ACF Nationals Comments

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ACF Nationals Comments

Post by Birdofredum Sawin » Tue Apr 20, 2010 3:37 pm

I can't help but notice that nobody has said anything about the tournament yet. Perhaps all the discussion has been in the IRC, or some other venue I don't frequent. Anyway, I wanted to make a few remarks about it to get some sort of public discussion rolling.

As I said in my post thanking the editors, I thought this was a fantastic set and a really well-run tournament. I also thought the quality of play was exceptionally high this year. Minnesota in particular was an amazing team -- they beat us decisively at the end of the first day, and obviously gave us all we could handle in the final. I was impressed (and distressed!) by their refusal to wilt after falling behind; that comeback in the last game was one of the most impressive things I've seen in an ACF final, and showed an amount of willpower and coolness under pressure that was really remarkable.

The other top teams were also very strong. Brown and Illinois played extremely well against us; we had to get tossup 20 to squeak away with wins against each of them. We got luckier with the packets against Chicago, Maryland, and Penn, but I thought those were all excellent teams as well. Certainly the top 10 teams at this year's tournament seemed stronger than the top 10 last year, and perhaps was the strongest ever at an ACF nationals.

I'm not sure that I have all that much more to say, except that I want to also thank Brian, Arnav, and Kristiaan for playing with me in what was presumably my final ACF nationals. It was a lot of fun.
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Re: ACF Nationals Comments

Post by grapesmoker » Tue Apr 20, 2010 4:14 pm

Besides the excellence of the questions, for which obviously kudos to Zeke and his merry band, I just want to take a moment to praise the logistical organization of this tournament. I thought it was really superlative and I appreciate Adam's handling of the tournament and the droves of former players who showed up to help. I can only hope that we can draw on a similarly talented staffing crew next year.
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Re: ACF Nationals Comments

Post by Mike Bentley » Tue Apr 20, 2010 4:16 pm

Is the set online yet?
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Re: ACF Nationals Comments

Post by Frater Taciturnus » Tue Apr 20, 2010 5:22 pm

Bentley Like Beckham wrote:Is the set online yet?
Zeke has asked for a few days to clean up and polish the set before I post it.

As to the actual tournament, I thought this was a spectacular opportunity to play my first ACF Nationals. The set was very good, and the logistics were far better than I could have hoped them to be, especially given all of the last minute changes.
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Re: ACF Nationals Comments

Post by Auroni » Tue Apr 20, 2010 5:35 pm

I felt that this was the most possible hard tournament that I have ever played. There were some low-scoring games between the bottom teams, but the answer choices for both the tossups and the bonuses were diverse in such a way that this set had something for everyone, including easier tossup answer choices that were good questions nonetheless, like Self-Portraits of Rembrandt and John Donne, and hard answer choices, such as Effi Briest and Doctorow's The March.

This tournament allowed my team to play the most competitive matches we have ever played before, against the very best teams in the competition. I was particularly amazed by how well of a run Maryland had, beating several teams ranked higher than them in very, very close matches. I also want to say that I'm still not quite over our match against Penn, which went into overtime and ended as we converted two out of the three possible tossups. That has to be the best match that I have ever played, with both teams involved playing at their peak efficiency.

Kudos to Zeke et. al for this amazing tournament set and to Adam Fine et. al. for the organizational genius that made it run so smoothly.
Last edited by Auroni on Tue Apr 20, 2010 5:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: ACF Nationals Comments

Post by millionwaves » Tue Apr 20, 2010 5:39 pm

Ice Warrior wrote:and hard answer choices, such as Effi Briest and Doctorow's The Stand.
That's The March, dude. I believe Stephen King wrote The Stand.

I want to echo the praises that everyone else had for this set; it felt incredibly polished and it was an absolute pleasure to play on.
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Re: ACF Nationals Comments

Post by Cheynem » Tue Apr 20, 2010 5:40 pm

I would also like to say that the decision not to use trash was at least in the abstract a resounding success. There were so many close, competitive matches throughout the weekend that having any one of them "decided" (so to speak, I understand one question doesn't decide a match) by a trash question or bonus would have been tragic. As a player who sometime self-agonizes about whether he is actually any good at non-trash or NAQT questions, it was a real thrill to be able to have buzzes I can justifiably take some pride in. I'd also be interested in seeing some sort of breakdown as to what kinds of questions ended up in the Your Choice distribution.
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Re: ACF Nationals Comments

Post by Auroni » Tue Apr 20, 2010 5:41 pm

millionwaves wrote:
Ice Warrior wrote:and hard answer choices, such as Effi Briest and Doctorow's The Stand.
That's The March, dude. I believe Stephen King wrote The Stand.

I want to echo the praises that everyone else had for this set; it felt incredibly polished and it was an absolute pleasure to play on.
Yeah, I sure did fuck that one up! Maybe this is why we did not win ACF Nats. Fixed.

