but in the end this system is fair as far as it would have allowed Charter to get to the same rank as Adair County by only asking them to go 2-1 on Sunday, whereas Adair had to go 5-0.

A final point I want to raise is that it's a bit sad that we are not more willing to celebrate the Cinderella story here... Everybody loves the mid-major team making it to the NCAA Final Four, but Adair County advancing by winning five straight elimination matches in which they were underdogs is seen as "unfair."
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I would consider it a fair system if, as you suggested, Adair County had the chance to play Charter or an equivalent team in order to claim their spot. Although in a fair system, Adair very well might have taken 7th place, I don't see beating the teams that they beat as sufficient reason to put them on level with DCDS. I don't think anyone doesn't love an underdog: note that nobody is questioning the success of BELLARMINE, whom nobody expected to break the top 20. That's because Bellarmine shocked us by beating two great, established teams, which Adair has not shown us that they can do. We should not and do not devalue the success of an underdog, but we should also make sure that the work teams put into this game is appropriately rewarded, which may or may not have occurred in this case.

Marnold,
The Adair situation is hardly the only anomaly to arise from the card system. Eden Prairie, for example, was relegated to 11th place because they failed to beat two 5t teams; DCDS ended up behind GDS, whom they'd beaten twice the day before, only because GDS happened to lose to LASA and Bellarmine after DCDS did. Maybe this doesn't matter to you because, as you've posted repeatedly, you don't really care about high school quizbowl, but this is one of only two tournaments where we can pit the best against the best and see where the cards fall. Again, this isn't a vitriolic attack on NAQT. As other posters have stated, this was the best HSNCT set ever, and they decided the winner of the tournament very fairly. However, if our current system doesn't produce a fair ranking of teams besides 1 and 2, we should fix that if at all possible. I'm no statistics guy, so I personally can't help with this, but I'd like to know if NAQT has considered this problem and if any kind of solution can be found.
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Re: 2010 NAQT HSNCT

Post by jagluski » Fri Jun 04, 2010 4:19 pm

Ondes Martenot wrote:To the best of my knowledge, NAQT does very slight "seeding" of the sort that powerhouse matchups wont occur in round 1, i.e. there was a zero percent in this hsnct that maggie walker would be facing state college in round 1.
I want to let Jeff speak to this because he was the one who did it, but in the meantime, I can confirm that there was seeding done for the round 1 pairings along with preventing the (perceived) top teams from meeting until a few (I forget the exact number, but I think 4 or 5) rounds had elapsed. In addition, the seeding was done based upon statistics from previous tournaments with statistics submitted to NAQT.
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Re: 2010 NAQT HSNCT

Post by pblessman » Fri Jun 04, 2010 4:21 pm

Cernel Joson wrote:...BELLARMINE, whom nobody expected to break the top 20. That's because Bellarmine shocked us by beating two great, established teams, which Adair has not shown us that they can do.
"great, established teams" ? Again... what's the standard here? I'm assuming you have a list in mind that includes DCDS and GDS, obviously, and maybe eight other schools, but by definition this is a somewhat circular logic, as any school defeated by Adair County on this run could not have finished above a tie for 11th. The team defeated by Adair County in there last game was LASA B, obviously another team you feel undeserving of their spot, as this win doesn't "count" in your book like Adair beating another 11th-place team (Charter) would have... but LASA B came within 35 of beating Bellarmine... so maybe LASA B is "legit"? But Bellarmine is rated by you as a team that "nobody expected to break the Top 20"... so they are an "underdog." Even though they averaged 19.2 ppb on the SCT-II set... (St. Anselm's averaged 17.6 ppb on that set, btw...)

Bellarmine was a Top 25 team and was underrated as often happens for West Coast teams and non-Midatlantic teams in general. But... guess what... good quizbowl is played West of the Appalachians... and also sometimes people win games which are statistically unlikely, even if we had round robins or triple elimination, or whatever system might be considered to make sure the teams that are "supposed" to win actually do.

