Chicago Open Discussion

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Chicago Open Discussion

Post by The King's Flight to the Scots » Mon Jul 22, 2013 12:41 pm

Hello,
As far as I'm concerned CO is clear for discussion. I would like to start out with some thanks to the people who completed this set. First and foremost, Matt Jackson freelanced many, many replacement questions, including about half the philosophy. He also provided good advice on difficulty when asked. Without Matt this set would not have been completed.

My coeditors on this set were Sinan Ulusoy, Libo Zeng, Sriram Pendyala, and Dennis Loo for science, plus Kevin Koai for music. All of them got their portions done by Friday, and I'm very grateful that they volunteered their time to edit, particularly when science editors were so scarce.

Thanks are also due to the many people who freelanced me a few questions when I asked them to. In no particular order, these were Lloyd Sy, Max Schindler, Sarah Angelo, Shan Kothari, Tommy Casalaspi, Isaac Hirsch, and Aidan Mehigan.

Finally, thanks to all the teams that played. It seemed like people generally enjoyed it, which I was glad to see.

Some thoughts on the set:
-I think I succeeded in making this a fun. hard set without making it oppressively hard. Granted, the hard material got converted much less than I i had anticipated. If I had to go back I would rewrite more of the extremely hard answers to be more answerable. Still, very few went completely unanswered, and the set was still very playable.

I could have done more work to even out difficulty within and across packets, for sure. Part of this was time: questions I had wanted to replace ended up in the set by necessity. Another part, though, was inherent in a set this hard. I had never heard of Henry Rowe Schoolcraft, but he turned out to be a much more accessible hard part than others. Conversely, teams were getting angry at not knowing middle and third parts when those bonuses reached a hole in their knowledge, which is going to happen a lot at this level. Nevertheless, I do apologize for the not atrocious, but unfortunate number of bonuses that were clear outliers.

I'm happy that teams enjoyed themselves at this tournament. Discuss away.
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Re: Chicago Open Discussion

Post by The King's Flight to the Scots » Mon Jul 22, 2013 12:46 pm

Lest I forget, thanks to everyone who packetized this set: Shan Kothari, Susan Ferrari, Tanay Kothari, Sarah Angelo, Will Butler, and, well, anyone else I cannot remember right now. Also many thanks to Katy Peters for running the event,.
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Re: Chicago Open Discussion

Post by Cheynem » Mon Jul 22, 2013 12:48 pm

You've never heard of Henry Rowe Schoolcraft?!

I enjoyed the set. I liked that powers were stingier than some tournaments. Powers should be a rare accomplishment. More comments later.
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Re: Chicago Open Discussion

Post by The Friar » Mon Jul 22, 2013 2:15 pm

This tournament and the trash event made up a good weekend for emerging from dormancy for. Lots of thanks all around.
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Re: Chicago Open Discussion

Post by Adventure Temple Trail » Mon Jul 22, 2013 2:54 pm

Hey folks, I wrote the following questions in the packets that were played at the tournament; feel free to comment specifically on them if they had issues. Listed in this order because I have no idea what order the packets were actually played in:

Weiner packet: Magic the Gathering bonus
Dartmouth packet: Arrian/Stoicism/Benson Mates, sirocco/Malta/Gulf of Gabes, Dolly/Wilder/"Put On Your Sunday Clothes"
Douglass packet: A Thousand Plateaus
Byrne packet: slaves in phil
England packet: Pahom, Voyage of Life series,
Teevens packet: "Of Miracles"/Plantinga/Alston,
Cheyne packet: Tengrism/40/nazar
Hart packet: horses, necessary truths, arenas
Peterson packet: Arabic phil
Sperber packet: Critique of Practical Reason, distinctive features/voicing/coronal (heavy edit of a submission)
Hang packet: Kaddish, Derrida/Spivak/"the center"
Nediger packet: Gospel of Judas, names of Marduk, Leviathan, e=mc^2/Irigaray/intertextuality
Vinokurov packet: Nussbaum

I also wrote some questions for the two unread finals packets, but I'd rather not say which in the event that an all-quizbowl online reading or similar event gets scheduled. (That's my not-so-subtle hint that I think the finals packets are pretty cool and I hope they get read in some sort of online setting. I'm currently 7 hours ahead of the East Coast, so I'm not the best person to do it at the moment, but...)
Last edited by Adventure Temple Trail on Mon Jul 22, 2013 5:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Chicago Open Discussion

Post by Tees-Exe Line » Mon Jul 22, 2013 5:08 pm

RyuAqua wrote: (That's my not-so-subtle hint that I think the finals packets are pretty cool and I hope they get read in some sort of setting. I'm currently 7 hours ahead of the East Coast, so I'm not the best person to do it at the moment, but...)
Good idea.
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Re: Chicago Open Discussion

Post by Ringil » Mon Jul 22, 2013 5:45 pm

So, I edited the physics and if anyone has any comments about those questions, I'd like to hear them.

I'd also like to apologize for the tossup on contact. I originally wrote that question as a replacement for a repeat and the idea seemed interesting and real, but it seems to have played very poorly in reality. So sorry about this.
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Re: Chicago Open Discussion

Post by Periplus of the Erythraean Sea » Mon Jul 22, 2013 6:05 pm

RyuAqua wrote: Weiner packet: Magic the Gathering bonus
I am deeply disappointed (and ashamed) that I did not hear this bonus.
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Re: Chicago Open Discussion

Post by Cheynem » Mon Jul 22, 2013 6:19 pm

For what it's worth, semi professional Magic the Gathering player Kurtis Droge couldn't get the hard part for that one.
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Re: Chicago Open Discussion

Post by ThisIsMyUsername » Mon Jul 22, 2013 7:13 pm

Before lunch break on Saturday, this was my favorite Chicago Open set of the four that I have played. After lunch, some problems set in that knocked this down a couple of pegs for me, though I still enjoyed it overall, and consider it a good set.