Also, the lack of trash was absolutely wonderful.
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Re: ACF Nationals Comments

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Tue Apr 20, 2010 5:46 pm

The lack of trash did not result in the omission of a fashion bonus in the Carleton? packet, which I find to be very far from the "academic" standard to which "academic your choice" ought to be held. Not that I didn't enjoy demonstrating my knowledge of Chanel #5 (nor discovering that Chanel refers to a person, too!), but it felt pretty lame.
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Re: ACF Nationals Comments

Post by Sir Thopas » Tue Apr 20, 2010 6:16 pm

I would parrot what those above have to say that this set was a ton of fun to play on, and definitely had a good amount of stuff rewarding people knowing things early on, with good buzz distributions, etc.

The biggest complaint I have is that there seemed to be a dearth of modern art. I'll quantify this when the set gets released, but the only postwar art (not counting architecture) that comes to mind was the Elegy to the Spanish Republic/Motherwell/Twombly bonus.

In general, I think that modern art is completely untapped for quizbowl (not counting music, as many threads have gone over in the past). As an immediate example, though, a tossup on Joseph Beuys, one of the most important concept artists of the second half of the 20th century, was deemed too hard for Chicago Open last year. But that's for another thread.
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Re: ACF Nationals Comments

Post by Crimson Rosella » Tue Apr 20, 2010 6:21 pm

I thought the set was pretty stellar. In addition to being really fun to play on, I think this set's going to be great to use for introducing newer college players to the nationals-level canon. I also think it's a very good model for solid pyramidal writing, and will be useful as a reference in that respect as well.

One comment I have is that I don't remember hearing any jazz questions during the entire tournament, though perhaps they were entirely confined to late bonuses, tiebreaker tossups, or questions during our byes (I don't remember hearing any there either, though it's possible I zoned out while watching and didn't catch them). I'm pretty sure jazz is considered "other arts," and I was a little disappointed to see one of my favorite topics neglected when there seemed to be several film tossups and a bonus on fashion.
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Re: ACF Nationals Comments

Post by Frater Taciturnus » Tue Apr 20, 2010 6:34 pm

Dutton Speedwords wrote:I thought the set was pretty stellar. In addition to being really fun to play on, I think this set's going to be great to use for introducing newer college players to the nationals-level canon. I also think it's a very good model for solid pyramidal writing, and will be useful as a reference in that respect as well.

One comment I have is that I don't remember hearing any jazz questions during the entire tournament, though perhaps they were entirely confined to late bonuses, tiebreaker tossups, or questions during our byes (I don't remember hearing any there either, though it's possible I zoned out while watching and didn't catch them). I'm pretty sure jazz is considered "other arts," and I was a little disappointed to see one of my favorite topics neglected when there seemed to be several film tossups and a bonus on fashion.
I'm fairly certain I heard a Dave Brubeck bonus at the very least and I may have even zoned out through other jazz.
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Re: ACF Nationals Comments

Post by Quantum Mushroom Billiard Hat » Tue Apr 20, 2010 6:39 pm

I had a lot of fun playing this, and thought it was a very good set overall. It was certainly a great experience for my first ACF Nationals. The tournament ran pretty smoothly, but I felt like the breaks between rounds on Saturday were a bit longer than necessary. Maybe that is just something that happens when that many game rooms run at the same time.
There were a few questions that didn't sound as good as the rest when we played them, but I'd like to see the set so I don't make any incorrect comments.
I really liked the lack of trash. I also liked that the tournament happened a week earlier than in the past couple of years, since it was not in the middle of our finals. I certainly hope to be able to make it again next year.
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Re: ACF Nationals Comments

Post by Captain Sinico » Tue Apr 20, 2010 6:40 pm

Sir Thopas wrote:The biggest complaint I have is that there seemed to be a dearth of modern art.
On the contrary, I loved the art in this set and, in particular, really appreciated that it was closer to what I think most people are interested in than the usual quizbowl tournament, which is much too modern-dominated as a tendency. People who parrot other sets in their writing: please parrot this set!

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Re: ACF Nationals Comments

Post by Auks Ran Ova » Tue Apr 20, 2010 7:40 pm

I liked this tournament a whole hell of a lot, and if this ends up being the last national championship at which my team is seriously in competition for a title I think it's a fine way to go out. The direction, scheduling, timing, and the like were all superb as well.

My individual question objections were few and far between. Leaving aside the CS question in the finals entirely (if my brain had managed to spit out the right name, it wouldn't be a complaint at all!), there were a couple of things that I didn't like for various reasons. I'd really like to see the tossup on the Limbourg brothers again, since despite its reasonably constant use of pronouns (I think) it still managed to confuse me into negging with "the Tres Riches Heurs du Duc de Berry", then pausing a bit too long before finishing the blitz. Other than that, the only complaint I have off the top of my head was about the Marche Slave tossup, which featured a pair of clues that made it a hose for the 1812 Overture, and my resulting neg contributed to our playoff loss to Maryland (potentially allowing us to make up the entire deficit).