Charter (or any other team) does not deserve a priori any kind of rating at any tournament they participate in. We play the games for a reason, and Adair County (and DCC A) played their best quizbowl when it mattered most, and others (incl. Charter) didn't.
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Re: 2010 NAQT HSNCT

Post by Down and out in Quintana Roo » Fri Jun 04, 2010 4:29 pm

pblessman wrote: (St. Anselm's averaged 17.6 ppb on that set, btw...)
They were missing their best player that day, noted guy you are talking to... Matt Bollinger.
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Re: 2010 NAQT HSNCT

Post by marnold » Fri Jun 04, 2010 5:00 pm

You're right, I don't care about high school quizbowl as much as I care about college quizbowl; I never played in high school and I think involvement with high school quizbowl would ultimately hurt the college club that I am (now "was," I guess) president of. But it's not like I hate high school quizbowl either, perhaps evidenced by the fact I volunteered two days of my time to go read questions at its national championship.

That remark aside, I will reiterate that the main problem I have with your position is your absolute unwillingness to compromise from the mores of the best examples of good quizbowl practiced today, even when there are really, really compelling reasons to do so. The card system allows NAQT to run a tournament of enormous size (allowing for geographic diversity, meaning more exposure to good questions and good teams for teams that otherwise miss out and would have no reason to work on improving at good questions). It also means teams are given the maximum number of games against more-or-less equal competition, something that would certainly not be true in a bracketed system. On Sunday, the double elimination card system seems like a natural consequence of the tournament's scope, as well as allowing the rounds to be over at a reasonable time on Sunday afternoon and ensuring the prioritization of competent moderators (which we've already learned are precious few indeed). Yet, since it fails the quizbowl purity test (because one good-but-not-contending team is ranked ahead of better-but-also-not-contending teams by one place) it's a system that is totally unfair. That's insane! The principle of good quizbowl are not written in stone and stored in a shrine! There just have to be shades of gray that allow for some of good quizbowl's principles to be superseded by sufficiently compelling interests, and I think that making that point is important for all of quizbowl, whether high school or college.
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Re: 2010 NAQT HSNCT