Let's start with what was good. In the few categories at CO at which I am competent (i.e. Literature, Fine Arts, and Philosophy), cluing seemed consistently good. The only badly clued tossup I remember was the clarinet tossup which began with a clue about klezmer, which led to a game of chicken, which Adam Sperber sensibly took advantage of by buzzing immediately and winning. But other than that, I don't recall any lies, any un-parseable, meaningless, or misleading sentences. Cluing and tossup construction seemed very well executed. Achieving this consistency of cluing quality over this many rounds is high achievement.

The problems, then, lie not in the cluing but in the answer-selection. The first problem was the very unclear definition of what a middle part was for this tournament. Some middle parts were canonical middle parts of the kind you'd expect at ACF Nationals, some were the equivalent of hard parts at ACF Nationals, some were harder than hard parts at ACF Nationals, and some were balls hard extra-canonical things that could have been made hard parts at this tournament without anyone blinking an eye. I have to admit that I normally try to regularize my own bonuses in packets I submit to regular-season tournaments, but I do not do this during CO, because I have no idea what difficulty to regularize to. In previous Chicago Open discussion, it was a point of contention whether the tournament's difficulty should be determined top-down by the editor's wishes, and then enforced from above; or whether it should be determined through the circuit's submissions. Though I strenuously advocate the former for all regular-season tournaments, I do like the idea of the latter for CO. However, the only good way to do this is to take the median of the circuit's submissions as the difficulty, and then regularize across packets, and though Matt Bollinger's initial post suggests that some attempt was made to do this, I didn't really feel its effects as a player. I will surmise that this editing was probably done by instinct, and I suggest that a way for future editors to address this problem more successfully is to try to generate a set of articulable criteria, e.g. "a middle part should be someone I'd be willing to tossup at ACF Nationals" or something like that. Obviously, these are not objective criteria, but they are more concrete than letting one's gut say "too easy / too hard", and I think they would help.

The second problem was that most of the tossup answer-lines were actually pretty sane this year, but a couple of packets had a higher number of insane answer-lines and this made them stand out. The two closest matches my team played were on the Nediger/Rosenberg/Menard/Bailey packet and the Sperber/Listerud/Wang/Luo packets; which were our matches against Sorice and Magin respectively. Unfortunately, those were also the matches where the most tossups went dead. In the first of these, the packet contained two canon-busting lit tossups that both went dead: Pierre de Marivaux and William Trevor. Four tossups went dead in our match against Magin, including a lit tossup on Arden of Feversham. First of all, I think the editors of CO need to have a fixed maximum they will enforce on the number of "impossible" tossups that are allowed per round overall, and I think they should enforce a limit of one per major subcategory.

Second, and I'm addressing all you writers now and not just future CO editors, you need to remember what makes a good tossup. The practical definition of a tossupable answer-line is something which many people in the field know about to varying degrees of knowledge, which lend themselves to pyramidality. The reason you can toss up certain things at CO that you can't toss up at ACF Nationals is not because this criterion has been lifted; it is because the field is strong enough that some answer-lines that would fail that test at Nats pass it at CO. Anonymously-written, seldom-read, play Arden of Feversham, that went dead in a room containing Jonathan Magin, Evan Adams, and myself, who are probably three of the five or six strongest lit players at this tournament obviously should never have been tossed up. And frankly, if one were for some reason desperate to write on this (from the writer's standpoint, though God only knows why you would be) or keep this question (from the standpoint of a harried editor without time to write a replacement), this was a doable proposition: make the answer-line Arden, and dedicate the last couple of lines to the Arden Forest from As You Like It to tie it in.

I've already stated why I don't think both Pierre de Marivaux and William Trevor should have been kept in the same packet, but I think the criteriin above explains why William Trevor may not be a great author for a tossup to begin with. This is not because he is too difficult, or because it is as assured that he has not been read by members of the field as it was assured that Arden of Feversham was not. Rather, it is because it is unclear how what a pyramidal tossup on him should look like. I should say now: I don't have very real knowledge of William Trevor, but I was surprised when he went dead in my room, because I'd heard of him and knew titles by him. I had heard of Felicia's Journey and Fools of Fortune, both of which won prizes and were made into films, and the latter of which is in the Penguin Classics series. And that was the extent of what I knew of him But I had never heard of anything mentioned in the tossup. My point is not that the writer of this tossup chose titles/books poorly (it's my fault for not paying attention to what novels have won recent Bookers, I guess), but rather that an author like William Trevor does not lend himself well to pyramidality, because there are no obvious late clues or giveaway for him, and that he probably shouldn't have been tossed up, and that this should have been a common-link on contemporary Irish authors or on authors named William instead. And that also wouldn't have been to difficult an edit to make to this tossup.

This is a long post. But I hope this is taken constructively, and not dismissed as either ranting or nit-picking, because that is not the spirit in which it is intended. This was a good tournament. These flaws were neither rampant nor egregious, though I felt they were present. They are just things I think we all as writers and editors can work on in future.

Also, will the set be posted soon?
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Re: Chicago Open Discussion

Post by ThisIsMyUsername » Mon Jul 22, 2013 7:19 pm

RyuAqua wrote:Hey folks, I wrote the following questions in the packets that were played at the tournament; feel free to comment specifically on them if they had issues. Listed in this order because I have no idea what order the packets were actually played in:

Douglass packet: A Thousand Plateaus
Vinokurov packet: Nussbaum
I was happy to hear (and power) that Nussbaum tossup. She's an important intellectual figure, whom I'm glad to finally see come up.

