Saturday, June 30, 2007: VETO in Vancouver and Toronto

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Saturday, June 30, 2007: VETO in Vancouver and Toronto

Post by vetovian »


The Vancouver Estival Trivia Open (VETO) is the nation's longest-running annual quiz bowl tournament. Again, there will be a mirror in Toronto, and a championship match via telephone between the site winners. For up-to-date information, check the web page and the weblog

VETO will be run "guerrilla" style, meaning:
* each team must bring an original packet of questions, which will not be edited by anyone else associated with the tournament;
* participants must moderate and keep score during rounds when they aren't playing.

Check the CAQL results page for links to detailed reports of VETO in previous years.


This event is FREE for those playing in Vancouver.
In Toronto, it will cost $20 per team with a packet of questions, or $40 without a packet.


VETO is an "open" tournament in the sense that we don't exclude anyone because of age, student status, degrees obtained or not obtained, nationality, etc. However, recognizing that people come to VETO with vastly different levels of experience, we'd like to give priority to those who have a history of providing good questions in the tossup/bonus format.

So instead of accepting teams on a "first come, first served" basis until space fills up, this is what we'll do:
* Any team that has won VETO in a previous year (in Vancouver or in Ontario) has an automatic invitation to play this year.
* Any other team must apply to the VETO Invitation Committee.
* Applications are simple: just e-mail two OLD full-length quiz bowl packets (at least 20 tossups and 20 bonuses in each), such that the majority of the questions in both packets were written by members of your prospective team.
* If some of your team members have written a lot of questions separately but you don't actually have two packets to which you've together contributed a majority of the questions, then just send us 20 old tossups and 20 old bonuses that were all written by your members.
* Within a few days of receiving your application, the Invitation Committee will inform you of its decision either to accept or to defer your application. If your application is not accepted, you may appeal by sending us more old questions that you've written.
* Teams whose applications are deferred, either because they didn't have enough questions to show us or because their questions didn't meet our standards, will have another chance. After June 16, deferred teams will be allowed to play if there is still room. The Invitation Committee will decide whether each deferred team should write questions.

Don't feel intimidated by this application/invitation procedure. The point is to make sure that the people who will be writing the questions for VETO have experience writing questions. This is important because it's a guerrilla tournament, and nobody else will be editing. As for how high our standards are: the vast majority of the packets in the Stanford Archive would meet our criteria for acceptance.

Even if your team doesn't write questions, we expect you to have enough familiarity with the quiz bowl format to be able to staff games during your bye rounds.

A team can have any number of players, but no more than four can play at a time. If you don't have a full team of four, we can match you up with other players. Solo teams are OK, too: we'll set the schedule so that other teams will have byes and you won't have to staff more than one room by yourself.

The size of the field in Toronto is capped at 12 teams.
The cap in Vancouver is 8 teams. There may be room for a 9th team if it rotates players in and out so that it can supply people to moderate games in every round.


Saturday, June 30, 2007, from about 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. local time.

VETO will be on the same day as the unrelated Sun n' Fun VIII and a 1/2 tournament at the University of South Florida in Tampa, and also the NAQT HSNCT mirror at the University of Maryland in College Park. But if you are interested in either of those events, they will have mirrors in other locations a week earlier, on June 23: a mirror of Sun n' Fun VIII and 1/2 at the University of Maryland in College Park, and a mirror of NAQT HSNCT at both the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis- St. Paul, and the University of Tennessee in Chattanooga.

If you would like to participate in VETO, please notify us by June 16, 2007.


In the heart of downtown Vancouver, B.C., Canada: Simon Fraser University at Harbour Centre, 515 West Hastings St. This attractive, intelligent, and extremely convenient location is directly across the street from the Waterfront SkyTrain station, the SeaBus terminal, and, for those who really want to arrive in style on a Sikorsky S-76, the Harbour Heliport.

By road, Vancouver is about:
3 hours from Seattle;
9 hours from Eugene, Oregon;
18 hours from Berkeley, California;
24 hours from Irvine, California, or Las Vegas, Nevada;
39 hours from Tulsa, Oklahoma, or Chicago;
60 hours from Fairbanks.
All-day parking on Saturday runs up to about $5 at Harbour Centre.

Vancouver International Airport is a premier global gateway served by more than 40 airlines with scheduled direct flights from 31 communities in British Columbia, another 33 locations elsewhere in North America, 12 cities in Asia/Pacific, and 3 cities in Europe.

