Your nationals stories—no title teams allowed

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vinteuil
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Your nationals stories—no title teams allowed

Post by vinteuil »

I think everybody on this forum (except maybe Yaphe and Matt Jackson) has a lot of great memories of games at Nats and ICT when their team wasn't in contention or even close to it. We hear a lot about championship games, but these stories can be just as fun, and the memories are often just as good (or better!).

For instance, maybe my favorite nationals experience to date was the playoffs of 2016 ICT, where we expected to place no higher than fifth (which is where we landed). We had a ton of close games in a row, I got to play with Laurence Li, and we had our first taste of making Chicago A (the eventual champion!) collapse. I don't think I've ever had a higher average heart rate in a quizbowl setting, and it was glorious.

EDIT: and getting owned by Sean Smiley, Andrew Wang, and Dylan Minarik at 2015 Nationals wasn't exactly "fun," but certainly one of my most memorable and meaningful quizbowl experiences.
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Re: Your nationals stories—no title teams allowed

Post by a named reaction »

I think in the last match of ACF Nationals 2018, Delaware was playing in the bottom bracket, and one of the last tossups was asking for "this event" in a way that, to my ably frauding ears, really sounded like the assassination of someone from early Islamic history. The most obvious answer here would of course be the assassination of Ali, but before I buzzed with this I realized that details didn't match what I knew of Ali's dearh, and that it was in fact the assassination of that other Rashidun caliph who was killed, whose name I also realized I definitely did not remember. I then also realized there was a decent chance my teammate Rohan Narayan would realize where we were and take the fraud and neg, so, taking a loose interpretation of the nonverbal communication rules, I turn to him and start shaking my head vigorously and mouthing "no"; he told me later that he was in fact going to neg there but my dissuasion made him wait to the end, where he did in fact know that the third caliph was Uthman.
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Re: Your nationals stories—no title teams allowed

Post by cwasims »

In one of the bottom-bracket games of 2017 ACF Nats, when I played on a two-person team with Zhenglin Liu, there was this tossup that was in large part based around Aldous Huxley's obsession with Carlo Gesualdo. My only knowledge of this connection was from an aside in my Music History 2 textbook that had a quote about Gesualdo by Huxley which I found very random and, hence, quite memorable. As a result, from the very first mention of "this composer" and "Aldous Huxley" I thought the answer might be Gesualdo, but was also incredulous that this would actually be the conceit of a tossup, even at ACF Nats. When the tossup dropped "Renaissance composer", though, I triumphantly buzzed in with "So this is Gesualdo!", whereupon the moderator (I'm pretty sure it was Will Alston) looked quite surprised that I was this excited about my buzz. We still lost the game, though...
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Re: Your nationals stories—no title teams allowed

Post by Gen. Winfield Scott Hancock »

Getting the Civil War bonus at 2019 Nats and hearing the other team (Yale B I think) audibly groan as they realized that I was gonna 30 it was pretty fun and funny.
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Re: Your nationals stories—no title teams allowed

Post by alexdz »

I don't have any memories of specific questions or opponents from either of my nationals experiences (ACF 2009, ICT 2010). But what I do remember is that these were some of my first experiences to the wider quizbowl community outside of my own region. I was meeting "legends" that I'd only heard stories about from Charlie Dees up until that point. I can't say that it drastically changed my personal outlook on anything, but going to Nationals definitely was an experience that helped the Mizzou team stay afloat and recruit.
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Re: Your nationals stories—no title teams allowed

Post by theMoMA »

For me, there are few stretches of relatively low-stakes games that stand out more than my run through the prelims of ACF Nationals 2013, when I was playing solo. I made the decision to play very late in the registration process and came into the tournament with basically no goals (other than avoiding collapsing in a pool of blood, sweat, and tears on Sunday afternoon). The prelim bracket placed me with Illinois, Michigan, Alabama, Columbia, NYU, Chicago D, South Carolina, and Hunter (the last one was not the high school, but rather consisted of a fellow solo warrior named Alexander Nero, whose name combines my two great heroes of antiquity). I don't know for certain, but I believe I was seeded sixth, behind the first five teams listed above.

In the first round, I squeaked out a low-scoring barnburner against Alabama on the strength of converting a tossup 20 by knowing what kind of "day" Shakespeare compared his lover to and 30ing a relatively easy bonus on Montana geography to win by ten.

