Illinois Open Discussion

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millionwaves
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Illinois Open Discussion

Post by millionwaves » Sat Nov 22, 2008 9:07 pm

Because the last mirror of IO has run, the set is now cleared for discussion. I've e-mailed it to Chris Carter, who should be putting it up on collegiate.quizbowlpackets.com soon.

Thanks to everyone who played it - it was on the whole a really satisfying experience writing it, and I hope you all enjoyed it. Thanks again to Mike Sorice, who took my crappy science and made it really good, to James Sanner, who wrote and edited all the biology, to Hannah Kirsch, who gave really good feedback about my music questions, and to George Stevens, who gave me advice on all of my history questions and wrote the geography outright. Thanks also to Hannah, Angelo, Jeremy, and Elise for running mirror sites.

I'm seriously interested in hearing your comments about the set - you can post here, send me an e-mail at trygvemeade@gmail.com, or reach me on AIM at Atlantan10. I've already heard some valuable commentary from a number of people, and I hope to receive more. I'm particularly interested to hear what people thought of the complete lack of common link questions.

I'd also like to say that I wasn't happy with the set on the whole. I felt like the biggest problem was uneven bonus difficulty, which shouldn't have been as much of a problem as it normally is in a set almost entirely written by one person. I also thought that the history often suffered from transparency issues, and that the literature often had misplaced clues. I think that the problems with the history were due to not asking for enough help in a subject that I'm less proficient in, while I feel that the problems from the literature resulted from thoughtlessness on my part - they were the first questions that I wrote, and I assumed that they'd be better than the others when I was editing things with limited time. That basically meant that they received almost no editorial attention, so they weren't as high quality as I was hoping that they'd be.

Again, I'm definitely interested in hearing everyone's comments, so please discuss to your satisfaction here.
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Re: Illinois Open Discussion

Post by Cheynem » Sat Nov 22, 2008 9:26 pm

General Comments

-First of all, this was a very fun tournament, and I actually liked the lack of common link stuff. It was well run and enjoyable.

-I kinda agree with the history. As opposed to the other disciplines, it felt like "my first guess" based on time period/nationality generally was correct. Examples: Battle of Agincourt, Savanarola, Georges Clemenceau, Port Arthur, Battle of Manila Bay. They weren't awful, but it was a touch transparent. I felt like I buzzed in a few times with no real knowledge, but more of a "I guess it fits" attitude.

-There were a few history toss-ups that were non pyramidal at all: The Grange TU is a flagrant example, The Homestead Strike TU began with an Alexander Berkman reference that at least in my opinion is one of the most famous things about it, and the Panic of 1837's most difficult part about it was remembering what year it took place in.

-I really enjoyed the Mrs. Dalloway toss-up. I thought it was a touch easy, but I wrote on a paper on it as an undergrad which quoted the part used in the lead-in, so I guess that would be why. Watch on the Rhine was also nice to see come up.

-I agree with the quibbles about bonus difficulty swing, but I didn't think it was super extreme or anything.

-Embarrassing Negs: "The Iceman Cometh" for "Juno and the Paycock" (bars and titular character = fail) and "All Quiet on the Western Front" for "A Farewell to Arms" (proving I really have no idea aside from the rough idea of what the latter is about).
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Re: Illinois Open Discussion

Post by Important Bird Area » Sat Nov 22, 2008 10:02 pm

Overall, this tournament was very good, if a bit over the head of the field we had at Berkeley.

The one major criticism I had was fluctuating bonus difficulty, so Trygve just took the words right out of my mouth. I felt the middle parts of the bonuses were very variable in difficulty, sometimes just extra third parts and sometimes leading to a free twenty points.

The Grange stuck out as the one obviously bad tossup in the 10 rounds we heard at Berkeley. (I thought there was about one tossup a round or so that was noticeably harder than the rest- and while that's less than ideal, it's not necessarily bad quizbowl.) This one by contrast generated the dreaded leadin buzzer race. I think it's very difficult to write a pyramidal tossup on the Grange- there are several well-known stock clues (Munn v. Illinois, "raise less corn and more hell," Oliver Hudson Kelley) and then a bunch of stuff that's either magically obscure or non-uniquely-identifying. I'd love to see an example of a good tossup on the Grange that didn't contain a difficulty cliff.

I don't see what's wrong with the Agincourt tossup- indeed, I think this is the best tossup on Agincourt I've seen in a long time. It's obvious from the beginning that the answer is a medieval battle involving the French, but that's still a fairly wide answer space at this level.
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Re: Illinois Open Discussion

Post by naturalistic phallacy » Sat Nov 22, 2008 10:15 pm

I would like to thank Tryg, Mike, et al. for writing an enjoyable set to play on. The Illinois site was also quite efficiently run and ended at a most reasonable time.

