Terrapin Discussion

Old college threads.
Locked
User avatar
No Rules Westbrook
Auron
Posts: 1232
Joined: Mon Nov 22, 2004 1:04 pm

Terrapin Discussion

Post by No Rules Westbrook »

I'd like to echo Leo's sentiments over in the announcements section on Terrapin, and perhaps formally start a discussion of the tournament. Hopefully, this can act as an instructive complement to Andrew's (I would guess quite justified) comments on WIT.

All in all, this was an excellent medium-level ACF tournament primarily thanks to a very competent editing job by Ezequiel. As Leo notes, it's not hard to see the direction a tournament can go if you don't have this type of editing. All one need do is glance at a couple of packets in the tournament which were not so edited - though, let me say in these packets defense, they weren't positively horrible or unplayable. Even so, the constrast is certainly sharp enough to see what editing means to a tournament.

Question difficulty seemed pretty up and down, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Within themselves, the packets were reasonably consistent, and that's all you can ask for. No easy-30 bonuses followed up by 5-10-15 on Ukrainian literature.

As for the running of the tournament, there was really little to complain about. Everything was run on time, even when rounds were switched up. There was some confusion about the playoff scenario that seemed to linger, but it clearly didn't matter much in the end.

I suppose that exhausts my general comments. I'll just say that independent academic tournaments of high quality, to the extent that they are becoming an endangered species, deserve to be pointed out as beacons.
User avatar
Matt Weiner
Sin
Posts: 8429
Joined: Fri Apr 11, 2003 8:34 pm
Location: Richmond, VA

Re: Terrapin Discussion

Post by Matt Weiner »

Ryan Westbrook wrote:All one need do is glance at a couple of packets in the tournament which were not so edited - though, let me say in these packets defense, they weren't positively horrible or unplayable.
I would call the Swat packet that, but not the Masters packet. The latter had some annoying question formats that need to die (a tossup on a species of animal, a 7000-part name the elements bonus) but the tossups were clue-dense and pyramidal and the bonuses were of comparable difficulty to the rest of the tournament. Much appreciation to both the writers and Ezequiel for the work that went into all the other packets.

I will also echo the praise for the staff; all the moderators were fine, and it's still nice to see a tournament go to the effort of getting a scorekeeper in each room, even in an untimed event where this is not stricly necessary. I also want to strenuously acclaim the use of the round robin and (eventually) the standard ACF playoff format. This tournament showed that there is absolutely no reason not to let everyone play the full range of opponents; all the regular games were done by 6:30 and everyone got to play at least 11 times. While this should be a no-brainer for any tournament of up to 15 or so teams, there are apparently some other places using brackets, D1/D2 splits, and dumb playoff formats like single elimination. The drawbacks of that far outweigh the benefits, and I'd like everyone to look to Terrapin for an example of how to run a more simple, more fair, and more bang-for-the-buck format in the same amount of time.

If all the events on this year's Mid-Atlantic calendar turn out like Terrapin, I will be very happy indeed.
Matt Weiner
Founder of hsquizbowl.org
ramlrasul
Lulu
Posts: 14
Joined: Sun Oct 23, 2005 2:03 pm
Location: University of Maryland

Post by ramlrasul »

As the tournament directors we would of course like to thank Zeke for his editing job as well. However, he was not the only editor and we feel that Dan Greenstein also deserves a great deal of recognition, as he was our main editor and he put a lot of very long hours working on the tournament as well as assisting us with our questions as first time TDs.
salamanca
Lulu
Posts: 65
Joined: Tue May 17, 2005 1:00 pm

Giving folks their due

Post by salamanca »

Yeah, while I am thankful that folks are singling out my work on the set, Dan G. did stay up quite a few nights himself and I just wanted to thank him personally for making the editing experience this week a lot of fun. Much of the credit for the quality of the questions must be shared with him.

In fact, the whole Maryland program should feel great about this tourney. Take a bow up there in College Park and make sure to support independent tournaments (especially Michigan MLK (I'm plugging you all)) all year.