Those objections aside, I reiterate that this set was absolutely fantastic. Thank you to all those who made it possible.
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Re: ACF Nationals Comments

Post by naturalistic phallacy » Tue Apr 20, 2010 7:41 pm

I really, really liked playing this set, even though it was far beyond my mastered difficulty level. There seemed to be very few tossups that could have used another round of proofreading or editing. I especially enjoyed the philosophy tossups; the vast majority of what I heard contained (what I feel) were quite unique and well-written clues.

Thanks to everyone who made this set so great to play on!
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Re: ACF Nationals Comments

Post by Lagotto Romagnolo » Tue Apr 20, 2010 10:43 pm

I'll echo all that has been said. Despite being exhausted and cranky on both mornings (apologies to the team that had to watch me throw my notebook) and far out of my comfort zone on most subjects, I still had a lot of fun.
Captain Sinico wrote:On the contrary, I loved the art in this set and, in particular, really appreciated that it was closer to what I think most people are interested in than the usual quizbowl tournament, which is much too modern-dominated as a tendency. People who parrot other sets in their writing: please parrot this set!
Well, if most quizbowl players are uninterested in modern art, that's a shame IMHO. But I do see where you're coming from, and I second that last sentence.
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Re: ACF Nationals Comments

Post by Gautam » Wed Apr 21, 2010 1:12 am

I had a fun time playing this tournament, and it felt good to get a few non-science in a long long time. There were a couple of things which bothered me, but I'm going to reserve those comments until I can scan through the set.

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Re: ACF Nationals Comments

Post by recfreq » Wed Apr 21, 2010 2:33 am

Echoing the thanks to Zeke, Adam, Subash et al.
I liked the bio and biochem in this tournament. I don't know if anyone besides myself got Wint pathway, but it was refreshing to see, and the clues were fantastic for molecular biologists. Wolffian ducts were quite entertaining, but I thought the GFP question deserves special praise. I'm someone who use GFP as an integral part of my research, and I can tell the clues were right on, the pH sensitivity, 11 beta barrel configs, etc. Other small things to nitpick on: I have to plea my ignorance on rebellion of 1745, are there other notable Jacobite rebellions? Also, is Braza important, I have no idea... I loved the small injection of film; though Pather Panchali was a bit guessable, the Truffaut question was solid I thought.
Oh, and congrats to Stanford and the valiant effort of Minnesota. Andrew's 1st half in the final was one of the most amazing things I've seen, standing right next to Subash's 2003 NAQT ICT.
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Re: ACF Nationals Comments

Post by Sir Thopas » Wed Apr 21, 2010 8:46 am

recfreq wrote:I have to plea my ignorance on rebellion of 1745, are there other notable Jacobite rebellions?
There was another, smaller one in 1715, so I have no problem with "Jacobite Rebellion" being prompted; I don't see why "Second Jacobite Rebellion" wasn't acceptable, though.
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Re: ACF Nationals Comments

Post by grapesmoker » Wed Apr 21, 2010 8:49 am

Captain Sinico wrote:People who parrot other sets in their writing: please parrot this set!
I know this is half in jest, but I actually want to make a point against this. This was a great set, which is to be expected given the luminaries who worked on it. However, it's also a set with a very specific feel; if you've played a Zeke-edited tournament in the past, you might recognize that this set had a certain flavor to it that's distinct from, say, last year's nationals. That's not a statement for or against this specific set but rather an observation that editors stamp their mark the sets they edit. I think it's good to have a certain amount of diversity among national tournaments and while I'm happy to play Zeke-nationals, I'm not sure it would be that much fun to play other-people-channeling-Zeke-nationals. Nor do I think it's now ok to put The Knight of Olmedo in ACF Fall bonuses because it came up here. So yeah, mimic the competency, obviously, but don't go out and just grab answer choices wholesale from this set and push them down into lower-difficulty tournaments.
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Re: ACF Nationals Comments

Post by grapesmoker » Wed Apr 21, 2010 8:50 am

Sir Thopas wrote:
recfreq wrote:I have to plea my ignorance on rebellion of 1745, are there other notable Jacobite rebellions?
There was another, smaller one in 1715, so I have no problem with "Jacobite Rebellion" being prompted; I don't see why "Second Jacobite Rebellion" wasn't acceptable, though.
Actually, the '45 would be the third Jacobite rebellion, not the second.

edit: although even that depends on whether you reckon various uprisings in favor of the Old Pretender as full-scale rebellions or not. It seems like giving the year or the Young Pretender would result in an unambiguously correct answer.
Last edited by grapesmoker on Wed Apr 21, 2010 9:36 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: ACF Nationals Comments

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Wed Apr 21, 2010 9:03 am

Now you see why!