My one major issue with the set overall aside from the swing in bonus difficulty was the presence of vague clues in the middle of some of the tossups, especially within the music tossups.

For instance, the line right before FTP in the Faure's Requiem tossup reads
The Kyrie movement of this piece is the only movement that utilizes Greek, while the rest use original Latin.
While it is true that the Kyrie is in Greek and the rest of the Requiem is in Latin, this is the case within many requiems primarily in Latin, including Mozart's, since the Kyrie is traditionally sung/chanted in Greek within traditional Latin Mass settings. This clue, then does little more than reinforce that the tossup is pointing towards a Mass setting.

The second clue that comes to mind is from the Jupiter Symphony tossup and also comes immediately prior to FTP.
Comprised of an allegro, an andante, a menuetto, and a Molto Allegro
While the particular arrangement of the tempos is most likely unique, none of the tempos are unique or particularly rememberable. Also, other symphonies also have fourth movements of Molto Allegro, including Beethoven's 2nd. Finally, most classically arranged symphonies have four movements, so barring memorizing tempos for symphonic movements, little knowledge is rewarded by the inclusion of this clue.

Still, this did not greatly detract from the enjoyment of the set, which was far better than last year's iteration of IO. Well done.
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Re: Illinois Open Discussion

Post by Cheynem » Sat Nov 22, 2008 10:26 pm

Yeah, the Agincourt toss-up actually was pretty good--I just conflated it with the others because it was something that I buzzed in with no real concrete knowledge. In retrospect, I guess it was just more of a lucky hunch than a bad toss-up. In this regard, NOT having a lot of knowledge about the medieval French paid off.
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Re: Illinois Open Discussion

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Sat Nov 22, 2008 11:42 pm

This was a good set that could have been made a great one if the very issues that Trygve pointed out had been resolved--namely, bonus variation and a few lit questions that I can remember. (I think that including Prufrock is fantastic; that said, it was a buzzer race on the first clue since I think the "should have been a pair of ragged claws" line has been used as a lead in high school, too. I'm not describing the situation well, since that line's inclusion in IS-whatever shouldn't ban it from quizbowl, obviously. Rather, I feel like quoting something that an actual person could buzz on from Prufrock is like describing a component of Arnolfini Wedding--almost every buzzable line is becoming stock. I don't know how better you could have resolved it, and I'm sure this tossup played differently in rooms that didn't contain me and Magin, but there were obviously other good teams playing this tournament.

I have no idea how well known the Hard Times clue I buzzed on is, but I'm pretty sure the classroom scene with the definition of the horse happens in the first five or six pages. If everyone says yeah, never heard of that, then that's cool--I just support early clues, at tournaments of this caliber, coming later on in the book.

That said--I know I loved the literature in this set; I've never been so happy to hear things coming up that I've read or at least read extensively about (I've also never noticed the subdistribution of literature I like coming up so much!). So aside from what I perceived were a couple of miscues--bravo on that.

I also enjoyed the physics and bio both more than I've ordinarily enjoyed either of those sciences in any given set, though I guess I didn't love the tossup on ethene. I was less a fan of a couple of chemistry tossups, but the issues were minor and they shouldn't blemish an otherwise quality set.

In conclusion--you wrote a fucking tournament, and for having written a fucking tournament, bravo!

(Also--George Stevens, you wrote geography I did not dislike. You, sir, are a paragon.)
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Re: Illinois Open Discussion

Post by cdcarter » Sun Nov 23, 2008 2:19 am

millionwaves wrote:Because the last mirror of IO has run, the set is now cleared for discussion. I've e-mailed it to Chris Carter, who should be putting it up on collegiate.quizbowlpackets.com soon.
http://collegiate.quizbowlpackets.com/a ... io2008.zip
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Re: Illinois Open Discussion

Post by No Rules Westbrook » Sun Nov 23, 2008 1:20 pm

Given the fact that this was largely a solo effort on the part of someone who had not edited a tournament before, this event was really good.

I think Trygve himself identified what problems there were in the set - every once in a while, there was a bonus that was basically a free 30 points, or at least a free 20 points, and then there were a few bonuses which felt like you needed a lot of knowledge to squeeze more than 10 out of them (I think science especially tended to skew harder than the rest, but then science is certainly not my strongest field on the whole). There were also a handful of clues which which were misplaced, and allowed early buzzer races among fairly knowledgeable teams, but that's only to be expected - it certainly didn't grossly affect any matches.