Peace out,

Ezequiel
User avatar
grapesmoker
Sin
Posts: 6368
Joined: Sat Oct 25, 2003 5:23 pm
Location: NYC
Contact:

Re: Giving folks their due

Post by grapesmoker »

salamanca wrote:especially Michigan MLK
Speaking of which, has there been an announcement about MLK? I know it's a little early, but some idea of the exact schedule/packet requirements would be nice especially for those not in the Midwest (like me) who would like to go.

edit: 'cause of cheap airfare and travel concerns.
Last edited by grapesmoker on Wed Oct 26, 2005 1:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Jerry Vinokurov
ex-LJHS, ex-Berkeley, ex-Brown, sorta-ex-CMU
code ape, loud voice, general nuissance
Rothlover
Yuna
Posts: 816
Joined: Wed Feb 25, 2004 8:41 pm

Post by Rothlover »

Having played at Bonspiel (though we only got to see 12 of the packets[only 10 official matches were played]), I'd like to echo the praise for the writers and editors. The good q's outnumbered the bad (i.e. the Monet tu) by a wide margin, which is all one can ask for ultimately. So thanks to the editors for the set.
Dan Passner Brandeis '06 JTS/Columbia '11-'12 Ben Gurion University of the Negev/Columbia '12?
User avatar
setht
Auron
Posts: 1193
Joined: Mon Oct 18, 2004 2:41 pm
Location: Columbus, Ohio

Post by setht »

Dan Passner's post reminded me that I don't remember hearing any questions produced from Beaver Bonspiel teams (at least, I didn't hear any such teams announced as packet authors). Similarly, a couple weeks ago at WIT, there was only the one packet from the Harvard mirror. So, what's up with that? Why aren't teams out there writing?

A quick look at recent announcements shows recent or upcoming mirrors of Technophobia and Heinrich Boll in the northeast (or mideast, or whatever). I'm assuming teams out there didn't write anything for Heinrich Boll, as I'm under the impression Heinrich Boll was written entirely in-house. Are teams from the Rutgers-Newark mirror planning on writing anything for Technophobia?

In conclusion, Terrapin was a lot of fun, I don't remember being bothered by the Monet question, and teams should support packet submission tournaments and their mirrors by attending and submitting packets.

-Seth
User avatar
grapesmoker
Sin
Posts: 6368
Joined: Sat Oct 25, 2003 5:23 pm
Location: NYC
Contact:

Post by grapesmoker »

setht wrote:Dan Passner's post reminded me that I don't remember hearing any questions produced from Beaver Bonspiel teams (at least, I didn't hear any such teams announced as packet authors). Similarly, a couple weeks ago at WIT, there was only the one packet from the Harvard mirror. So, what's up with that? Why aren't teams out there writing?

A quick look at recent announcements shows recent or upcoming mirrors of Technophobia and Heinrich Boll in the northeast (or mideast, or whatever). I'm assuming teams out there didn't write anything for Heinrich Boll, as I'm under the impression Heinrich Boll was written entirely in-house. Are teams from the Rutgers-Newark mirror planning on writing anything for Technophobia?
Yeah, I've noticed this problem in recent years, that mirror sites frequently submit few or no packets to the "parent" tournament. This is not nice, but perhaps this is an oversight on the part of the organizers of the original event. I strongly recommend that organizers demand at least 3 packets from a mirror site. There's no reason a mirror that's going to get any decent number of teams shouldn't be able to come up with those packets.
Jerry Vinokurov
ex-LJHS, ex-Berkeley, ex-Brown, sorta-ex-CMU
code ape, loud voice, general nuissance
User avatar
Birdofredum Sawin
Rikku
Posts: 400
Joined: Tue Nov 09, 2004 11:25 pm
Location: Mountain View

Post by Birdofredum Sawin »

I agree with all the comments about how well-run the Terrapin was. However, I want to cavil about the questions. For the most part, they were really good. The two exceptional packets, though, were really lousy. One was nothing but buzzer races on the opening clues, while the other was rife with awful questions (e.g. "name the six emirates of the UAE that are not Abu Dhabi for five points each") that should never have made it through editing. So the "mirror" produced zero packets, and the two packets that were not edited by Ezequiel were terrible. Obviously, the questions at a tournament are going to be good if one of the finest writers/editors in the game happens to be around to edit and rewrite most of the packets. But the evidence suggests that the questions would have been horrible if he hadn't stepped in, which means that the success of Terrapin does little to allay my fears about the decline of independent tournaments.