That tossup on A Thousand Plateaus probably would have been better converted were it on Capitalism and Schizophrenia. It went dead in our room and would have been converted otherwise, and I think Will Nediger said the same thing happened in his room.
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Re: Chicago Open Discussion

Post by ThisIsMyUsername » Mon Jul 22, 2013 7:25 pm

Before I forget, I should also thank the staff at this year's CO. You were wonderfully efficient.
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Re: Chicago Open Discussion

Post by women, fire and dangerous things » Mon Jul 22, 2013 7:56 pm

ThisIsMyUsername wrote:That tossup on A Thousand Plateaus probably would have been better converted were it on Capitalism and Schizophrenia. It went dead in our room and would have been converted otherwise, and I think Will Nediger said the same thing happened in his room.
Yeah, I buzzed in with Capitalism and Schizophrenia and picked the wrong volume when prompted. I suppose it's reasonable in principle to ask for a specific volume, since the two volumes are fairly distinct in their subject matter, but in practice I think this would have played much better with a different answerline.
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Re: Chicago Open Discussion

Post by theMoMA » Mon Jul 22, 2013 8:12 pm

Thanks to the editors and writers for a fun set. I enjoyed it quite a bit.
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Re: Chicago Open Discussion

Post by Muriel Axon » Mon Jul 22, 2013 9:09 pm

I wrote tossups on J. G. Hamann, public goods, Anthony Giddens, redlining, and cultural evolution. If you found any of these tossups unsatisfactory, please let me know.
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Re: Chicago Open Discussion

Post by The King's Flight to the Scots » Mon Jul 22, 2013 9:29 pm

ThisIsMyUsername wrote:Before lunch break on Saturday, this was my favorite Chicago Open set of the four that I have played. After lunch, some problems set in that knocked this down a couple of pegs for me, though I still enjoyed it overall, and consider it a good set.

Let's start with what was good. In the few categories at CO at which I am competent (i.e. Literature, Fine Arts, and Philosophy), cluing seemed consistently good. The only badly clued tossup I remember was the clarinet tossup which began with a clue about klezmer, which led to a game of chicken, which Adam Sperber sensibly took advantage of by buzzing immediately and winning. But other than that, I don't recall any lies, any un-parseable, meaningless, or misleading sentences. Cluing and tossup construction seemed very well executed. Achieving this consistency of cluing quality over this many rounds is high achievement.

The problems, then, lie not in the cluing but in the answer-selection. The first problem was the very unclear definition of what a middle part was for this tournament. Some middle parts were canonical middle parts of the kind you'd expect at ACF Nationals, some were the equivalent of hard parts at ACF Nationals, some were harder than hard parts at ACF Nationals, and some were balls hard extra-canonical things that could have been made hard parts at this tournament without anyone blinking an eye. I have to admit that I normally try to regularize my own bonuses in packets I submit to regular-season tournaments, but I do not do this during CO, because I have no idea what difficulty to regularize to. In previous Chicago Open discussion, it was a point of contention whether the tournament's difficulty should be determined top-down by the editor's wishes, and then enforced from above; or whether it should be determined through the circuit's submissions. Though I strenuously advocate the former for all regular-season tournaments, I do like the idea of the latter for CO. However, the only good way to do this is to take the median of the circuit's submissions as the difficulty, and then regularize across packets, and though Matt Bollinger's initial post suggests that some attempt was made to do this, I didn't really feel its effects as a player. I will surmise that this editing was probably done by instinct, and I suggest that a way for future editors to address this problem more successfully is to try to generate a set of articulable criteria, e.g. "a middle part should be someone I'd be willing to tossup at ACF Nationals" or something like that. Obviously, these are not objective criteria, but they are more concrete than letting one's gut say "too easy / too hard", and I think they would help.

The second problem was that most of the tossup answer-lines were actually pretty sane this year, but a couple of packets had a higher number of insane answer-lines and this made them stand out. The two closest matches my team played were on the Nediger/Rosenberg/Menard/Bailey packet and the Sperber/Listerud/Wang/Luo packets; which were our matches against Sorice and Magin respectively. Unfortunately, those were also the matches where the most tossups went dead. In the first of these, the packet contained two canon-busting lit tossups that both went dead: Pierre de Marivaux and William Trevor. Four tossups went dead in our match against Magin, including a lit tossup on Arden of Feversham. First of all, I think the editors of CO need to have a fixed maximum they will enforce on the number of "impossible" tossups that are allowed per round overall, and I think they should enforce a limit of one per major subcategory.

Second, and I'm addressing all you writers now and not just future CO editors, you need to remember what makes a good tossup. The practical definition of a tossupable answer-line is something which many people in the field know about to varying degrees of knowledge, which lend themselves to pyramidality. The reason you can toss up certain things at CO that you can't toss up at ACF Nationals is not because this criterion has been lifted; it is because the field is strong enough that some answer-lines that would fail that test at Nats pass it at CO. Anonymously-written, seldom-read, play Arden of Feversham, that went dead in a room containing Jonathan Magin, Evan Adams, and myself, who are probably three of the five or six strongest lit players at this tournament obviously should never have been tossed up. And frankly, if one were for some reason desperate to write on this (from the writer's standpoint, though God only knows why you would be) or keep this question (from the standpoint of a harried editor without time to write a replacement), this was a doable proposition: make the answer-line Arden, and dedicate the last couple of lines to the Arden Forest from As You Like It to tie it in.

I've already stated why I don't think both Pierre de Marivaux and William Trevor should have been kept in the same packet, but I think the criterion above explains why William Trevor may not be a great author for a tossup to begin with. This is not because he is too difficult, or because it is as assured that he has not been read by members of the field as it was assured that Arden of Feversham was not. Rather, it is because it is unclear how what a pyramidal tossup on him should look like. I should say now: I don't have very real knowledge of William Trevor, but I was surprised when he went dead in my room, because I'd heard of him and knew titles by him. I had heard of Felicia's Journey and Fools of Fortune, both of which won prizes and were made into films, and the latter of which is in the Penguin Classics series. And that was the extent of what I knew of him But I had never heard of anything mentioned in the tossup. My point is not that the writer of this tossup chose titles/books poorly (it's my fault for not paying attention to what novels have won recent Bookers, I guess), but rather that an author like William Trevor does not lend himself well to pyramidality, because there are no obvious late clues or giveaway for him, and that he probably shouldn't have been tossed up, and that this should have been a common-link on contemporary Irish authors or on authors named William instead. And that also wouldn't have been to difficult an edit to make to this tossup.

Also, will the set be posted soon?
Seems like a largely constructive post that I agree with philosophically. Regarding Pierre de Marivaux and William Trevor: I initially did not intend to let both of those answers in. Philosophically I agreed with you that having 2 extremely hard lit tossups in a single round was too much and wanted to replace Marivaux with something more gettable. As it turned out, I just didn't have time to replace that question*, since my main priority was just to finish the 15/15 I was in charge of over 19 packets while working a job. I think your suggestion to change William Trevor to "William" or "Ireland" (or "old," if I felt whimsical, I suppose) is a good one that I should have gone ahead and done. In any case, I didn't include both of those answers because I thought they were super-important and needed to be asked about, but because I had to prioritize.