This got me thinking, for the first time, that I had a chance to make the top playoff bracket. There was no chance of beating Illinois or Michigan, of course. And I figured I could probably play well enough to beat Chicago D, South Carolina, and Mr. Nero. With the Alabama win in hand, I'd probably only need to take down New York City's finest on their home turf to get third and advance to the top bracket (and the dispiriting string of defeats that would surely ensue).

The only thing I remember from the Illinois/Michigan games, which I indeed lost badly, is that Ike allowed me to correct a misspoken answer of "Tasmania" to "Tanzania" to get one of my three tossups in that round; I can only assume that his largesse created the positive karmic balance that propelled Illinois to the championship the next day. (I later learned that the only reason the tossup on "Tanzania" existed in the first place was that Michael Arnold had submitted a geography tossup on "Marxism," cluing David Harvey, which Bruce Arthur saw fit to replace with the most straightforward geography tossup he could think of, which ended up being on Tanzania, thus rewarding my deep knowledge of the existence of Mafia Island, where presumably interminable games of lies and intrigue since banned on the hsquizbowl forums continue to this day.)

I also remember almost nothing about the South Carolina/Chicago D/Hunter matches except that Alexander Nero, true to his name, had a great buzz on a classical history tossup (and subsequently zero'd the bonus, I think science related). Nevertheless, I managed to score 100+ tossup points in all of these matchups and win handily.

That left NYU and Columbia. I entered the game against NYU with a simple strategy: these guys hadn't really seen me play before, so maybe if I got tossups with a combination of nonchalance and steely resolve, they would come to believe I was much better than I actually was. When I got a barely-pre-FTP buzz on a tossup in computer science, a topic I have no real knowledge or understanding of, and either Yogesh or Aaron made a comment that suggested they believed it was inevitable that I would convert it, I knew the strategy was working. I led basically wire to wire and won by about 30, although I seem to recall that the game was essentially put away around tossup 17.

The last game of the prelims was against Columbia, and with victories against every other third-place-in-bracket contender, it was win and in. Unfortunately, the strategy of pretending to be extremely good was not going to work against them, mainly because their top scorer, Michael Arnold, knew that I wasn't. We'd come up in the same class and had played many matches of varying stakes over the course of our parallel careers throughout undergraduate and law school. (I was even staying with him for the weekend.) It was a close game, but I played too cautiously toward the end and ended up losing by around 30 (I believe the game was clinched on tossup 18 or 19).

Luckily, I had a chance to redeem myself in a tiebreaker match against Alabama. I don't remember much about the game, other than that it played out similarly to the NYU match before it. At some point, I made an educated guess on a physics bonus part and converted the "Fermi golden rule," and that made me feel fairly confident that I would win, which I did. I went on to lose all but one matchup in the playoffs, becoming enraged about a protest resolution along the way.

EDIT: Naveed reminds me that Marnold's submission specifically challenged Bruce to replace the Marxist geography tossup with a boring tossup on the physical geography of Tanzania, a challenge that Bruce readily accepted.
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Re: Your nationals stories—no title teams allowed

Post by Rufous-capped Thornbill »

My OSU teams were never in contention to win, but we were always good enough to consistently make 2nd bracket at nats and play meaningful games with just about all but the top 5-10 teams in the nation or so. This meant that we played a lot of close games at national tournaments, losing some heart breakers and pulling upsets.

My very first ACF Nationals was in 2011, which is an, uh, infamous tournament where only the packets and Matt Jackson truly won. However, as bad as I was at that point in my college career (I don't think I or anyone else on our team had double digit PPG, though it's impossible to know because like 1/3rd of the playoff stats are lost forever), we did manage to upset Chicago A in the 2nd or 3rd round in part because I one-lined a tossup on Sam Shepard's Buried Child, which I had read my senior year of high school while taking a theatre class at Kent State taught by an old actor from the 60s avant garde scene (her description of being in a performance of Beckett's Play had earned me a one-liner at ACF Fall earlier in the year). It was a highly rewarding moment, because it proved that I could get good buzzes against even elite, storied teams like Chicago, and it showed that the way to do this was by deep reading and realizing that good buzzes can come from anywhere a curious-minded player trained their attention. I played dozens of tournaments and got much better overall in the following years, but that's probably the greatest buzz I ever had.
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Re: Your nationals stories—no title teams allowed

Post by ThisIsMyUsername »

Since Andrew Hart has opened up the door to reminiscing about playing ACF Nationals 2013 solo...