I really liked the majority of this tournament; it's perhaps unfortunate that all the stuff I disliked came in areas where I have some legitimate knowledge (though I guess that's inevitable; I don't know much about, for example, music to find myself disliking music questions). Further comment held until I have the set in my hands, but I think there were some answers in both chemistry and physics that weren't especially well selected and that played poorly as a result. I'm also a little curious about the distribution used; I know that several rounds lacked a chemistry tossup or bonus (though certainly that could just be a classification of biochemistry as chemistry or something). In either case, I think the tournament could have benefited from more inorganic chemistry; I don't think I heard a question in that field all day (save the Monsanto tossup, which I'll have to comment on later).
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Re: ACF Nationals Comments

Post by Captain Sinico » Wed Apr 21, 2010 1:03 pm

Gypsy punk wrote:
Captain Sinico wrote:On the contrary, I loved the art in this set and, in particular, really appreciated that it was closer to what I think most people are interested in than the usual quizbowl tournament, which is much too modern-dominated as a tendency. People who parrot other sets in their writing: please parrot this set!
Well, if most quizbowl players are uninterested in modern art, that's a shame IMHO.
I'm not at all saying that most quizbowlers are uninterested in modern art: for example, I myself very much love a lot of modern art, no less than art of other times. What I am saying is that, relative to other tournaments, the time distribution of art in this tournament was closer to what I think most people/players would and should consider right on consideration of interest level, knowledge level, academic character, and artistic quality. I'm further saying that most tournaments get this wrong in the other direction.

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Re: ACF Nationals Comments

Post by Pilgrim » Wed Apr 21, 2010 1:13 pm

grapesmoker wrote:
Sir Thopas wrote:
recfreq wrote:I have to plea my ignorance on rebellion of 1745, are there other notable Jacobite rebellions?
There was another, smaller one in 1715, so I have no problem with "Jacobite Rebellion" being prompted; I don't see why "Second Jacobite Rebellion" wasn't acceptable, though.
Actually, the '45 would be the third Jacobite rebellion, not the second.

edit: although even that depends on whether you reckon various uprisings in favor of the Old Pretender as full-scale rebellions or not. It seems like giving the year or the Young Pretender would result in an unambiguously correct answer.
I know that I certainly learned this as the Second Jacobite Rebellion, and from the preponderance of negs at the tournament, it seems this is true for others as well. A quick google book search seems to indicate that such an answer applies unambiguously to the 1745 rebellion.
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Re: ACF Nationals Comments

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Wed Apr 21, 2010 2:30 pm

I learned it as "the '45" and generally see it referred to as that in the musty old books I read, but for the record if you enter "Second Jacobite Rising" into Wikipedia it takes you to the article about the '45...
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Re: ACF Nationals Comments

Post by dtaylor4 » Wed Apr 21, 2010 2:33 pm

Britannica cites five (5) different rebellions, and indicates that the '15 was the third.

http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/top ... 5/Jacobite#

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Re: ACF Nationals Comments

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Wed Apr 21, 2010 2:37 pm

dtaylor4 wrote:Britannica cites five (5) different rebellions, and indicates that the '15 was the third.

http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/top ... 5/Jacobite#
Yes, but mistress quizbowl demands that we give the names of things, not the accurate description of things. If the 45 is commonly referred to as the "second jacobite rebellion" -- and evidence suggests that it is -- then this should be acceptable because it is the event's name. Names don't have to be accurate.

The "Treaty of Fifth Avenue", for instance, is notably not a treaty, but we still call it that.

On the other hand, we don't accept things like "the 357th battle between Turks and Europeans" for "Battle of Mohacs", even if that number is 100% correct. Because that's not it's name. Nobody calls it that.

On a side note, if Sudheer had ever won ICT it would have been awesome if future generations would have referred to this event as "the fifteen"
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Re: ACF Nationals Comments

Post by grapesmoker » Wed Apr 21, 2010 3:04 pm

Morraine Man wrote:Yes, but mistress quizbowl demands that we give the names of things, not the accurate description of things. If the 45 is commonly referred to as the "second jacobite rebellion" -- and evidence suggests that it is -- then this should be acceptable because it is the event's name. Names don't have to be accurate.
This is taking us afield of the discussion, but I think the naming scheme is what's under debate. The point is that some people learned it as the Second Jacobite Rebellion and some didn't. I just learned it as "the '45," and Britannica, at least, indicated emphatically that it is not the second.