One place where I will disagree with you is the idea that something like Arden of Faversham should just never be tossed up at Chicago Open. Completely non-canonical, insane answers are part of Chicago Open's appeal--restricted to small numbers, I think they do a good job of keeping teams honest, have a decent chance of really delighting some specialist, and provide a real novelty that makes the set distinctive. You do, however, have to keep them from taking over the set by restricting them to one per packet--two, maybe, in one packet of the tournament--and including 2 ACF Fall level answers for every extremely hard one. This set had far fewer easy answers and far more hard answers than I would have included in an ideal world.

I'd like to defend myself (and initiate some discussion) on the subject of evenness across packets. I don't think I've played a single Chicago Open where that's been even attempted, and I actually think this one was significantly better on that front than Chicago Open 2010 or 2011--nothing like the Vafthrudnismal packet from 2010 or the Jordan Boyd-Graber packet from 2011 here. If I get a packet that's very solid and generally internally consistent, but clearly a notch harder than the rest of the set--as the Vinokurov and Westbrook packets were this year--I think I can expend my effort in better places than in messing with every single good bonus in that packet to bring it in line with the already-written packets. It has to stay within reason, of course, and I should have made the Westbrook and Vinokurov packets slightly easier and more internally consistent than they were in the end. But, I don't think this is an area where any modern CO editor has really succeeded.

*One thing I did like was that the vagaries of randomization led to several packets announcing their writers right off the bat. Pierre de Marivaux was tossup one in the Will Nediger packet; The Practice of Everyday Life was tossup one in the Ahmad packet; and, of course, the England packet started right off with a question on Blackadder.
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Re: Chicago Open Discussion

Post by The King's Flight to the Scots » Mon Jul 22, 2013 9:33 pm

Also, sorry about the klezmer thing. Jewish music isn't exactly my forte, but I did do a quick check and saw that klezmer bands include several instruments, so I didn't think that would clue anyone in unduly. Matt told me that klezmer was especially "associated with" the clarinet afterwards--just my lack of knowledge that resulted in that issue.

And finally, I'm genuinely surprised that you thought some middle parts were harder than hard parts--which ones are you thinking of?
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Re: Chicago Open Discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Mon Jul 22, 2013 10:14 pm

Hey, I enjoyed this set. Thanks to Matt and his co-editors for the hard work. One nice thing about this set was that the science was generally of pretty high quality, but I had the feeling that about a third of the physics/other tossups were sort of unreasonably demanding in their answer lines. Like, there was a tossup on the "two dimensional Ising model" where just saying "Ising model" early in the question was for some reason insufficient. That's a bizarre level of specificity required, especially on an early buzz. Also there was a tossup on "pulsating white dwarfs" but "variable white dwarfs" was not acceptable. I don't know if that's supposed to be to distinguish pulsating white dwarfs from something else, but that just seemed kind of odd to me. The "contact" tossup we already talked about. And is there something that makes "x-ray topography" distinct from "x-ray crystallography"? In general there seemed to be a preponderance of questions on experimental techniques and fewer questions on theory.

On the whole though, I thought the science was a good deal better than it usually is at CO. The weird questions happened and could be annoying but for the most part the quality of the questions was pretty high.
ThisIsMyUsername wrote:I was happy to hear (and power) that Nussbaum tossup. She's an important intellectual figure, whom I'm glad to finally see come up.
She has come up quite a bit, although maybe not lately.

Oh yeah, speaking of philosophy: as a general question-writing rule, it's probably not a good idea to begin a sentence with the title of a work. In that tossup on Heidegger, the second sentence began with "In 'What Computers Can't Do,'" which of course had me buzzing immediately to say "Hubert Dreyfus." Fortunately for me, there was a half-second of bleedthrough in which the moderator actually said "Hubert Dreyfus," and that allowed me to correct myself and give the right answer; also, I probably should have logicked into the fact that one of Dreyfus' major works wasn't going to come up that early in the question. Still, it's probably not a good idea to start early clues this way.
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Re: Chicago Open Discussion

Post by The King's Flight to the Scots » Mon Jul 22, 2013 10:47 pm

I'll be reading one of the finals packets tonight at 11:30 EST. Come in if you'd like to hear them.
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Re: Chicago Open Discussion

Post by Ringil » Tue Jul 23, 2013 2:13 am

grapesmoker wrote:Hey, I enjoyed this set. Thanks to Matt and his co-editors for the hard work. One nice thing about this set was that the science was generally of pretty high quality, but I had the feeling that about a third of the physics/other tossups were sort of unreasonably demanding in their answer lines. Like, there was a tossup on the "two dimensional Ising model" where just saying "Ising model" early in the question was for some reason insufficient. That's a bizarre level of specificity required, especially on an early buzz.
Every clue in that Ising tossup attempted to point at a unique aspect regarding the 2d version of the Ising model. The original submission specifically wanted to use such an answer line and I felt that this was reasonable. Perhaps I should have put a disclaimer at the beginning I wanted a specific version of a more general model.
The "contact" tossup we already talked about.
Again, sorry about this.
And is there something that makes "x-ray topography" distinct from "x-ray crystallography"?
So, topography is a subset of crystallography, focusing on finding defects in crystals by producing images called topographs (named so because they look like topographic maps). That being said, I did a pretty poor job of distinguishing between the two in the question. Sorry about this.
In general there seemed to be a preponderance of questions on experimental techniques and fewer questions on theory.

On the whole though, I thought the science was a good deal better than it usually is at CO. The weird questions happened and could be annoying but for the most part the quality of the questions was pretty high.
There ended up being more theory questions than experimental questions in the physics subdistro due to what people submitted. It seemed lots of people like writing about solid state physics and statistical mechanics.
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Re: Chicago Open Discussion

Post by ReverseTranscriptase » Tue Jul 23, 2013 9:30 am

Hey - this is Sriram from the Harvard team. I'm a relatively new science player and very new to editing, so I want to ask if anyone has feedback on the chemistry that they heard either at the tournament or the reading of the final rounds online.