Post by Deviant Insider » Fri Jun 04, 2010 6:01 pm

Let me say a few things here. I designed the card system used Saturday.
hsnctcards2010.xls
HSNCT Cards
(46 KiB) Downloaded 151 times
* I got a lot of help from NAQT. They gave me a number of specifications, and they have a great program that verifies the system for a variety of issues (something I needed many times) and that turns the attached spreadsheet into actual cards.
* My team did not know I designed the system and because of a family obligation I was not there with them. That being said, the system is designed to encourage winning all the time anyways, though in hindsight with knowledge of upsets it may be possible for a team to think that they could have done better by losing a particular match.
* I have not helped with previous HSNCT's, and I had nothing to do with the Sunday card schedule. I don't have any problems with that schedule, but it was a repeat of last year's playoff schedule.
* I had nothing to do with assigning teams to cards. I gave some information about how to keep elite teams and teams from the same state separate for the first several rounds which NAQT used, as evidenced by the fact that the Saturday morning matches had few elite matchups and few intrastate matchups. My idea for seeding the teams from 1-200 was not used, either because of a lack of communication or because NAQT didn't want to do that. I did not find out which teams had which cards until they were posted on the blog.
* Let me give an example by what I mean when I say that the system basically always encourages winning. In our first match, New Trier played Grand Junction. The winner of that match was scheduled to play the winner of a match involving GDS A, and given the skill level of New Trier and Grand Junction, that's a major longshot. As it turned out, New Trier won its first match and then lost its next two to get to 1-2, while Grand Junction recovered from that match to get to 2-1. Here's the thing, though: In its third match, New Trier played the loser of Hopkins vs St Johns first round match, while in its third match, Grand Junction played the winner of Hopkins vs St Johns. By logic, New Trier was given an advantage over Grand Junction because we beat them. In reality, there was an upset or two that led to Grand Junction temporarily having a better record. Also, if we wanted to consider throwing the first match, we would have to consider the chance that we could also lose our second match--given our inconsistency and lack of knowledge of our next opponent, I could not have said with certainty that a first match loss would have lead to a second match win.
Basically, and this is something that Dwight discovered in his last post, what this system does is maximize the number of times that a team coming off a win plays a team coming off a loss. In a tournament with perfect seeding and no upsets, the teams that win their first match are the top 100, and the teams that lose their first match are the bottom 100. The teams that win then lose to get to 1-1 should be ranked 51 to 100, and the teams that lose then win to get to 1-1 should be ranked 101 to 150. Thus, the teams that win first should get to at least 2-1, while the teams that lose first should get to at most 1-2. Due to imperfect seeding and upsets, this happens only approximately. The same type of thing happens in later rounds, though winning records have more incoming teams coming off a win than a loss, so some teams coming off a win play each other, and vice versa for losing records.
Going through the results, I was surprised at how many teams went on streaks. Of course, very top teams go on some winning streaks and very bottom teams go on some losing streaks, but teams near the middle should almost alternate. There are several cases of average teams winning or losing three or four in a row, however, which is not what I would have predicted.
* I thought that my system would lead to fewer cases of 5-5 teams with better stats than 6-4 teams as compared to past HSNCTs. Judging by a quick glance, it did not or perhaps only did so by a small margin.
* Most of the comments above are pretty much on target. One thing to keep in mind is that if you have perfect seeding and no upsets, then any system you use is going to produce great results. Also, if you play 100 rounds, then you will get great results. The test of a system is how well it handles upsets and poor seeding in a timely manner. As I have said before, I think the card system does this better than pools, though that does not mean that any tournament using cards will end up with perfect results. One thing to remember that comparing HSNCT to NSC is apples and oranges for many reasons, including what I sense as better seeding by NSC (which is not saying that NAQT just throws teams together in a horrible fashion but instead saying that PACE does this extremely well), longer matches in the past at NSC (which leads to fewer upsets), and a more academic focus at NSC (ditto).
* Part of the challenge of the HSNCT schedule was preventing teams from traveling between the hotel and convention center without a bye and minimizing the number of double byes. These aspects actually took a lot of my time, though I don't think that detracted from the fairness of the schedule.
* The uneven matches started with 3-0 Bellarmine vs 2-1 LaCrosse Logan and 1-2 Harding vs 0-3 McMinn Central. All other uneven matches can be found in those teams/cards, their opponents, their opponents' opponents, etc. All later matches involving them had a 50/50 shot at being uneven.
* I did a few things to try to lessen repeat matches. Some repeats are inevitable, but if I had somebody with the time/ability to write somewhat sophisticated programs involving spreadsheets working with me, there would have been fewer. I believe that all repeats had at least two matches in between them.

I'll have more to say later.
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Re: 2010 NAQT HSNCT

Post by The King's Flight to the Scots » Fri Jun 04, 2010 7:54 pm

marnold wrote:You're right, I don't care about high school quizbowl as much as I care about college quizbowl; I never played in high school and I think involvement with high school quizbowl would ultimately hurt the college club that I am (now "was," I guess) president of. But it's not like I hate high school quizbowl either, perhaps evidenced by the fact I volunteered two days of my time to go read questions at its national championship.

That remark aside, I will reiterate that the main problem I have with your position is your absolute unwillingness to compromise from the mores of the best examples of good quizbowl practiced today, even when there are really, really compelling reasons to do so. The card system allows NAQT to run a tournament of enormous size (allowing for geographic diversity, meaning more exposure to good questions and good teams for teams that otherwise miss out and would have no reason to work on improving at good questions). It also means teams are given the maximum number of games against more-or-less equal competition, something that would certainly not be true in a bracketed system. On Sunday, the double elimination card system seems like a natural consequence of the tournament's scope, as well as allowing the rounds to be over at a reasonable time on Sunday afternoon and ensuring the prioritization of competent moderators (which we've already learned are precious few indeed). Yet, since it fails the quizbowl purity test (because one good-but-not-contending team is ranked ahead of better-but-also-not-contending teams by one place) it's a system that is totally unfair. That's insane! The principle of good quizbowl are not written in stone and stored in a shrine! There just have to be shades of gray that allow for some of good quizbowl's principles to be superseded by sufficiently compelling interests, and I think that making that point is important for all of quizbowl, whether high school or college.
I'm trying to figure out how you could possibly get that from my post. As I've said, HSNCT was, on the whole, a great event, and the card system does work to a degree. However, it's still not totally fair, and it's not like it's impossible for it to become fairer. I realize that you're using this as a springboard to attack other tendencies which in fact do fit that description, but really, it's not illegitimate at all to seek to improve an already good tournament.
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Re: 2010 NAQT HSNCT