This raises a larger point about names, which is that a lot of names are colloquial, as opposed to formal. Just to toss an example out there, the equestrian statue of Peter the Great is colloquially referred to as "the Bronze Horseman," because, you know, it's made of bronze and a statue of a dude on a horse. But "Falconet's Peter the Great," or "the equestrian monument to Peter the Great," or any other number of descriptors identify the same thing. It would be folly to only accept "the Bronze Horseman," as the correct answer. To use an example that's a little less far-fetched than Bruce's Mohacs example, I was once negged for giving "the Russo-Finnish war of 1939," as the answer to "the Winter War." I think that's pretty bogus, since wars don't have formal titles and the answer I gave is unambiguously correct. Of course we wouldn't accept, "Hermann Melville's book about Captain Ahab," as the answer to Moby Dick, but in instances where titles are merely colloquial instead of formal, equivalent descriptions should usually be accepted.
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Re: ACF Nationals Comments

Post by Important Bird Area » Wed Apr 21, 2010 3:52 pm

Morraine Man wrote:On a side note, if Sudheer had ever won ICT it would have been awesome if future generations would have referred to this event as "the fifteen"
Side note to Bruce's side note: if I ever write an all-Jacobite theme packet, I have now resolved that it will contain 45-point superpowers.
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Re: ACF Nationals Comments

Post by Sir Thopas » Wed Apr 21, 2010 3:54 pm

bt_green_warbler wrote:
Morraine Man wrote:On a side note, if Sudheer had ever won ICT it would have been awesome if future generations would have referred to this event as "the fifteen"
Side note to Bruce's side note: if I ever write an all-Jacobite theme packet, I have now resolved that it will contain 45-point superpowers.
Oh, stop with the pretending.
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Re: ACF Nationals Comments

Post by grapesmoker » Wed Apr 21, 2010 4:03 pm

Sir Thopas wrote:Oh, stop with the pretending.
Do you see what I have to put up with?
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Re: ACF Nationals Comments

Post by ieppler » Wed Apr 21, 2010 4:07 pm

grapesmoker wrote:
Sir Thopas wrote:Oh, stop with the pretending.
Do you see what I have to put up with?
Yeah, that joke was suboptimal.
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Re: ACF Nationals Comments

Post by Auroni » Wed Apr 21, 2010 4:09 pm

ieppler wrote:
grapesmoker wrote:
Sir Thopas wrote:Oh, stop with the pretending.
Do you see what I have to put up with?
Yeah, that joke was suboptimal.
it should have been written on a postcard that read "Long Live Trotsky!" on the other side
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Re: ACF Nationals Comments

Post by Strongside » Wed Apr 21, 2010 5:12 pm

Yeah. I agree that this set was excellent, so thanks to the editors for doing a great job.

Also, congrats to Stanford for winning, and especially to Andrew Yaphe for what I thought was a pretty impressive performance.

It was really awesome to have no trash. While trash has a place in academic quiz bowl, I would like to see more tournaments eliminate trash.

I know it's kind of annoying to harp on one question at such a great tournament (the 1745 Jacobite Rebellion, it's hard to say more about this tossup without seeing the answer line). Maybe that tossup would have been better if it said event and year required at the beginning, or if it was just on the Battle of Prestonpans.
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Re: ACF Nationals Comments

Post by icarium » Wed Apr 21, 2010 7:04 pm

I have more comments, particularly in regards to some of the assertions and opinions about the art in the tournament, but I'm about to board a plane shortly and so these cursory remarks will have to suffice.

First, I want to congratulate Stanford on their title and Minnesota specifically on a performance with which I was thoroughly impressed. Andrew's exploits, as remarkable as they are, are familiar to me having been his friend and teammate for so long. That he is a phenomenal player and the best I've seen play was settled for me long ago, and this is why I thought Minnesota's performance was so amazing. They were in every way a team and their balance, coverage, and resilience were impressive and fully deserving of a championship, which I don't doubt they would have won in most other years (and even this one had a few things fallen differently). Similarly, there were numerous other fantastic teams that I was privileged to watch this past weekend, including Brown, Chicago, Illinois, and Penn. This had to be the strongest field at the top end of any ACF Nationals and I think that bodes well for the future of the game.

Secondly, I think people, though they may have an idea, don't fully appreciate the work that Ezequiel put into this tournament. He was prepping for this thing six months ago and was finished with his share of the work with more than a week to go. Through it all he coordinated with everyone involved with his usual aplomb and unflappability and took on a greater share of the work late in the process when a few commitments went unfulfilled. I know that Susan also did an enormous amount of work and was always efficient and indispensable in improving the quality of the tournament. I just wanted to give them their proper due.

Though, I hate to contribute to the digression of tournament discussion into focus on one tossup, in the interest of bringing things back here is the text of the "45" tossup, which I wrote:

Its leader was only able to escape after assuming the identity of Betty Burke, a servant to a supporter of his. The panic of December 6th or “Black Friday,” during this event is described in the memoirs of Chevalier de Johnstone, who took part in it. It was planned at meetings of the Association, a group that included the noblemen Lovat, Drummond, and Linton and began with the embarkation of the warships Doutelle and Elisabeth. The first major battle saw the defeat of forces under John Cope and skirmishes at Stirling Castle and Derby followed. Despite their initial victory at Prestonpans the instigators would be crushed the next year by a son of George II, the Duke of Cumberland. For 10 points, identify this uprising that ended with Bonnie Prince Charlie’s defeat at Culloden, a Jacobite rebellion named for the year in which it began.
ANSWER: Jacobite Rebellion of 1745 or the Forty-Five (accept equivalents for rebellion as long as year is mentioned; prompt on Jacobite Rebellion, Revolt, etc. until “Jacobite” is mentioned in the question)