Out of the chemistry tossups at the tournament, here's the ones I wrote (I'm not including the questions in the finals on this list, but I did obviously write both of those as well):

Diazonium salts
Iridium
Debye-Huckel equation
Mossbauer spectroscopy
Proline
Mitsunobu reaction

And here are the bonuses that I wrote, again not including the finals questions:

Osmium/Pinacol rearrangement/Periodic acid
Azide/Curtius rearrangement/Buchwald-Hartwig amination
Grignard/Weinreb amide/Hiyama coupling
Born-Oppenheimer approximation/Moller-Plesset pertubation theory/Hellmann-Feynman theorem
Crown ether/Cryptand/Calixarene
Clausius-Clayperon equation/Lee-Kesler method/Peng-Robinson EOS

I also wrote:
2nd and 3rd parts of the Catenanes/Cucurbiturils/Fullerenes bonus
3rd part of Titanium/Jones reagent/TPAP bonus
2nd and 3rd parts of the Bartoli indole synthesis/AIBN/Fischer bonus

I'd appreciate some feedback on these questions, as well as any other chemistry that I edited from packet submissions. Also, the finals science questions were some of my favorite, so be sure to take a look at those rounds.

Thanks!

Edit: spelling
Last edited by ReverseTranscriptase on Tue Jul 23, 2013 12:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Chicago Open Discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Tue Jul 23, 2013 10:22 am

Ringil wrote: Every clue in that Ising tossup attempted to point at a unique aspect regarding the 2d version of the Ising model. The original submission specifically wanted to use such an answer line and I felt that this was reasonable. Perhaps I should have put a disclaimer at the beginning I wanted a specific version of a more general model.
Yeah, maybe some kind of disclaimer like that might be useful if you're going for that level of detail. The problem is that from the clues given there's no way to infer what the question wants you to say when you get prompted.
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Re: Chicago Open Discussion

Post by Tale of Mac Datho's Pachycephalosaur » Tue Jul 23, 2013 10:27 am

I really enjoyed a lot of the earth science and physics/astronomy bonuses, admittedly because I did well at them. The ones I can remember off the top of my head:

adaptive optics / ? / point-spread function
? / slow-roll inflation / ekpyrotic cosmology
? / ? / late heavy bombardment (although I think that last part should've been prompted on "era of heavy bombardment")

I have a question about the "feathers" tossup in the myth distribution (I forget which round, though). It seemed like most clues referred to the answerline, but one didn't. There was some business about "these objects being used by the Mayan Hero Twins in the House of Darkness," which to my knowledge refers to fireflies, then the rest of the question went on to describe Freyja's cloak and Ma'at. Am I grossly misremembering this, and if so could someone post the text?

Also, in the Competing "In Good Faith" Packet (Round 15), I wrote the following questions:
Martial
continuity (with what I think was heavy editing)
Herbig-Haro objects
Planck (satellite) / non-Gaussianity / inflation
Taconic orogeny / Iapetus ocean / Charles Doolittle Walcott
Cernunnos / Castor and Pollux (replaced "Pillar of the Boatmen") / snake

Critiques are welcomed.
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Re: Chicago Open Discussion

Post by ThisIsMyUsername » Tue Jul 23, 2013 10:41 am

Vernon Lee Bad Marriage, Jr. wrote:I'll be reading one of the finals packets tonight at 11:30 EST. Come in if you'd like to hear them.
Aw, man. No advanced warning? Did I really miss this?
And finally, I'm genuinely surprised that you thought some middle parts were harder than hard parts--which ones are you thinking of?
I'll get back to you on this once the packets are released. I remember feeling like this was definitely the case for some bonuses in the Westbrook packet, but I don't remember what they were on, off the top of my head.
I'd like to defend myself (and initiate some discussion) on the subject of evenness across packets. I don't think I've played a single Chicago Open where that's been even attempted, and I actually think this one was significantly better on that front than Chicago Open 2010 or 2011--nothing like the Vafthrudnismal packet from 2010 or the Jordan Boyd-Graber packet from 2011 here. If I get a packet that's very solid and generally internally consistent, but clearly a notch harder than the rest of the set--as the Vinokurov and Westbrook packets were this year--I think I can expend my effort in better places than in messing with every single good bonus in that packet to bring it in line with the already-written packets. It has to stay within reason, of course, and I should have made the Westbrook and Vinokurov packets slightly easier and more internally consistent than they were in the end. But, I don't think this is an area where any modern CO editor has really succeeded.
It's entirely possible that this felt worse to me this year as compared to other years mostly because the two packets that were the most problematic ended up being used in two of the three most important matches, whereas the wacky packets in previous years never had ill consequences. Had this not been the case, it's quite possible that I would have noticed this problem less and think this the best of the four CO's that I've played. I'd have to look through the other CO's again to compare.
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Re: Chicago Open Discussion

Post by MLafer » Tue Jul 23, 2013 10:42 am

Tale of Mac Datho's Pachycephalosaur wrote:Taconic orogeny / Iapetus ocean / Charles Doolittle Walcott
So what was the easy part of this supposed to be? This was in the top 5 most difficult bonuses in the entire set
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Re: Chicago Open Discussion

Post by The King's Flight to the Scots » Tue Jul 23, 2013 10:59 am

ThisIsMyUsername wrote:
Vernon Lee Bad Marriage, Jr. wrote:I'll be reading one of the finals packets tonight at 11:30 EST. Come in if you'd like to hear them.
Aw, man. No advanced warning? Did I really miss this?
It's cool, I saved the much more exciting Finals 2 for this Wednesday at 11 PM.
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Re: Chicago Open Discussion

Post by Tale of Mac Datho's Pachycephalosaur » Tue Jul 23, 2013 11:19 am

MLafer wrote:
Tale of Mac Datho's Pachycephalosaur wrote:Taconic orogeny / Iapetus ocean / Charles Doolittle Walcott
So what was the easy part of this supposed to be? This was in the top 5 most difficult bonuses in the entire set
The easy part was intended to be Iapetus Ocean, the medium Taconic orogeny, and hard Walcott.