Actually, if there's one thing I'd especially like to compliment this tournament on - I felt that there were very few questions which could be called transparent - and usually I'm the first one to complain about transparency and "guess-ability" in questions. Maybe it's a function of the rejection of common links in the set (since common-link tossups are often poorly executed - not because they're intrinsically bad) - but I can't remember too many times where I felt frustrated by transparency - or where I felt tempted to make a haphazard guess at the answer, thinking it could only be one thing. Sure, there were exceptions like Schmalkaldic League (don't feel bad, I'm pretty sure you can't write a good tossup on that) - but those were the exceptions to the rule. That's a pretty big accomplishment, especially given that the answer space at this event was generally quite accessible.
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Re: Illinois Open Discussion

Post by cornfused » Sun Nov 23, 2008 1:50 pm

everyday847 wrote:I have no idea how well known the Hard Times clue I buzzed on is, but I'm pretty sure the classroom scene with the definition of the horse happens in the first five or six pages. If everyone says yeah, never heard of that, then that's cool--I just support early clues, at tournaments of this caliber, coming later on in the book.
If it's the "Quadruped. Gramnivorous..." thing, than that's in Chapter 1, yeah.
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Re: Illinois Open Discussion

Post by cornfused » Sun Nov 23, 2008 1:51 pm

11:51 AM: Now reading set. Am very angry that someone wrote a "Rain, Steam, and Speed" tossup at a tournament I didn't play.
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Re: Illinois Open Discussion

Post by cornfused » Sun Nov 23, 2008 1:53 pm

Sweet, a Nessun Dorma tossup. One thing, though - I'm not sure that leading with the B4-A4 thing is the best idea, as that's (vin-CE-RO) the most famous part of the piece, isn't it?
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Re: Illinois Open Discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Sun Nov 23, 2008 2:22 pm

I thought this was a pretty fair set overall, but I do think it had some issues. First, this set ended up being a lot easier than I thought it would be; I was envisioning something like an updated IO 2003 (one of my favorite tournaments) but it ended up being much more of a "regular difficulty" event. That's fine if that's what IO is going to be, and my disappointment here is entirely a function of my own misplaced expectations. Second, I think many of the questions in this set had transparency problems, most of which were, in my view, a consequence of the decreased difficulty of the tournament. There were lots of questions which, once the difficulty of the set was taken into account, quickly reduced to a very small set of possible answers. I don't have the set in front of me right now, but I'll be happy to post some examples of this later. This was particularly a problem in the first 5 or so rounds, where I thought a good portion of the questions suffered from this. The second half of the tournament was much better in this regard, although it too had a couple such questions. This seemed to be mostly a problem with the literature and history questions, in my view; most of the science seemed pretty good from what I could tell.

On the positive side, this tournament had many interesting tossups and the bonuses were very well written for the most part (although here and there I encountered bonuses that would not have been out of place at HSNCT. I personally think that the difficulty of IO should be increased a little next year (although I'm sure this is an unpopular opinion that won't find many sympathizers not named Ryan Westbrook) but in any case, eliminating the transparency issues would have moved this tournament from the "pretty good" column to "really good" column in my view. Overall, it was enjoyable and I thank Trygve, Mike, and the rest of the writing team for their hard work on this set.
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Re: Illinois Open Discussion

Post by Strongside » Sun Nov 23, 2008 3:27 pm

I thought this was a great question set. I especially thought the tossup answer selection was excellent. I also really liked the geography in this set.

As people have previously mentioned there were a few transparent/clunker tossups, and uneven bonus difficulty, but pretty much all tournaments have issues with that, and it did not take away from my enjoyment of the set. Thanks to Trygve and everyone else that worked on producing such a great set.
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Re: Illinois Open Discussion

Post by ericblair » Sun Nov 23, 2008 6:32 pm

The answer should be Plotinus, I think, on Tossup 21 of Round 1. Perhaps someone already caught it but didn't change it before uploading it.
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Re: Illinois Open Discussion

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Mon Nov 24, 2008 8:27 pm

While it is true that the Kyrie is in Greek and the rest of the Requiem is in Latin, this is the case within many requiems primarily in Latin, including Mozart's, since the Kyrie is traditionally sung/chanted in Greek within traditional Latin Mass settings. This clue, then does little more than reinforce that the tossup is pointing towards a Mass setting.
Allow me to expand on this - the Greek Kyrie text is actually found in every single Catholic Mass, albeit Requiem, Ordinary, or some feast date. Consequently, every proper mass setting has the text of the Kyrie set. Also, more specifically for Faure's requiem, there isn't any Kyrie movement. Faure's Requiem has a combined Introit and Kyrie first movement, which sets the text of the Introit and then immediately sets the Kyrie without any real break or change in melodic material. Thus, this clue is not even correct for the Faure Requiem.
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