My decision regarding what was acceptable and promptable was based on a couple of things. First a couple of classes - a British history one and a Victorian lit one (in which we spent some time focusing on Victorian literary depictions of Jacobitism). At no point was "Second Jacobite Rebellion" a definitive identification of the "45." Second, to quell any doubts I had, I double checked in my Oxford History of England and Britannica and was satisfied that "Second Jacobite Rebellion" is not wholly associated with the "45" and is in fact factually wrong as there are anywhere between five and seven major Jacobite rebellions. Hopefully that satisfies the doubts of why "Second Jacobite Rebellion" wasn't acceptable or promptable and we can get back to more substantive critiques and discussions.

As I mentioned, I'll have more to say about the art and a couple of other things when I can compose a proper post.

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Re: ACF Nationals Comments

Post by AuguryMarch » Wed Apr 21, 2010 8:57 pm

I have a few things to have about the tournament in retrospect, some of which will be a bit redundant (stealing my thunder, subash!)

But first, I wanted to announce my official retirement from editing/playing quizbowl (I was already in semi-retirement before, but this tournament will surely do it for me). I mostly wanted to announce this in order to quote my favorite of all quizbowl retirement posts. This was a post on the old yahoo group, maybe 10 years ago, coming in response to a series of increasingly absurd retirement posts, culminating in someone saying they were retired for the next year but would eventually return. The mocking post stated that "I am retired from quizbowl for the next 15 minutes to take a shit, but rest assured I will return soon." I know that post always made Ezequiel laugh as well, so I couldn't resist.

To that end, I also want to say that after seeing this tournament its safe to say I was completely and utterly wrong about my pronouncements of quizbowl's demise 5 years ago.I have never been so happy to be wrong about something before! Seeing the way that the young teams have taken up the mantle was incredibly inspiring to me, and I want to thank all of you for proving me wrong. Though it's getting redundant to heap praise upon the top bracket, I think it's worth acknowledging how pleasurable it was to watch them play and have the opportunity to read some great matches for them (Stanford-Brown, Chicago-Brown were two very memorable games, not to mention the final of course!)

Next, I wanted to reiterate Subash's comments regarding Ezequiel's efforts. He was reading me tossups on the phone and IM months before the event. He took this tournament as an opportunity to write all the things he had dreamed about writing, and even though it had gotten past the point of needing to improve, he spent hours reading, e.g. primary source philosophy texts and to expand his knowledge. Of all the people in quizbowl I know, I think that Ezequiel enjoyed question writing the most. It is in part due to that exuberant curiosity that I believe he is the game's best writer and editor. I think this tournament has proven that without a doubt. I think all of you would have been amazed to see Ezequiel on Thursday night, exhausted after days of not sleeping, going through each bonus part with Subash to discuss the balance. On average I would say they spent 1-3 minutes discussing each bonus part. When you aggregate that over the number of packets and bonuses you realize this took somewhere in the realm of 16-20 hours. That was just one part of what was done in the latter part of the week. That the bonus distribution was so great (I'll say more about this in a moment) was due in part to his and Subash's meticulous efforts. On Friday night, Susan did an entire readthrough (no small feat herself in addition to all the science editing and coordinating!) and Ezequiel stayed up late into the night to incorporate her fixes and print the packets. The reason all these last minute heroics were necessary was the reason all such tournaments end up coming down to the wire and I'll leave it at that. Those of you who remember the Manu at University of Chicago will remember a similarly comported Ezequiel pasting together one round at a time and copying them at Kinko's as we played the previous, that time due to spending way too much time on each individual question that he neglected to put the packets together until the end.
Ok, that's a sufficient encomium I think.

I also want to describe as one of the editors one of our guiding principles in the bonuses ending that I thought might be interesting to you. We tried very hard to write challenging bonuses where the third part was something an expert at the given subject might actually know. As a player, I was frustrated when my favorite subjects would come up and people would write "fuck you" third bonus parts that were totally ungettable. The subjects I picked as answers in writing (some of) and editing and the social science were for the most part things I felt were in the core subject areas of the disciplines I was asking about (e.g. the econometrics bonus in the final). The thing that I realized while writing this tournament, that I think you begin to appreciate as you learn more, is that the quizbowl canon is just scratching the surface of knowledge even in terms of really very essential core topics in most academic disciplines. And part of the reason for that is that the disciplines are evolving year to year as well! The canon is a whale swimming through a jet stream. :-) There is lots to choose from without having to a) indulge needless obscurity or b) just parrot a previous obscure answer. In addition, with every bonus we always had a conversation of "wheres the 10 points?" No matter how crazy the third part got or how "important in academia but obscure in quizbowl" the bonus was, we always made sure there was a gettable 10 point clue grounded in the quizbowl canon. We even talked over the Schleiermacher bonus in that fashion, somehow deciding (or conceding perhaps) that Schleiermacher was the easy 10. That's what no sleep does...