I apologize to you and anyone else who found this bonus extraordinarily difficult--when writing it I thought it was 20-able to teams with "other science" experts (although I admit to a sometimes-skewed view of difficulty within "other science," earth science and astronomy especially.)

Knowing what I know now, I probably would have replaced the Walcott part with something like
The Iapetus ocean was originally suggested by Charles Doolittle Walcott. Walcott also quarried early invertebrate fossils in this rock formation in British Columbia.
Answer: Burgess Shale
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Re: Chicago Open Discussion

Post by Edmund » Tue Jul 23, 2013 11:53 am

Thanks again to the staffing team for a smoothly run tournament and to Matt and his co-editors for an enjoyable set.

In particular I would praise the science which seemed to be suitable hard but accessible and of real significance. I'd be interested to hear the kibitz on the "contact" tossup (which seems to have taken place off the forum) as this is a topic I deal with professionally. It certainly is an interesting and real thing in theoretical mechanics.
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Re: Chicago Open Discussion

Post by gyre and gimble » Tue Jul 23, 2013 1:14 pm

This was, if not my favorite, at least the best all-around of the three CO's I've played so thanks to the editors for putting together a fun set. I'd have liked the mythology to center more on the core myth canons, like Greek/Norse/British, though this is obviously my personal bias and if there's a place to explore some of the less-asked areas of myth, CO is the place to do it. I also thought the visual fine arts tossups skewed heavily towards the modern (Romanticism onward), which was great by me but probably not ideal.

I'll have to look at the posted set for specific criticisms, but I thought the Hans Memling tossup dropped the Ursula reliquary way too early. (I think it was the second clue?)

I really liked the tossups on Aristaeus (especially that clue about him asking Zeus to save Ceos), Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux, Croatia, Swamplandia!, Zurich, and my favorite in the whole tournament, the responses to "The Passionate Shepherd to his Love." So thanks to whoever wrote these!
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Re: Chicago Open Discussion

Post by The King's Flight to the Scots » Tue Jul 23, 2013 1:30 pm

There were 8 pre 1800, 9 post 1800 tossups in the painting. Part of it is that I consciously tried to restrict the amount of stuff I like (also a reason for the relative dearth of ancient history and Greek myth).
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Re: Chicago Open Discussion

Post by The King's Flight to the Scots » Tue Jul 23, 2013 1:30 pm

I heavily edited Zurich and wrote Aristaeus, Carpeaux, Croats, and Passionate Shepherd. Glad you liked them!
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Re: Chicago Open Discussion

Post by Cheynem » Tue Jul 23, 2013 1:32 pm

The best decision.
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Re: Chicago Open Discussion

Post by Periplus of the Erythraean Sea » Tue Jul 23, 2013 1:44 pm

Vernon Lee Bad Marriage, Jr. wrote:(also a reason for the relative dearth of ancient history).
This made me sad. On the other hand, I liked the little ancient history that was there (particularly the question on the non-Spanish Philip V), as well as the tossup on Croatia and the higher amounts of "non-core" myth in this tournament. I left this tournament with a lot of notes on cool things and people I've never heard of, far more than any other tournament I've ever played - it was an awesome learning experience and I look forward to playing again next year, if I can.
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Re: Chicago Open Discussion

Post by Auroni » Tue Jul 23, 2013 2:05 pm

I didn't enjoy the dearth of classical myth, but the rest of the tournament more than made up for it. This tournament had the perfect balance of easy/medium/difficult/balls hard tossup answers, and the bonuses were fair for the most part. I also second Stephen's appreciation for the replies to the Passionate Shepherd tossup and wonder why it took quizbowl so long to toss that up (instead of make it a bonus theme.) Thanks for writing!
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Re: Chicago Open Discussion

Post by The King's Flight to the Scots » Tue Jul 23, 2013 2:11 pm

Kenneth Widmerpool wrote:I didn't enjoy the dearth of classical myth, but the rest of the tournament more than made up for it. This tournament had the perfect balance of easy/medium/difficult/balls hard tossup answers, and the bonuses were fair for the most part. I also second Stephen's appreciation for the replies to the Passionate Shepherd tossup and wonder why it took quizbowl so long to toss that up (instead of make it a bonus theme.) Thanks for writing!
Much as I appreciate the compliment, I don't think I hit quite the perfect balance there. My ideal set would have a few less impossible and a few more easy answerlines. But, I think what easy answerlines there were were well executed and hope that trend continues.
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Re: Chicago Open Discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Tue Jul 23, 2013 2:18 pm

Kenneth Widmerpool wrote:I didn't enjoy the dearth of classical myth, but the rest of the tournament more than made up for it. This tournament had the perfect balance of easy/medium/difficult/balls hard tossup answers, and the bonuses were fair for the most part. I also second Stephen's appreciation for the replies to the Passionate Shepherd tossup and wonder why it took quizbowl so long to toss that up (instead of make it a bonus theme.) Thanks for writing!
Like Martha Nussbaum, this has also come up multiple times in the past. All that is old is new again.
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Re: Chicago Open Discussion

Post by Windows ME » Tue Jul 23, 2013 2:20 pm

So I did all of the biology (and nothing else) - only my second time editing science so would be more than happy to know how I did.