Devotees of Southwest Airlines or JetBlue may prefer to fly to Seattle/Tacoma and then take the Quick Shuttle or rent a car. Non-residents of Canada should have no problem driving an American rental car across the border, but Canadian residents aren't allowed to do this. Also keep in mind that even if it's cheaper to fly to Sea-Tac, if you factor in the time and money you spend on the 3—4 hours ground transportation each way, it may work out to be more worthwhile to take Air Canada or WestJet or another airline directly to Vancouver.


VETO's Eastern Trivia Open will be held in Sidney Smith Hall (100 St. George St.) at the University of Toronto's downtown St. George campus. Named after the Secretary of State for External Affairs under Diefenbaker, Sidney Smith Hall is a 7-floor, fully air-conditioned facility, whose modern design showcases (aside from the Quiz Bowl team), U of T's Faculty of Arts and Science. It is easily accessible from West of the city (Gardiner Expressway, exit at Spadina) or East/West on the 401 (exit at Avenue Road). On-campus parking is available either at the Rotman Building (second driveway north of Harbord St.) or along St. George, though many off-campus and nearby alternatives are possible. Located in the downtown core of Canada's largest city, Sidney Smith is surrounded by Bloor, Spadina, and College Streets, all of which offer food and shopping for every taste and a wealth of other attractions. A quick drive to either Yonge or Queen St. W will yield more popular stops and diverse cuisine. For any additional directions or details contact the site coordinator.


VETO 2007 will be run "guerrilla" style, without central editing and will be staffed by players. We'll play at least a full round-robin, as many rounds as packets from the two sites, likely ending in a site final (which some may consider an unfair format).

Then there will be a Trans-Canada Championship Match over the telephone between the winners at each site, playing on a packet by Andy Saunders.

Games will be conducted according to NAQT rules, except that matches will be untimed, with 20 tossups per round, and there will be no 15-point "power" tossups.


Detailed question guidelines are on a separate web page which includes a section with many, many useful reference links categorized by subject.

Rounds will be untimed, with 20 tossups played in each. But you will have to write more than 20 tossups and 20 bonuses, because you may need tie-breaking questions, or you may end up having to throw out some questions because of game errors or because they ask for information that already came up in somebody else's packet.

So your packet should include (at least):
* 24 tossups, each worth 10 points -- no 15-point "powers";
* 22 bonuses, each worth 30 points -- but no single-part, single-answer questions.

Use the following subject distribution for both tossups and bonuses:

Science, Math, Technology 3 -- 4
History 3 -- 4
Literature 3 -- 4
Geography 2 -- 3
Current Events 2 -- 3
Fine Arts 1 -- 2
Religion, Philosophy, Mythology 1 -- 2
Social Science 1 -- 2
Popular Culture, Games, Sports 1 -- 2
General Knowledge 0 -- 3

Canadian content quota:
Of the first 20 tossups, at least 4 must refer to Canadian people, places, things, events, and created works. The same goes for the first 20 bonuses. But overall, don't exceed 50% Canadian content in your packet. Your Canadian questions should also cover diverse subject areas and not be clustered in Geography or Literature, etc.

Tossups should include at least two separate clues, preferably at least four. Multiple-choice bonuses should be used sparingly, if at all, and should provide at least four choices.

In order that we can keep to a reasonable schedule, questions must not be too long:
* No tossup question, and no part of a bonus question, should exceed 6 lines if using a fixed-width font with 79 characters per line.
* No bonus question should ever require more than four separate team conferrals.

To promote fun and variety, teams are encouraged to bring multimedia questions (visual, auditory, tactile, olfactory, gustatory). These tend to work better as bonuses than as tossups. Let us know if you plan to have any audio questions, so that we can arrange enough of the proper equipment to play them.
Every packet must contain at least one multimedia question: It can be as simple as presenting a printout of a picture you found through Google and asking a few questions about the picture.

For our further amusement, we encourage rounds with hidden themes. In the past couple of years, we've had:
* a packet in which every tossup answer was also the name of a school that had participated in the SmartAsk TV game show;
* a packet in which every answer contained the name of an animal;
* a packet in which every answer contained the syllable "NI";
* a packet in which every tossup answer began with the letter T, and every bonus had either answers beginning with the letter B or a theme that began with the letter B.

The Stanford archive contains most of the question packets used at VETO in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2006. You might note that some writers did not follow all of the guidelines. :)
We've taken the list of answers that have come up in VETO in 2005 and 2006 and categorized them by subject. Try to write about things that are not on this list.