Just how much of a wacky roller coaster that tournament was going to be for me was forecast by my first game (my first ever encounter with Andrew Wang): he beat me to a tossup on "Erlkönig" (the only music tossup I lost all tournament) and I beat him to a tossup on chi-squared (whatever the hell that is...). In the end, six of my games went down to the last tossup, including four of the five matches that I played on Sunday:

I lost the first down-the-wire match by five points, to Chicago B. I nabbed the last tossup, but then failed to convert enough bonus parts. The first one was on the Angolan Civil War. Unfortunately, I always confuse Angola and Mozambique--in part because of the Portuguese names and in part because I never remember whether the M or the A in the MPLA is what stands for the country--and I said the wrong one. I had made the same mistake only a few days earlier at a Yale practice that I'd crashed. Matt Jackson was in the room for my game against Chicago B and roasted me for that. On an earlier bonus, I had been unable to pull the title of Chandler's "The Simple Art of Murder," despite having read it. This loss is what prevented me from making the top bracket, and I am still angry about it.

My second such game was against Berkeley A. Right before the game began, one of my opponents turned to another (presumably the science player?) and said "Don't buzz early on the science. John doesn't know science." He obeyed, and I proceeded to win three of the four science, all live buzzes, none of them early. (I later learned from Jerry's video that I got the bio and chem in the same places Eric did in his match against UVA, which makes me think that the editing might have something to do with my opponents' inability to buzz on earlier clues...) Across the national tournaments I've played, I've gotten somewhere around 15-20 science buzzes, but this was the only time I've gotten more than one in a single game.

The next of these games was against Stanford. It featured my last live science buzz of the tournament (on a common-link on scientists named Lamb). I needed to get both of the last tossups to win. I first-lined the first of these, on the clue "Harold Bloom praised this work as 'the best story in the world' in The Western Canon." I had not read The Western Canon, but Bloom had expressed that opinion in class one day, and I remembered it. Alas, I lost tossup twenty, because Benji (unlike me) knows stuff about Chinese dragons.

I won the other three: I believe I got all of the last three against OSU, but I may be mistaken. I got the last one against WUSTL. And luckily, NYU shared my ignorance of what helicases are, so the last one went dead in our match.

Exciting times. But I wouldn't want to do it again.
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Re: Your nationals stories—no title teams allowed

Post by Oh No You Didn't »

Oh man, 2013 ACF Nationals!

I played this solo as a freshman with very little knowledge of what I was to expect at Nats (besides late buzzes and not a lot of points).

I remember before the tournament being baffled that there was a possibility that I would become the D2 champion by default, and after reading a preview by the dastardly Mike Cheyne which joked that I out of frustration due to playing solo would play with a tennis ball with Charles Martin's name written on it obtained a tennis ball with Charles' name on it and played with it the entire weekend.

I primarily remember this tournament because I had the worst delivery pizza in my life in Newark. I think Illinois did pretty well too, but I'm not super sure.

I remember John attempting to use the vowel rule to get points on an answer of "clostrodium" for a tossup early on, and I think the first tossup I got that round was on the Tuatha de Danaan. I also converted a tossup on the Simmons-Smith tossup that round, which I had never heard of until the day before when Aaron Rosenberg was going over his old quizbowl notes, and I successfully matched an identical description of the only ochem reaction he had in there to the giveaway. I also remember sitting on that tossup on The Erl King for so long because I thought it must be something different since John didn't buzz on the only music leadin I had ever recognized.

I believe I won a game against Dartmouth because I gave an answer of "Charge of the Mamelukes" to a tossup, then pestered the moderator to take my answer before Dartmouth had a chance to provide their own answer on the basis of that was the typical name for that painting that I was familiar with and Will seemed to be in agreement (I am still baffled as to how that wasn't in the answerline)

I remember getting dumpstered for most of this tournament and being upset at a tossup on Helheim because I had recognized one of the clues as being Hraesvelgr but remembered that wikipedia just claimed he lived "at the end of the world" and losing to a Chicago squadron of Kay Li and Michael Coates as a result. When we played a DII final, we had Sid Hariharan read because someone jokingly suggested Sid and so I said "sure!". I apparently won that game due to converting a tossup on Tlazolteotl at the giveaway while knowing nothing substantial, but managed to get from Aztec and "Eater of Filth" to the answer due to remembering an old Teitler myth singles subtitled "Tlazoteotl chows down" which earned me a trophy that was more substantial that Illinois A's overall trophy (which just said First Place Overall, and didn't even tell you what goddamn event it was for!)