I've been very fortunate to play with all of the best players of my generation at one tournament or another as well as many of the very greats (Subash, Andrew, Ezequiel, Adam Kemezis, Jeff Hoppes, Seth Teitler, Matt Lafer, Ben Heller to name a few) and so I've won some tournaments. But ultimately for every thought of a tournament I won (even ACF Nationals), I have two thoughts about some tournament I lost (ACF Nationals too, what a coincidence!). I think for many of the most competitive people I know, the losses stay with you forever. Ezequiel, though he went out about on top as you could go, having beaten Andrew and ICT, Subash at ACF and Andrew again at CO, still thinks about his losses. The point of what I'm saying is, if you are like us, don't necessarily expect to feel better about it! Maybe some of those greats on that list feel otherwise, but I'd consider them a minority.

Anyway, that's all I can think of to say for the moment, so I'll stop for now. I didn't say I was retiring from posting! Though I have fond memories 10 years ago of disparaging the fogies who would post on the board opining about things they knew nothing about, so I can't imagine boring you all too much more.... Oh, Brendan, I think you should add 2001 Michigan MLK on your list of good tournaments. It's a hidden gem. :)

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Re: ACF Nationals Comments

Post by No Rules Westbrook » Thu Apr 22, 2010 6:28 pm

In addition to everything people have already posted, I think this tournament succeeded because it felt like a different experience.

These days, sometimes it seems like every event you go to is like every other event. Even when it's very well-written - it's easy to get that feeling of "Oh, this feels like every other tournament of this nature" or "oh, this feels like every other tournament written by X person."

By contrast, I think this Nats felt like a new quizbowl experience. For some of the older folks, it may have conjured memories of Manu or Auspicious Incident or what have you (though in a different spirit than those events). But, even for those folks - those events were so long ago, that this experience really seemed fresh and different. I'm not just talking about the writing necessarily - the running of the tourney and everything else - hell, there were paper packets!

Just an offhand observation, I'm not sure what any of us can do to try to create "new experiences" in future events, but it might be worth thinking about.
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Re: ACF Nationals Comments

Post by Frater Taciturnus » Sat Apr 24, 2010 8:21 pm

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Re: ACF Nationals Comments

Post by Auks Ran Ova » Sat Apr 24, 2010 8:40 pm

Frater Taciturnus wrote:packets are at http://collegiate.quizbowlpackets.com/a ... 010ACFNats
zip file please
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Re: ACF Nationals Comments

Post by Frater Taciturnus » Sat Apr 24, 2010 8:41 pm

Ukonvasara wrote:
Frater Taciturnus wrote:packets are at http://collegiate.quizbowlpackets.com/a ... 010ACFNats
zip file please
its at http://collegiate.quizbowlpackets.com/a ... CFNats.zip
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Re: ACF Nationals Comments

Post by Auks Ran Ova » Sat Apr 24, 2010 8:42 pm

Frater Taciturnus wrote:
Ukonvasara wrote:
Frater Taciturnus wrote:packets are at http://collegiate.quizbowlpackets.com/a ... 010ACFNats
zip file please
its at http://collegiate.quizbowlpackets.com/a ... CFNats.zip
<3
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Re: ACF Nationals Comments

Post by Auroni » Sat Apr 24, 2010 11:26 pm

the Chicago packet seems to have 6 or 7 lit questions, with 5 or 6 in the first 20. I noted this while we were playing that round, and it seems to be correct. There were a couple of bonuses that seemed to be inconsistently easy with the rest of the set, such as the Rizal/Saro-Wiwa/Mishima and the Ekman spiral/Hadley cells bonus.
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Re: ACF Nationals Comments

Post by Papa's in the House » Sun Apr 25, 2010 4:40 pm

Perhaps the writer of the apples tossup (question 20 in Brown A's packet) can help me understand why they wrote the tossup the way they did. I researched the stories before the Norse myth clues and it appears that the last 6 of 8 lines in the tossup apply to stories involving "golden apples," while only the first line (of 8) applies to a story about only an "apple" (I cannot find the story behind Ivan the Mute ATM). Why make the tossup about "apples" if only one clue (and the hardest clue in the tossup at that) pertains to just "apples" instead of (the admittedly more specific answer of) "golden apples?" It seems to me like the tossup was designed to make people neg with a more specific (and mostly correct) answer.