Comments on my end:
- An overwhelming amount of medicine was submitted to this tournament. I kept the most interesting and well-written things and had to replace a lot of the others to achieve a good balance across different subdisciplines.
- I was being intentionally conservative with my answer choices - I tried my best to stick to topics that could be written in a way that would actually differentiate knowledge. I also tended to err on the easy side if I wasn't sure.
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Re: Chicago Open Discussion

Post by The King's Flight to the Scots » Tue Jul 23, 2013 3:07 pm

Long as we're doing this, here are the questions I wrote from scratch, minus those from the finals:

Literature: Nathaniel Hawthorne, Nightwood, "The Gambler, the Nun and the Radio," Ligeia, Anna Christie, Alice Walker, deep image poetry bonus, Responses to the Passionate Shepherd, Dorothea Brooke bonus, Essay on Man, Antonio Machado, Svidrigailov, Gunter Grass, dwarfism in literature, Istanbul, Nuruddin Farah, Islamic odes bonus, "French" in World Lit, graveyard from Hamlet, Octavia Butler bonus

History: Elizabeth Bentley bonus, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Cochise, James Baker, William Seward bonus, Dutch Schultz, Oklahoma, Washington D.C., Gary Hart bonus, Duke of Buckingham, Dutch Revolt, Pro Caelio, Farnese Family, birth control, Russian Jews bonus, Menzies, Aquitaine, Winnipeg General Strike, Thucydides bonus, Leopold I, Philip V of Macedon, Uluburun Shipwreck bonus, Croats, Tlatelolco Massacre, King Harsha bonus, May 4th Movement, Ayub Khan, independence of Venezuela, kente cloth bonus, Motilal Nehru bonus, Omar al-Bashir, "black" common link

RMP: Trees in the Bible, mandalas, the Zhuangzi, mezuzot, Mormon customs bonus, Sikhism, Ravens in myth, Baldr, feathers, Lakshmana, Aristaeus, Helgi Hundingsbane bonus, Sir Yvain bonus, names in philosophy, functionalism in philosophy of mind, Fable of the Troglodytes bonus, Self-Reliance, liberty

Fine Arts: Hannah Hoch bonus, Portinari Altarpiece, Metropolis the triptych, Swiss painters, Mystic Nativity bonus, Diego Rivera, Death and the Maiden bonus, Family of Saltimbanques, Ennio Morricone, Art Nouveau bonus, jazz clarinet, Moshe Safdie, Mark Morris, Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux, architecture of Prague

Social Science and other: Social Learning theory, Pierre Bourdieu, poverty bonus, Poland in sociology, constructivism in IR, current events of North Carolina
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Re: Chicago Open Discussion

Post by gyre and gimble » Tue Jul 23, 2013 3:54 pm

Vernon Lee Bad Marriage, Jr. wrote:Sir Yvain bonus
Damn, I'm sorry to have missed this one. What did the question look like?
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Re: Chicago Open Discussion

Post by theMoMA » Tue Jul 23, 2013 4:52 pm

Perhaps the only thematic problem I had with this CO was the appearance of several tossups that ended with an unrelated giveaway. I'd much rather see these tossups stick to focusing on the "balls hard" answer subjects, or, if that's not reasonable, to descend more gently to the easier clues (perhaps by refashioning the answer line slightly and adding an extra clue or two about the easier subject before the FTP). Having eight lines on something that no one in the room knows, followed by a giveaway on a subject that shares the same name, is essentially the equivalent of having a speedcheck on that easier topic. That's unfortunate for two reasons: it's not just a speedcheck; it's an easy speedcheck.

That said, I thought this was a very creative, interesting, well-thought-out tournament that gave us all a challenging but entirely fair test. Thanks again to the editors and packet writers for their hard work.
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Re: Chicago Open Discussion

Post by The King's Flight to the Scots » Tue Jul 23, 2013 4:59 pm

theMoMA wrote:Perhaps the only thematic problem I had with this CO was the appearance of several tossups that ended with an unrelated giveaway. I'd much rather see these tossups stick to focusing on the "balls hard" answer subjects, or, if that's not reasonable, to descend more gently to the easier clues (perhaps by refashioning the answer line slightly and adding an extra clue or two about the easier subject before the FTP). Having eight lines on something that no one in the room knows, followed by a giveaway on a subject that shares the same name, is essentially the equivalent of having a speedcheck on that easier topic. That's unfortunate for two reasons: it's not just a speedcheck; it's an easy speedcheck.

That said, I thought this was a very creative, interesting, well-thought-out tournament that gave us all a challenging but entirely fair test. Thanks again to the editors and packet writers for their hard work.
Auroni mentioned this in reference to the Metropolis tossup: in retrospect I agree that a smoother descent was in order on that question.
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Re: Chicago Open Discussion

Post by gyre and gimble » Tue Jul 23, 2013 5:46 pm

Vernon Lee Bad Marriage, Jr. wrote:
theMoMA wrote:Perhaps the only thematic problem I had with this CO was the appearance of several tossups that ended with an unrelated giveaway. I'd much rather see these tossups stick to focusing on the "balls hard" answer subjects, or, if that's not reasonable, to descend more gently to the easier clues (perhaps by refashioning the answer line slightly and adding an extra clue or two about the easier subject before the FTP). Having eight lines on something that no one in the room knows, followed by a giveaway on a subject that shares the same name, is essentially the equivalent of having a speedcheck on that easier topic. That's unfortunate for two reasons: it's not just a speedcheck; it's an easy speedcheck.

That said, I thought this was a very creative, interesting, well-thought-out tournament that gave us all a challenging but entirely fair test. Thanks again to the editors and packet writers for their hard work.
Auroni mentioned this in reference to the Metropolis tossup: in retrospect I agree that a smoother descent was in order on that question.
Was that question a common link tossup? If not, I suspect that question was rather anti-pyramidal, as it mentioned pink ostrich feathers and a lamed soldier (or the drunk one, whichever was mentioned first) really early. Those are two of the most distinct and memorable things in the painting, the soldier because it contrasts sharply with the other two flamboyant panels. I guess this is fine if the question moved on later to describe the Grosz Metropolis or the film, but I felt like I didn't deserve 15 points for knowing the basic symbolic premise of the Dix triptych.
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Re: Chicago Open Discussion

Post by The King's Flight to the Scots » Tue Jul 23, 2013 5:53 pm

gyre and gimble wrote:
Vernon Lee Bad Marriage, Jr. wrote:
theMoMA wrote:Perhaps the only thematic problem I had with this CO was the appearance of several tossups that ended with an unrelated giveaway. I'd much rather see these tossups stick to focusing on the "balls hard" answer subjects, or, if that's not reasonable, to descend more gently to the easier clues (perhaps by refashioning the answer line slightly and adding an extra clue or two about the easier subject before the FTP). Having eight lines on something that no one in the room knows, followed by a giveaway on a subject that shares the same name, is essentially the equivalent of having a speedcheck on that easier topic. That's unfortunate for two reasons: it's not just a speedcheck; it's an easy speedcheck.

