Certamen

Anything that's on topic but doesn't fit elsewhere, including related events that might be of interest to quizbowl players.
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Kevin
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Certamen

Post by Kevin »

Last weekend was my first time bringing a team to a Certamen tournament (which seems somewhat odd, given that I'm a quiz bowler who's been teaching high school Latin for six years). It was, much as I expected, run on non-pyramidal questions with a bizarre tournament format.

Obviously I understand the need for translation & grammar-type questions that might be difficult to shoehorn into a pyramidal format. But my question is this: has anyone from the quiz bowl community ever tried to push the JCL (either at a national, state, or local level) into running Certamen with any sort of good, pyramidal questions?

(Side note: would anyone be interested if I wrote some sort of classics-related side event that included myth, history, literature, geography, and grammar/translation in a pyramidal format? I would think the difficulty level would probably be somewhere around college regular-difficulty level, or slightly lower.)
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The Abydos Helicopter
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Re: Certamen

Post by The Abydos Helicopter »

Kevin wrote:Last weekend was my first time bringing a team to a Certamen tournament (which seems somewhat odd, given that I'm a quiz bowler who's been teaching high school Latin for six years). It was, much as I expected, run on non-pyramidal questions with a bizarre tournament format.

Obviously I understand the need for translation & grammar-type questions that might be difficult to shoehorn into a pyramidal format. But my question is this: has anyone from the quiz bowl community ever tried to push the JCL (either at a national, state, or local level) into running Certamen with any sort of good, pyramidal questions?

(Side note: would anyone be interested if I wrote some sort of classics-related side event that included myth, history, literature, geography, and grammar/translation in a pyramidal format? I would think the difficulty level would probably be somewhere around college regular-difficulty level, or slightly lower.)

:aaa:

Yes
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El Salvadoreno
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Re: Certamen

Post by El Salvadoreno »

(Background: I do not take Latin nor have I ever played certamen, I have only looked up questions for reference for this post. I do, however, know multiple people on my team who do certamen and might have more information when I ask them about similarities/differences to QB)

I certainly agree with you on the pyramidiality of the questions. The difficulty is in squaring that with the translation questions (which I can't see as becoming pyramidal) because that makes up a large amount of the distribution. My opinion is that it would be best to get rid of translation and just focus on culture/history (esp. since I do remember by certamen friends complaining about the difficulty of translation) but it would take a large movement that might be difficult to put together.

As for two-part related bonuses, those are not too abnormal (listory, the lit skype league, and JAKOB all used that format) so I think pyramidality should be a larger focus.

Again, I will probably will have more to say when I ask my certamen friends bu thanks for indulging my initial observations.
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Auks Ran Ova
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Re: Certamen

Post by Auks Ran Ova »

A few years ago (seven?! jesus) noted classics enthusiast Dallas Simons wrote a really entertaining classics tournament that would be a good model for another such event. It was lots of fun, and a successor would be welcome!
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UlyssesInvictus
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Re: Certamen

Post by UlyssesInvictus »

Around when would you be writing this set? I'd love to play it if it were open, or write for it otherwise!

As for making Certamen use pyramidal questions, I tried to write as pyramidal questions as I could when Thomas Jefferson hosted its Certamen event (which might have actually had some impact, the VJCL is fairly large and much of it comes to the annual TJ event because our Latin teach used to be a national chair), but I'm fairly pessimistic about Certamen in general every using pyramidal, it's just too circuit-y, with almost every set being written solely in-house. As mentioned, "grammar" tossups are hugely important, but are probably impossible to do pyramidally except in a fashion similar to NAQT math comp TUs. Maybe there's hope for the history or myth, though?
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Periplus of the Erythraean Sea
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Re: Certamen

Post by Periplus of the Erythraean Sea »

Kevin wrote:(Side note: would anyone be interested if I wrote some sort of classics-related side event that included myth, history, literature, geography, and grammar/translation in a pyramidal format? I would think the difficulty level would probably be somewhere around college regular-difficulty level, or slightly lower.)
I get worse at classics every year. This would encourage me to reverse this.
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Re: Certamen

Post by Kevin »

Thanks for the feedback. I didn't know about Dallas Simons's set--that's definitely something I'll be using with my students to review for the National Latin Exam.

If I write a set, it probably wouldn't be until the summer. I'm going to our state JCL convention next month and I want to see if there's any chance I could nudge things in a more pyramidal direction. And also, if I do write a set, I would probably separate any sort of translation out so that direct knowledge of Latin (or Greek) would not be necessary for the rest of the questions.
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Thaumatibis gigantea
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Re: Certamen

Post by Thaumatibis gigantea »

Seeing as half of Swarthmore's team are classics people (myself included), we would also be interested. :)
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Cold Stone Steve Austin
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Re: Certamen

Post by Cold Stone Steve Austin »

As someone who has played certamen throughout middle and high school and played all levels from regionals to nationals, I have had writing a pyramidal certamen set and lobbying for format reform on my mind for several years. I would also be interested in either writing or playing for such an event.
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Louis XIV and Twenty Million Henchmen
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Re: Certamen

Post by Louis XIV and Twenty Million Henchmen »

I never did Certamen, but from the examples of actual play that I've been able to find, it looks like a perfect illustration of "real knowledge" and "game speed" not mixing well. A valuable cautionary tale.

Anyway, I would also support a pyramidal Certamen endeavor if there were to be one.
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Re: Certamen

Post by Fuddle Duddle »

I remember our school's mean Latin teacher wouldn't let me into Certamen even though I took a semester of Greek with him. So then I did quizbowl instead. I read a lot of questions for our team, and judging by that and how our Certamen people study it seems *way* more stock-based than normal quizbowl. Also a lot of matches are three-way.

EDIT: I kinda forgot the purpose of this thread. If this would be open to HS teams, Naperville North would play the heck out of it.
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jasongg17
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Re: Certamen

Post by jasongg17 »

I'm rustier than the Antikythera Mechanism on my Greek and Latin, but I'd definitely be interested in such an event.
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