The leading individual scorer at VETO in Vancouver will take over the title of West Coast Dominatrix of Relevant Knowledge (WC-DORK).
The leading individual scorer at VETO in Toronto will take over the title of Nerd Of The East (NOTE).

Anyone may sponsor a prize and select a winner according to any criteria. Last year, there were at least seven prizes awarded to individuals and teams in Vancouver.


Separate studies released by the U.K.-based Economist Intelligence Unit (October, 2005) and the U.S.-based Mercer Human Resource Consulting (April, 2007) both concluded that Vancouver offers the highest quality of life of any city in the entire world (or the world outside Switzerland, according to Mercer). We are not exaggerating; check the links yourself.

Special events to entice you:
* The day after VETO, celebrate Canada Day at Canada Place, three blocks from Harbour Centre.
* The Vancouver International Jazz Festival extends from June 22 to July 1.

See for more information about Vancouver, including links to special promotions.

While Vancouver has a reputation for heavy rainfall, it does not rain much in the summer. Average precipitation during June is below that of seven of the 10 largest United States cities (by 2000 census population), the exceptions being the desert or semi-desert cities of Los Angeles, Phoenix, and San Diego. And of course, during July, Vancouver has more hours of daylight than any American city outside of Alaska. On VETO day, sunset will occur at 9:20 p.m. It doesn't get any later than that. Twilight in these northern latitudes doesn't begin until after 10 p.m., and to top it off, there will be a full moon that night.

There are quite a few reasonably priced hotels in downtown Vancouver, within walking distance of the tournament location. Try for looking up accommodation online, but do not be tempted by cheap rates in the East Hastings neighbourhood. This is identified by the V6A postal prefix area, which has the lowest median income in all of Canada.

You may also want to consider staying near a SkyTrain station, since trains on the main stretch from New Westminster to Waterfront run every 3 - 4 minutes all day on weekends. Weekend fares are $2.25 per person for 90 minutes of travel anywhere on the transit system, including buses and SeaBus.

A cheap option is a dorm bed at the HI Vancouver Downtown hostel, which we've checked out and found is pretty good as hostels go. It is in a nice neighbourhood 2.1 km from the tournament.


If you are interested in participating, please contact the appropriate site coordinator by June 16, 2007.
Vancouver: Peter at [email protected] (pmcc at
Toronto: Jason at [email protected] (j_dickson5 at

Updates will be posted on the web page

"A lot of Imperialist ladies asked me to tea to meet schoolmasters from New Zealand and editors from Vancouver, and that was the dismalest business of all."
- John Buchan, The Thirty-Nine Steps
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Post by First Chairman »

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Post by vetovian »

Results in Vancouver (click here):

We played a double round-robin with no playoffs.

1. UBC Pseudo (7 - 1)
2. UBC (4 - 4)
3. FARSIDE (4 - 4)
4. SFU Junta (3 - 5)
5. Jumper (2 - 6)

UBC Pseudo kept the title it won last year, and then played in the Trans-Canada Championship Match against "Consolation prize for furthest-traveled team" in Toronto, on a packet by Andy Saunders read by Patrick Kachurek. Consolation prize won that game, 320 to 205. The web page includes a link to a recording of that game.

The packets from this tournament will be collected and posted on the Stanford Archive.

"Vancouver, Vancouver, this is it!" -- famous last words
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Post by bsmith »

In Toronto:

Consolation Prize for Furthest-Traveled Team (Ottawa & Sudbury): 5-1
Team Botswana (Toronto): 4-2
Toronto 1: 4-2
B2B: 4-2
Team Barbarian (Toronto): 3-3
UWO had a team at 1-5 and one at 0-6 but I do not remember which was which

The 4-2 teams were sorted based on normalized points per game.

Toronto 1 faced B2B in a best-of-three for third place, with B2B having a one game advantage from their round-robin match. B2B took third after winning the first playoff match.

Consolation Prize faced Team Botswana for the championship in a best-of-three, with Consolation Prize having a one game advantage. Team Botswana won the first game 235-210 to force a deciding match, which Consolation Prize won 380-80.

I don't have SQBS results or anything else (except the scores of matches I played).
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Post by Interrupt »

Rather nitpicky elaboration on bsmith's post:

The "UWO 1" team was at 1-5, and the "UWO 2" team (listed as "UWO/McGill") was 0-6.