Post by Down and out in Quintana Roo » Fri Jun 04, 2010 8:21 pm

Westwon wrote: Going through the results, I was surprised at how many teams went on streaks. Of course, very top teams go on some winning streaks and very bottom teams go on some losing streaks, but teams near the middle should almost alternate. There are several cases of average teams winning or losing three or four in a row, however, which is not what I would have predicted.
I never really thought about that, but, yeah we were one of those "middle" teams apparently (i thought we were better but i guess not) and we went win loss win loss win loss win loss win win in the prelims, also two of those matches we probably shouldn't have lost which would have changed our whole schedule.
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Re: 2010 NAQT HSNCT

Post by Important Bird Area » Sat Jun 05, 2010 11:25 pm

I haven't read all of this with the attention it deserves because I read 12 rounds of NSC today, but I'll probably post more Monday or Tuesday.

In the meantime: yes, we do seed the teams 1-200 in the interest of fairly sorting the initial matches on Saturday morning.
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Re: 2010 NAQT HSNCT

Post by matt979 » Tue Jun 08, 2010 3:06 pm

Bad Boy Bill wrote: I know why the Sunday card system is constructed the way it is: so NAQT knows exactly how many trophies they need.
That's partly true. Before any Sunday card system existed there would usually be 10-15 minutes between early Sunday playoff rounds, as we paired (I paired) teams once the previous round's scoresheets were in.

At some point I became extremely reluctant to spend the time and stress on this, and nobody else was both able and eager to step in, when a playoff card system would work reasonable well.

I think the real problem is mid-playoff byes, and the specific root cause lays in the field size currently anticipated by the cards: 40 and 48 have been the next round(ish) numbers up from the maximum possible counts of teams 7-3 or better and teams 6-4. Mid-playoff byes are not a prerequisite for knowing how many trophies to order (if the format is settled before the trophies are ordered :-)), nor do they end up expediting the tournament, i.e. they don't actually save any rounds.

(Shorthand for this: A bye in the nth playoff round could just as easily have been 2^n teams.)

I realized shortly before this year's tournament that if we had 32 winner's bracket and 32 loser's bracket teams entering round 17 then from round 17 onward there would be almost no byes: Only the last undefeated team would get a bye, in round 22, when the other six surviving teams (one of whom had just lost the round 21 game between the last undefeated teams) faced each other. (Round 23 would have 1 + 3 teams, and the same cross-bracketed game as always.)

Having a 32 + 32 team round 17 instead of the 20 + 44 we've had in the recent past would change the trophy tiers and the distribution of the top teams' Round 16 byes (perhaps unintuitively, the 6-4 teams' Round 16 byes would stay the same).

Trophies: Instead of {1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, two 5th, four 7th, six 11th, ten 17th} we'd have {1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, three 5th, five 8th, eight 13th, and a decision whether to present trophies to the twelve 21st place teams}.