That said, I thought this was a very creative, interesting, well-thought-out tournament that gave us all a challenging but entirely fair test. Thanks again to the editors and packet writers for their hard work.
Auroni mentioned this in reference to the Metropolis tossup: in retrospect I agree that a smoother descent was in order on that question.
Was that question a common link tossup? If not, I suspect that question was rather anti-pyramidal, as it mentioned pink ostrich feathers and a lamed soldier (or the drunk one, whichever was mentioned first) really early. Those are two of the most distinct and memorable things in the painting, the soldier because it contrasts sharply with the other two flamboyant panels. I guess this is fine if the question moved on later to describe the Grosz Metropolis or the film, but I felt like I didn't deserve 15 points for knowing the basic symbolic premise of the Dix triptych.

I think that in this case and with your issues with the Memling tossup, you're kind of overestimating how many people have the painting knowledge that you have. I don't think the early clues were insufficiently hard at all; however, there should have been more clues about the Lang film to ease the bottom half of the pyramid down.
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Re: Chicago Open Discussion

Post by gyre and gimble » Tue Jul 23, 2013 7:45 pm

Vernon Lee Bad Marriage, Jr. wrote:I think that in this case and with your issues with the Memling tossup, you're kind of overestimating how many people have the painting knowledge that you have. I don't think the early clues were insufficiently hard at all; however, there should have been more clues about the Lang film to ease the bottom half of the pyramid down.
Sorry, I didn't mean for it to sound like the question wasn't hard as a whole, because it's a hard answerline; I just meant that the description of the left wing of the triptych should have come later in the tossup because the two soldiers are what makes gives the painting most of its meaning and is thus perhaps its most important part. As an analogy, I'd offer a comparison to a second-line clue about the complete darkness of the streets outside the cafe in a tossup on Nighthawks, or a second-line clue about the rainbow in The Jewish Cemetery in a tossup on that painting. To sort of put things into context, I've only seen Metropolis once or twice on the internet and I didn't even know who the artist was after I got that tossup; Marshall said something about it being by Grosz so I spent the rest of the tournament thinking CO had a 1/1 Grosz distribution because of that bonus question on The Funeral. So yeah, I don't know much about Metropolis and have never read any criticism on it, but the one thing I remembered about it was my thought along the lines of, "Oh, so the artist is trying to say something about these partygoers and how they are oblivious to the sufferings of these war veterans." I don't know, I'm probably just being really nitpicky but I think future questions on Metropolis should avoid mentioning the soldiers in the first few clues.

Regarding Memling, though, there was either a two or three way buzzer race on the Ursula clue in our room. (I'm not sure if Aaron and Magin were buzzing there, but Will Nediger beat me to it and Magin seemed to think the clue was misplaced as well.) I wouldn't be surprised if quite a few other people also buzzed in at that point in other rooms.
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Re: Chicago Open Discussion

Post by at your pleasure » Tue Jul 23, 2013 9:04 pm

gyre and gimble wrote:
Vernon Lee Bad Marriage, Jr. wrote:
theMoMA wrote:Perhaps the only thematic problem I had with this CO was the appearance of several tossups that ended with an unrelated giveaway. I'd much rather see these tossups stick to focusing on the "balls hard" answer subjects, or, if that's not reasonable, to descend more gently to the easier clues (perhaps by refashioning the answer line slightly and adding an extra clue or two about the easier subject before the FTP). Having eight lines on something that no one in the room knows, followed by a giveaway on a subject that shares the same name, is essentially the equivalent of having a speedcheck on that easier topic. That's unfortunate for two reasons: it's not just a speedcheck; it's an easy speedcheck.

That said, I thought this was a very creative, interesting, well-thought-out tournament that gave us all a challenging but entirely fair test. Thanks again to the editors and packet writers for their hard work.
Auroni mentioned this in reference to the Metropolis tossup: in retrospect I agree that a smoother descent was in order on that question.
Was that question a common link tossup? If not, I suspect that question was rather anti-pyramidal, as it mentioned pink ostrich feathers and a lamed soldier (or the drunk one, whichever was mentioned first) really early. Those are two of the most distinct and memorable things in the painting, the soldier because it contrasts sharply with the other two flamboyant panels. I guess this is fine if the question moved on later to describe the Grosz Metropolis or the film, but I felt like I didn't deserve 15 points for knowing the basic symbolic premise of the Dix triptych.
You encountered a fairly important painting of some importance(and hardly the best known work of the artist who did it; I'd wager that the etching series Der Krieg is better known but I'm a horrible judge of difficulty) and clearly have spent enough time and energy looking carefully at the painting to notice what matters in it, how it works, how Dix's polemic is argued visually, and make some effort to characterize the painting. That is certainly deserving of being well-rewarded at CO, especially since that is studying the art in any meaningful sense of the term.
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Re: Chicago Open Discussion

Post by The King's Flight to the Scots » Tue Jul 23, 2013 9:55 pm

Maybe the Ursula shrine should have been after another line about his last judgment then. Ah well, can't win them all.
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Re: Chicago Open Discussion

Post by The King's Flight to the Scots » Wed Jul 24, 2013 8:43 pm

Remember to come in at 11 tonight. If we get enough people I would like to split into teams.
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Re: Chicago Open Discussion

Post by Windows ME » Thu Jul 25, 2013 1:25 am

Did Finals2 in IRC today - two separate rooms.

Pastie is frustrating, so I made a google doc if you want to see the transcript:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1GcE ... sp=sharing
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Re: Chicago Open Discussion

Post by Cheynem » Thu Jul 25, 2013 11:24 am

The bonus part on the Dakota War should have alternate answers for conflicts involving the Sioux, as multiple Internet searches also call it things like the "Sioux Revolt."
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Re: Chicago Open Discussion

Post by The King's Flight to the Scots » Thu Jul 25, 2013 5:52 pm

A log of Magin's team's game against Seth's team on the second Finals packet can be found here.
Matt Bollinger
UVA '14, UVA '15
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