Andrew
ramlrasul
Lulu
Posts: 14
Joined: Sun Oct 23, 2005 2:03 pm
Location: University of Maryland

Post by ramlrasul »

Although I agree that mirror sites probably don’t often enough send packets from their teams to the parent tournament I don’t think it’s fair to include Bonspiel in this. Bonspiel wasn’t originally intended to be a mirror of Terrapin, there was just going to be a packet swap. Unfortunately Bonspiel had a lot of unforeseen drop outs, late registrations, and packet exemptions for novice teams, so they weren’t getting a whole lot of packets and were only able to send us one near enough to the time of the tournament to be used (but it ended up not being used due to the arrangement we later worked out). They offered to pay us for a mirror so that they would be able to run their tournament without having to write a lot of packets themselves in short order.
User avatar
ValenciaQBowl
Auron
Posts: 2496
Joined: Thu Feb 05, 2004 2:25 pm
Location: Orlando, Florida

Post by ValenciaQBowl »

I sent an e-mail on Monday to the folks listed as TDs for the recent TIT asking to purchase or trade for the packets but haven't heard from them. Since those packets are getting (for the most part) so much love here, I'd like to get 'em: if the TDs see this or if anyone else could nudge them for me, I can be contacted at cborglum at valenciacc.edu . Thanks.
User avatar
Irreligion in Bangladesh
Auron
Posts: 2108
Joined: Thu Jul 08, 2004 1:18 am
Location: Winnebago, IL

Re: Terrapin Discussion

Post by Irreligion in Bangladesh »

Matt Weiner wrote:I also want to strenuously acclaim the use of the round robin and (eventually) the standard ACF playoff format.
I'm looking into different playoff formats for Winnebago's HS tourney later this year, because too many tourneys in the area take only 8 to the playoffs. I'm not familiar with ACF playoff formatting, and can't find an explanation elsewhere, so could someone fill me in? Thanks!
User avatar
Dan Greenstein
Auron
Posts: 1034
Joined: Sun Apr 20, 2003 8:26 pm
Location: Takoma Park, MD

Post by Dan Greenstein »

The standard ACF playoff format follows. The format assumes a single round robin, which is realistic (in college) for any number of teams equal to or less than 15. In these examples, the described teams are those at the top of the standings after the round robin.

If Team A has a two-game lead on Team B, Team A wins the tournament.

If Team A has a one-game lead on Team B, the teams play a best-of-three series with Team A having a one-game lead. Thus, Team A need only win once while Team B must win both games.

If Team A and Team B are tied, the teams play a one-game final.

If Teams A, B and C are tied, the teams are seeded based on statistics--usually points but sometimes head-to-head if the teams are not all 1-1 against each other. The 3 seed plays the 2 seed in the first game. The winner of that game plays the 1 seed for the championship.

If Teams A, B, C and D are tied, the teams are seeded based on statistics--usually head-to-head, then points. The teams then play a single elimination tournament over two rounds, with the first round being 1 v. 4 and 2 v. 3.

If Team A has a one-game lead on Teams B and C, the structure depends on the number of packets available. With two packets, statistics (head-to-head or points) are used to choose Team A's opponent in a best-of-three series as described above. With three packets, Team B and Team C play for the chance to face Team A in a best-of-three series as described above.

Note: High school tournaments almost never use these formats.
User avatar
Irreligion in Bangladesh
Auron
Posts: 2108
Joined: Thu Jul 08, 2004 1:18 am
Location: Winnebago, IL

Post by Irreligion in Bangladesh »

Ahh, thank you! I thought it was what we played at the UIUC Earlybird, but wasn't sure, and didn't know the intracacies of the format. Thanks!
User avatar
Matt Weiner
Sin
Posts: 8429
Joined: Fri Apr 11, 2003 8:34 pm
Location: Richmond, VA

Post by Matt Weiner »

Once you know exactly how many teams will be in your field and how many packets you will have available, you can post a thread in the Theory section asking for suggestions on playoff formats.
Matt Weiner
Founder of hsquizbowl.org
Locked