Byes: A vast majority of the teams at 7-3 or better would get a Round 16 bye. For example, this year only four of those 34 teams would have played round 16 (in real life 28 of those teams played, 6 had a bye). I think I would bitterly complain if I coached one of those four teams, as even though it's just how the math works out, the gut feel would be that those teams got singled out just because their points per tossup heard were slightly worse. (When relatively fewer teams start with a byes, it's as if the bye teams are rewarded rather than the bye teams punished; irrational, but I think that's how it would be perceived.) Meanwhile, if fewer than 32 teams finished 7-3 or better (there was some low single-digit percent chance of that happening in 2010) then the very top team(s) would start with a double-bye. Perhaps that is a feature, not a bug. :-)

Despite the perceived plight of the tiny # of winner's bracket teams who actually would get a Round 16 game, I will strongly advocate the 32 + 32 system (instead of 20 + 44), and consequent trophy tiers (and lack of subsequent byes), in internal planning for 2011. After all, an additional advantage it has is potentially accommodating still larger playoff fields.

(The 32 + 32 system can support up to 64 teams at 7-3 or better, plus up to 2* (64 - w) (mistyped this the first time, sorry) teams at exactly 6-4, where "w" is the number of teams at 7-3 or better.)
Last edited by matt979 on Tue Jun 08, 2010 3:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 2010 NAQT HSNCT

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Tue Jun 08, 2010 3:25 pm

matt979 wrote:(The 32 + 32 system can support up to 64 teams at 7-3 or better, plus up to (64 - 2w) teams at exactly 6-4, where "w" is the number of teams at 7-3 or better.)
I'm confused by this. Do you mean that the 32+32 system can actually support up to 32 teams at 7-3 or better, plus up to (64 - 2w) teams at exactly 6-4? Otherwise I don't see how the above formula checks out for, say, 40 7-3 or better teams (since then there will be negative sixteen teams at 6-4...).
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Re: 2010 NAQT HSNCT

Post by matt979 » Tue Jun 08, 2010 3:31 pm

Crazy Andy Watkins wrote: I'm confused by this. Do you mean that the 32+32 system can actually support up to 32 teams at 7-3 or better, plus up to (64 - 2w) teams at exactly 6-4? Otherwise I don't see how the above formula checks out for, say, 40 7-3 or better teams (since then there will be negative sixteen teams at 6-4...).
In addition to fixing my typo above, I'll elaborate:
If we just had a 64-team double-elimination entering round 16, then round 17 would have 32 + 32 teams. That was great when 64 or fewer teams made the playoffs, of course.

If there were 63 winner's bracket teams entering round 16, then those teams would distribute as 32 + 31 entering round 17. The 32nd loser's bracket slot could be the winner of one Round 16 game between two teams.

If there were 62 winner's bracket teams entering round 16, and if two began with a bye, then those teams would distribute as 32 + 30 entering round 17. The 31st and 32nd loser's bracket slots could be the winners of Round 16 loser's bracket games among four teams.

[etc.]
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Re: 2010 NAQT HSNCT

Post by jonpin » Tue Jun 08, 2010 5:19 pm

matt979 wrote:
Crazy Andy Watkins wrote: I'm confused by this. Do you mean that the 32+32 system can actually support up to 32 teams at 7-3 or better, plus up to (64 - 2w) teams at exactly 6-4? Otherwise I don't see how the above formula checks out for, say, 40 7-3 or better teams (since then there will be negative sixteen teams at 6-4...).
In addition to fixing my typo above, I'll elaborate:
If we just had a 64-team double-elimination entering round 16, then round 17 would have 32 + 32 teams. That was great when 64 or fewer teams made the playoffs, of course.

If there were 63 winner's bracket teams entering round 16, then those teams would distribute as 32 + 31 entering round 17. The 32nd loser's bracket slot could be the winner of one Round 16 game between two teams.

If there were 62 winner's bracket teams entering round 16, and if two began with a bye, then those teams would distribute as 32 + 30 entering round 17. The 31st and 32nd loser's bracket slots could be the winners of Round 16 loser's bracket games among four teams.

