Harvard Fall Tournament XIII Available for Mirrors (2018-19)

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Harvard Fall Tournament XIII Available for Mirrors (2018-19)

Post by AGoodMan » Thu Jun 07, 2018 11:06 am

Hello everyone, it is my pleasure to announce our 13th edition of the Harvard Fall Tournament set, HFT XIII. The set will be available for mirrors from 11/10/18 (HFT main site) to 5/19/19 (the Sunday before the 2019 HSNCT).

Production Details
I will be head-editing the set with help from Jiho Park, Jakob Myers, and Raynor Kuang. The questions will be written by myself, Michael Yue, Alex Cohen, Kelvin Li, and the rest of the Harvard team, with additional contributions from alumni Robert Chu and Jiho Park. Will Alston, and Jordan Brownstein will also provide feedback for the set. As of today (6/7/2018), we have written roughly 20% of the set.

Set Details
HFT has traditionally been one of the most well-known high school regular-plus difficulty housewrites, with last year's HFT XII scoring a 1.96 on Fred Morlan's adjustments. (For reference, the NAQT IS-series is deemed to be the standard for high school "regular" difficulty and is thus scored a 0. The harder a set's bonuses are, the higher the adjustment score.) We plan to keep difficulty around the same, while keeping the tossup-difficulty a bit more uniform than last year. HFT XIII will consist of 15 power-marked rounds: 13 regular-plus difficulty rounds, and 2 harder difficulty rounds intended for finals that may approach HSNCT-level difficulty. All tossups will be 5-6 lines of 10 point Times New Roman font including powermarking. A tiebreaker tossup and bonus question from the Big Three (literature/science/history) will be provided with each round, in addition to emergency backup questions.

The distribution is unchanged from last year, and is the following:

4/4 Literature (1/1 American, 1/1 European, 1/1 British, 1/1 World/Ancient/Miscellaneous)
4/4 Science (1/1 Biology, 1/1 Chemistry, 1/1 Physics, 1/1 Math/CS/Earth Science/Astronomy/Other)
4/4 History (1/1 American, 1/1 World, 2/2 European/British/Ancient)
3/3 Fine Arts (1/1 Painting/Sculpture, 1/1 Classical Music, 1/1 Other Arts)
1/1 Social Science/Philosophy
1/1 Religion
1/1 Mythology
1/1 Geography/Modern World
1/1 Popular Culture

Like previous years, we will tweak some of the subdistributions to emphasize certain topics appropriate for high school, while de-emphasizing others that are less appropriate for high school. Popular culture questions will also aim to be more culturally relevant and less "trashy."

Mirrors
We welcome any and all mirror requests! The mirror fee will be $15 per non-host team present at the mirror site, and can potentially be negotiated for special considerations like very low/high attendance, etc. This negotiability is completely at our discretion and is in no way set in stone. If there is more than one mirror request for the same geographical region, mirrors will be awarded based on attendance size, quality/consistency of program, and first-come first-serve (not in any particular order).

If you are interested in mirroring HFT XIII or have any questions about it, please contact me at myung_suh@college.harvard.edu. I'll try my best to reply to emails with all possible haste, and will make regular updates to mirror sites in a separate post below. At the end of the mirror period (currently 5/19/19), we will upload the set, hopefully in time for teams to use as practice material for the 2019 HSNCT.

Final Comments
HFT XIII will be the third HFT I'm involved with, and I'm very excited to write and edit the set. Last year's HFT XII was mirrored all over the country, and we're aiming to generate the same (if not more) interest with HFT XIII. We will ensure that the set will continue to be innovative and of the highest quality. Lastly, we appreciate any questions or comments regarding anything about the set -- we're here to work with you and your tournament! Just shoot me an email and we'll get the ball rolling.
Last edited by AGoodMan on Fri Nov 02, 2018 2:45 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament XIII Available for Mirrors (2018

Post by AGoodMan » Thu Jun 07, 2018 11:08 am

Mirror List
11/10/18: HFT Main Site at Harvard (Northeast)
11/10/18: CATT XIV at Chattahoochee High School (Georgia)
11/17/18: Sylacauga High School mirror (Alabama)
11/17/18: Michigan State mirror (Michigan)
11/17/18: TQBA mirror (Texas)
12/8/18: 2018 MOQBA Fall Championship (Missouri)
12/8/18: Rockford Auburn HFT Mirror (Illinois)
12/8/18: Maggie Walker Governor's School Invitational (Virginia)
12/15/18: Davis HS (California)
12/15/18: Grapes of Smath (South Carolina)
1/13/19: Santa Fe College (Florida) (* for community college teams)
2/9/19: Johns Hopkins mirror (Maryland)
3/9/19: Aurora High School (Ohio)
Minnesota mirror (pre-nats season)
Triton Winter (UCSD)
Last edited by AGoodMan on Wed Dec 05, 2018 12:08 am, edited 25 times in total.
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament XIII Available for Mirrors (2018

Post by 1.82 » Wed Jul 18, 2018 1:32 pm

I made this inquiry in last year's set announcement, but presumably everyone at Harvard collectively missed it since no reply was made. This inquiry concerns information pertinent to potential mirror hosts as well as to teams that may be interested in playing the set, so I hope that it receives a response this year.
1.82 wrote:
jiholius wrote:HFT XII will consist of 15 power-marked rounds: 13 regular difficulty rounds, and 2 harder difficulty rounds intended for finals.
I am curious as to why the finals rounds are more difficult.
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament XIII Available for Mirrors (2018