That tournament was draining, but I'm enough of a glutton for punishment that I would probably do it again given that I am much better at quizbowl now than I was at 17.
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Re: Your nationals stories—no title teams allowed

Post by CPiGuy »

My freshman year, at D2ICT, we pulled off one of the greatest comebacks I've seen in a quizbowl match from anyone. It was also some of the best personal packet luck I've ever experienced.

(It should also be noted that the match started off with me first-cluing an ecology tossup based off my having read Kathryn Lasky's Guardians of Ga'Hoole series in third grade, and therefore knowing the natural habitats of various types of owls. That should probably have been an omen.)

After tossup 19 we're down 255-155 with less than a minute on the clock. Next tossup is history. Idk what's happening, my teammate gets it late. Cool.

Geography bonus on the Appalachian Trail? Ooh, I know things about the Appalachian Trail. Hard part is a Maine thing, so I in fact know enough things to dispense with all three parts in about 15 seconds.

The score is 255-195. About 20-30 seconds left. Social science. I recognize a clue from having read Jon Ronson's "The Psychopath Test", buzz in, say "psychopathy". Power. We're down 45. "For ten points each, answer these questions about popular music involving women named Eleanor."

Goddammit. We're so bad at trash. The first part is about Eleanor Rigby. We all shout the correct answer. I look at the scores and look at the clock. We can't tie even if we 30 the bonus and we're probably not getting any more parts. Clock's running down. Ten seconds. I interrupt the moderator and forfeit the rest of the bonus, pulling out everyone's favorite NAQT rulebook edge case.

Last tossup. We're down 35. It's philosophy. Oh shit, "an argument that having this property is inherently better than not having it" -- I remember using that argument in high school debate, is this just "existence"? It is! for power! History bonus now. I have no idea what's happening. Some famine? David pulls "Holodomor" out of nowhere. We all know the easy part on Stalin. Down to the last bonus part... and David knows it again, "show trials", and we win by 10.

I'm pretty sure those were my only social science and philosophy buzzes of the entire tournament, respectively -- to have them both be powers in the last two tossups of a game we won by 10 was pretty ridiculous.
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Re: Your nationals stories—no title teams allowed

Post by ThisIsMyUsername »

Banned Tiny Toon Adventures Episode wrote: Fri Mar 13, 2020 6:35 pm I remember John attempting to use the vowel rule to get points on an answer of "clostrodium" for a tossup early on
That's right, I totally forgot about that! That definitely should have been accepted! Argh, my precious science points!
John Lawrence
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Re: Your nationals stories—no title teams allowed

Post by excessive dismemberment »

I'm gonna talk about my time at ICT 2018, and in particular 2 rounds, one of which I got 0 points.

In our last prelim game, we were playing UCSD, and it was looking like a fairly low scoring game. I had proceeded to contribute very little in the first half, and we were up something like 90-30. In the second half, I first lined 2 tossups in a row: one on a clue about Nick Kyrgios, and the other on a clue that I only knew from reading the latest Magnus Chase book within the previous couple of weeks. The points we got from those tossups and the accompanying bonuses were the majority of the points we ended up getting in the second half, with us winning 170-150 in a game where both teams heard 9 bonuses for 7.78 ppb. This ended up being what got us into the middle bracket, and we proceeded to have only one win the rest of the day, which I will talk about next.

In what I think was our first superplayoff round, we played Harvard. At this point, I was very tired. I had bad memories of getting tired in the afternoon at ICT the previous year and not being able to buzz without negging, so I proceeded to start doing that this round. I negged three times, with my negs getting progressively dumber, and I think the last one involved me saying Lady Macbeth when the tossup was clearly asking for a character in Hamlet. I think I remember Conor looking at me after that neg with the expression of someone who was wondering what had happened to my brain. Later in the round, with me contributing -15 points, a myth tossup comes up, and the lead-in sounds vaguely familiar to me. I ended up just focusing on that for a bit, and I realized that it was talking about Bhima, and buzzed in. My teammate David (correctly) looked very nervous at the idea of me buzzing that round, but we got 15 points, taking my total for the round to 0. We ended up winning 225-175 in the end, with me not negging anymore, and Conor and Kazuma playing particularly well.

That tournament was my favorite nats experience, especially since we probably had no business being in middle bracket as a team with the 5th lowest ppb. Going 3-10 to finish 24th out of 36 is not a typical success story, but I still feel proud of it.
Rudra Ranganathan
University of Michigan '20
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