[etc.]
If there are fewer than 40 winner's bracket teams, both the 20+44 and 32+32 system accommodate the same number of teams. For instance, with 37 winner's teams, 20+44 produces 17 first-round winner's bracket games, allowing 27 loser's bracket games. 32+32 produces 5 winner's bracket games, allowing 27 loser's bracket games.
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Re: 2010 NAQT HSNCT

Post by Deviant Insider » Tue Jun 08, 2010 11:12 pm

To finish where I left off before regarding Saturday's system...
After each team has played one match, there are 100 1-0 teams and 100 0-1 teams. After two matches, the number of teams is 50 100 50. After three matches, it is 25 75 75 25, the odd numbers making the uneven matches necessary. After four matches, it is 12 1 49 1 74 1 49 1 12, meaning that 12 teams are 4-0, one team is 4-0 or 3-1, 49 teams are 3-1, 1 team is 3-1 or 2-2, etc. Whenever you see an odd number, which is often, it means that the number of uncertain teams will grow in the next round. After 5 matches, the numbers are 6 1 30 2 60 2 60 2 30 1 6, meaning that 6 teams are known to be 5-0, 1 team is 5-0 or 4-1, 30 teams are know to be 4-1, 2 teams are 4-1 or 3-2, etc. After six matches, you can start having uncertain teams play each other. That is, some teams that are 4-2 or 3-3 can play other teams that are 4-2 or 3-3. As you continue, the numbers in the "triangle" work out to:
After 6 matches: 3 1 17 3 43 4 58 4 43 3 17 1 3
After 7 matches: 1 1 9 3 29 5 49 6 49 5 29 3 9 1 1
After 8 matches: 0 1 4 3 18 5 38 7 48 7 38 5 18 3 4 1 0
After 9 matches: 0 1 1 3 10 5 27 7 42 8 42 7 27 5 10 3 1 1 0
After 10 matches: 0 1 0 3 4 5 17 7 34 8 42 8 34 7 17 5 4 3 0 1 0
Notice that after 8 matches, there is no guarantee that teams are undefeated. In the eighth match, the only team known to be 7-0 plays the only team known to be either 7-0 or 6-1. From that match forward, the top team might be undefeated or have one loss, and they play a team guaranteed to have one loss. The guarantee of playing a team within one win of yourself could not last beyond the 10 match, because at that point the top team could be 10-0 or 9-1, and the next team could be 9-1 or 8-2, so a matchup of the top teams could produce 10-0 vs 8-2. One interesting thing to note is that the majority of teams with average records play all of their matches against even teams, while teams at the extremes play a lot of matches where that is uncertain.

This also shows why you don't know how many playoff teams there will be. Looking at the last row, which is where teams are at headed into the playoffs, there are 30 cards that are guaranteed to belong to teams 7-3 or better, 7 cards that belong to teams that could be 7-3 or 6-4 depending on how the uneven matches turn out, 34 cards that definitely belong to 6-4 teams, and 8 cards that belong to teams that could be 6-4 or 5-5. So, the top playoff tier has from 30 to 37 teams, and the bottom playoff tier has from 34 to 49 teams (though I have my doubts that the extremes of this range are actually possible with teams playing each other).

As far as Bruce's points above regarding Sunday play, I for one wouldn't have a problem with changing to 32 + 32, since it makes the byes more equitable--teams get at most one bye except for the last undefeated team in the top bracket. If NAQT announced in advance that the first playoff round would only use as many matches as necessary to get to 32 + 32, then teams wouldn't really have a legitimate complaint. I suppose the worst case scenario is that you have 33 teams finish in the top bracket, so you play one match. So it goes.

As far as Coach Tressler's rebracketing suggestions above, rebracketing at one point Sunday probably is worth considering, though it's difficult to determine what is fair. Interestingly, Adair County and LASA B, one of the teams they beat, got decent seeds by defeating Walter Johnson, which finished 8-2 Saturday, including a win over the team that knocked out Wilmington Charter, Torrey Pines. When you rebracket, teams get stuck with their standing from Saturday even when they get an impressive victory Sunday. Rebracketing at lunchtime Saturday would be a challenge--it would assume that NAQT could accurately compile stats from the first 400 matches of the day within 45 minutes of the last of them ending--and would do little to prevent repeat matches, though it would make the afternoon matchups a little more fair.
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