Post by AGoodMan » Thu Jul 19, 2018 9:56 am

1.82 wrote:I made this inquiry in last year's set announcement, but presumably everyone at Harvard collectively missed it since no reply was made. This inquiry concerns information pertinent to potential mirror hosts as well as to teams that may be interested in playing the set, so I hope that it receives a response this year.
1.82 wrote:
jiholius wrote:HFT XII will consist of 15 power-marked rounds: 13 regular difficulty rounds, and 2 harder difficulty rounds intended for finals.
I am curious as to why the finals rounds are more difficult.
Naveed and I had a private conversation about this question, and I have decided to continue with the current format for this year's set. Note that no mirrors have to use the finals packets if they don't have or want to. The conversation with Naveed has brought to me some legitimate arguments against more difficult finals packets, and accordingly, this may be the last HFT that has such finals packets (we will have a more in-depth internal conversation about that throughout this season).
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament XIII Available for Mirrors (2018

Post by cthewolf » Tue Jul 24, 2018 5:30 pm

Out of curiosity, what is the reasoning against harder finals?

My understanding was that harder sets differentiate teams with deeper knowledge and this would be more necessary in later rounds. Personally, I would advocate for 3 steps: prelims, playoffs, and finals, but this isn't very practical as each tournament has a different format. I think the best solution would be a gradual increase in difficulty from round 1-14 or 15 so that corresponding rounds of playoffs are harder than those of prelims and finals is harder than playoffs.
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament XIII Available for Mirrors (2018

Post by UlyssesInvictus » Tue Jul 24, 2018 8:25 pm

Please note: I am not speaking on behalf of the Harvard playing team, or the HFT writing/editing team. I do have editing input for HFT this year, but it's extremely minimal compared to in years past. Ultimately all decisions about difficulty, distribution, etc. are up to Jon Suh and other active Harvard members this year.

So, to put out the reasoning for not having harder finals first: essentially, since all your questions should be the same quality, and they should over the course of the entire tournament be as good as possible at differentiating in skill, there's not really a good reason to have finals be different than a normal question. This is true of prelims/playoffs questions as well. Simply put, your questions should at any time be good at differentiating between all skill levels.

However, I'm personally of the opinion that this is only applicable if your writing purpose for a finals packet is to determine player skill. I think most people who are playing HFT are higher caliber players who enjoy challenging themselves, and would see a "harder" finals packet as a chance to learn more "non-canon" content than they might in the questions that have to pad out the rest of the entire set.

I'll note that every year I edited HFT I always advised mirror sites that they were free to either use the late round prelims packets or the "finals" questions as the actual finals questions--and almost always, people reported back that they preferred to use the finals questions. I don't think this is a particularly self-selecting scenario. I think that, with the rest of the field not being subjected to content they're not expecting, the top 2 teams usually really enjoy playing hard questions that they're expecting.

Two other related things:
- Of course, you can't just make a finals packet so difficult it's just not comparable. In my experience as editor, writers (and editors) have a bad habit of getting lazy and just sticking every "harder than expected" question into finals so that the question won't get wasted, instead of writing a difficulty appropriate question from scratch.
- In my experience as a player, way more people are having de facto harder-than-prelims finals packets than are actually reporting so when they announce their set.
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament XIII Available for Mirrors (2018

Post by Irreligion in Bangladesh » Wed Jul 25, 2018 3:55 am

Speaking to Christy's note about prelims/playoffs/finals potentially having 3 separate difficulty levels as not being practical for differently formatted tournaments; tournament head editors should actively avoid creating a prelims/playoffs difficulty separation, because some tournament structures carry over game results from prelims to playoffs. (A common example - you have 3 morning pools of 6 teams, with the top 2 teams in each pool advancing to the championship pool. If the three pools are A, B, and C, teams A1 and A2 played each other in the morning, so rather than re-play that matchup (and B1/B2 and C1/C2) in the afternoon, the result is carried over and the playoffs need 4 rounds to finish the round robin.) In such cases, a prelims-difficulty packet is used for playoff game purposes, which is the situation you were hoping to avoid by making the separate distinction. A head editor can't control that for other mirrors, so it's best to not put your mirrors in a tough spot.

To that end, aspiring writers - don't write later packets as harder than earlier packets, and don't write finals packets at a harder level than your regular packets unless you write enough regular packets to guarantee that a tournament can run without them. (Thanks for doing so, Harvard!)
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament XIII Available for Mirrors (2018-19)

Post by theclassicsguy » Mon Sep 24, 2018 6:05 pm

Is there any chance of an online mirror happening for this? I know that it's not customary, but I was just wondering.
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament XIII Available for Mirrors (2018-19)

Post by AGoodMan » Mon Sep 24, 2018 10:50 pm

theclassicsguy wrote:
Mon Sep 24, 2018 6:05 pm
Is there any chance of an online mirror happening for this? I know that it's not customary, but I was just wondering.
It's not something we've considered so far. I wouldn't plan on it yet, unless there is a significant increase in interest among the community.
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament XIII Available for Mirrors (2018-19)

Post by AGoodMan » Thu Oct 04, 2018 1:08 pm

We're still actively looking for mirrors! We'd love to see a mirror (or more) on the West Coast. Please don't hesitate to contact me.
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament XIII Available for Mirrors (2018-19)

Post by AGoodMan » Sun Nov 11, 2018 12:14 am

Now that the first mirrors have taken place, moderators, can we get a private discussion thread please?
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament XIII Available for Mirrors (2018-19)

Post by AGoodMan » Thu Nov 15, 2018 2:10 am

AGoodMan wrote:
Sun Nov 11, 2018 12:14 am
Now that the first mirrors have taken place, moderators, can we get a private discussion thread please?
The private forum has been created. For those who are not familiar with them, go to User Control Panel -> Usergroups -> Select "2018 HFT Discussion" -> Click "Submit". I'll be monitoring requests periodically.
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