On a side note, reading the story for the Almafi brothers, I'd be interested in knowing where that tree was located (since there is a chance even that story could pertain to golden apples).
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Re: ACF Nationals Comments

Post by Cheynem » Sun Apr 25, 2010 4:50 pm

Was golden apples negged? That seems kind of odd.
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Re: ACF Nationals Comments

Post by Pilgrim » Sun Apr 25, 2010 4:57 pm

Yeah, I answered with Golden Apples and it was accepted.
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Re: ACF Nationals Comments

Post by Susan » Sun Apr 25, 2010 5:00 pm

Papa's in the House wrote:Perhaps the writer of the apples tossup (question 20 in Brown A's packet) can help me understand why they wrote the tossup the way they did. I researched the stories before the Norse myth clues and it appears that the last 6 of 8 lines in the tossup apply to stories involving "golden apples," while only the first line (of 8) applies to a story about only an "apple" (I cannot find the story behind Ivan the Mute ATM). Why make the tossup about "apples" if only one clue (and the hardest clue in the tossup at that) pertains to just "apples" instead of (the admittedly more specific answer of) "golden apples?" It seems to me like the tossup was designed to make people neg with a more specific (and mostly correct) answer.

On a side note, reading the story for the Almafi brothers, I'd be interested in knowing where that tree was located (since there is a chance even that story could pertain to golden apples).
It's not one clue but three (Almafi, Ivan the Mute, and the considerably less difficult clue of Rerir) that pertain to non-golden apples; still, I should have added some "one type of these" phrases or something like that in if the answer line were going to be kept as "apples" (or reordered the clues, but there are surprisingly few easy myth clues about non-golden apples).
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Re: ACF Nationals Comments

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Sun Apr 25, 2010 5:09 pm

myamphigory wrote:
Papa's in the House wrote:Perhaps the writer of the apples tossup (question 20 in Brown A's packet) can help me understand why they wrote the tossup the way they did. I researched the stories before the Norse myth clues and it appears that the last 6 of 8 lines in the tossup apply to stories involving "golden apples," while only the first line (of 8) applies to a story about only an "apple" (I cannot find the story behind Ivan the Mute ATM). Why make the tossup about "apples" if only one clue (and the hardest clue in the tossup at that) pertains to just "apples" instead of (the admittedly more specific answer of) "golden apples?" It seems to me like the tossup was designed to make people neg with a more specific (and mostly correct) answer.

On a side note, reading the story for the Almafi brothers, I'd be interested in knowing where that tree was located (since there is a chance even that story could pertain to golden apples).
It's not one clue but three (Almafi, Ivan the Mute, and the considerably less difficult clue of Rerir) that pertain to non-golden apples; still, I should have added some "one type of these" phrases or something like that in if the answer line were going to be kept as "apples" (or reordered the clues, but there are surprisingly few easy myth clues about non-golden apples).
I don't know much about myth and parsed the original comment as one being about "Ivan, the Mute ATM" and wondered how a mute ATM was part of any people's mythology. Alas!

To contribute productively: "golden apples" was accepted in our room because it was clearly a buzz off a golden apples clue; I think those things should generally be accepted when possible. (It's of course correct strategic play to always buzz with apples and give more information when prompted, so there's nothing wrong with how the question was written; it's just always a bonus when questions make the effort not to require perfect strategic play.)
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Re: ACF Nationals Comments

Post by Papa's in the House » Sun Apr 25, 2010 6:27 pm

Crazy Andy Watkins wrote: To contribute productively: "golden apples" was accepted in our room because it was clearly a buzz off a golden apples clue; I think those things should generally be accepted when possible. (It's of course correct strategic play to always buzz with apples and give more information when prompted, so there's nothing wrong with how the question was written; it's just always a bonus when questions make the effort not to require perfect strategic play.)
Alas, this was not the case where I buzzed (after Idun). I'll keep the answering strategy (broad, then specific if prompted) in mind for future games.
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Re: ACF Nationals Comments

Post by grapesmoker » Mon Apr 26, 2010 11:34 am

Papa's in the House wrote:Perhaps the writer of the apples tossup (question 20 in Brown A's packet) can help me understand why they wrote the tossup the way they did. I researched the stories before the Norse myth clues and it appears that the last 6 of 8 lines in the tossup apply to stories involving "golden apples," while only the first line (of 8) applies to a story about only an "apple" (I cannot find the story behind Ivan the Mute ATM). Why make the tossup about "apples" if only one clue (and the hardest clue in the tossup at that) pertains to just "apples" instead of (the admittedly more specific answer of) "golden apples?" It seems to me like the tossup was designed to make people neg with a more specific (and mostly correct) answer.
As the author of that question, I guess I might have put "one type of these," to disambiguate, or even just changed the answer line to accept "golden" apples. However, I find your line of reasoning bizarre; there's no reason to make the answer "golden apples," (which would be harder and also incorrect as multiple clues did not refer to apples that were golden) and it would certainly behoove you, the player, not to buzz with ultra-specific answers if you don't know every clue. The notion that this tossup was "designed" to make people neg is so absurd that it's not even worth responding to.

edit: the clue about Gwydion's voyage also refers to non-golden apples.
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