2018 NAQT HSNCT: Registration open!

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2018 NAQT HSNCT: Registration open!

Postby Important Bird Area » Mon Nov 06, 2017 7:45 pm

naqt.com wrote:NAQT is pleased to announce that its 2018 High School National Championship Tournament will be held at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis hotel in Atlanta, Georgia, on May 25–27, 2018. This is Memorial Day weekend. This is the same hotel that hosted the 2017 HSNCT.

The field for the tournament is limited to 304 teams.


Full details

Qualified teams may now register here

Current field
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Re: 2018 NAQT HSNCT: May 26-27, Atlanta

Postby Important Bird Area » Mon Nov 06, 2017 7:54 pm

Note that we have made a number of schedule and format changes for the 2018 HSNCT (as we prepare for the possibility of more than 304 teams attending the tournament). Please review the tournament announcement carefully before booking your team's airfare for this event.

naqt.com wrote:The tournament’s preliminary games will take place throughout Saturday and on Sunday morning, and its playoff games will take place on Sunday afternoon and evening.

Unlike in past years, there will be two Sessions of play on Saturday; this will effectively group each team's byes together to allow it a longer block of time for sightseeing.

Each team will be assigned to either the Morning or Afternoon Session on Saturday; this determines whether it plays its first seven preliminary games in the Morning (8:45 – 12:15) or the Afternoon (2:45 – 7:15). The two groups will be merged for each team's final three preliminary games on Sunday morning.

Each team may request a specific Session when it registers, but these assignments are not guaranteed. NAQT does make the following guarantees:

NAQT will guarantee the first 100 Session requests (by registration date).

NAQT will make a good-faith effort to honor all requests (with priority going to teams that register early)

If a school wants all of its teams in the same Session, NAQT will guarantee that (though it might not be the school's preferred Session).

If a school wants its teams evenly distributed between the Sessions, NAQT will guarantee that (though not necessarily which teams end up in each Session).

NAQT will confirm teams' Session assignments no later than May 15.
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Re: 2018 NAQT HSNCT: May 26-27, Atlanta

Postby CPiGuy » Mon Nov 06, 2017 10:01 pm

Important Bird Area wrote:Note that we have made a number of schedule and format changes for the 2018 HSNCT (as we prepare for the possibility of more than 304 teams attending the tournament). Please review the tournament announcement carefully before booking your team's airfare for this event.

naqt.com wrote:The tournament’s preliminary games will take place throughout Saturday and on Sunday morning, and its playoff games will take place on Sunday afternoon and evening.

Unlike in past years, there will be two Sessions of play on Saturday; this will effectively group each team's byes together to allow it a longer block of time for sightseeing.

Each team will be assigned to either the Morning or Afternoon Session on Saturday; this determines whether it plays its first seven preliminary games in the Morning (8:45 – 12:15) or the Afternoon (2:45 – 7:15). The two groups will be merged for each team's final three preliminary games on Sunday morning.

Each team may request a specific Session when it registers, but these assignments are not guaranteed. NAQT does make the following guarantees:

NAQT will guarantee the first 100 Session requests (by registration date).

NAQT will make a good-faith effort to honor all requests (with priority going to teams that register early)

If a school wants all of its teams in the same Session, NAQT will guarantee that (though it might not be the school's preferred Session).

If a school wants its teams evenly distributed between the Sessions, NAQT will guarantee that (though not necessarily which teams end up in each Session).

NAQT will confirm teams' Session assignments no later than May 15.


Does this mean that the tournament will finish sufficiently late on Sunday that attendees should plan to travel Monday morning? If so, this is a welcome change for staffers. Thanks!
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Re: 2018 NAQT HSNCT: May 26-27, Atlanta

Postby Important Bird Area » Mon Nov 06, 2017 10:10 pm

CPiGuy wrote:Does this mean that the tournament will finish sufficiently late on Sunday that attendees should plan to travel Monday morning? If so, this is a welcome change for staffers. Thanks!


Exact details will depend on how much travel is involved, but, yes, we expect that more staff will stay overnight Sunday.
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Re: 2018 NAQT HSNCT: May 26-27, Atlanta

Postby Aaron Manby (ironmaster) » Mon Nov 06, 2017 10:15 pm

CPiGuy wrote:Does this mean that the tournament will finish sufficiently late on Sunday that attendees should plan to travel Monday morning? If so, this is a welcome change for staffers. Thanks!


Hopefully staffers with work on Monday would be able to trickle out as they see fit late Sunday afternoon. Interested to see what revisions for staffing requirements NAQT will have with this new schedule.
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Re: 2018 NAQT HSNCT: May 26-27, Atlanta

Postby Ithaca Cricket Ump » Tue Nov 07, 2017 10:41 am

I actually think that this format was a quite clever way to deal with something that doesn't seem to be a huge problem now, but was going to become one in the next couple of years if it wasn't dealt with somehow - the ever-increasing field size. With this system, NAQT does not have to turn teams away or bring on considerably more staff (they may actually need less), but they could deal with a 500 team event in future if the venue was large enough to hold it, since no more than half the teams in the tournament would ever be playing in any one round. A few extra packets of writing is a very small price to pay for being able to deal with that. Having lots of staff and teams leaving on Monday would normally be a big problem, but they have taken advantage of the fact that it's a holiday weekend to assure that it will be a minor problem at most. Staffers will work 20 prelim rounds instead of 16, but they will have a 2.5 hour break after Round 7 and a full night's after Round 14, so that should actually be LESS exhausting than the old way for staffers. Playoff brackets will have to be determined and set up VERY quickly, but something tells me that NAQT has that process close to fully automated by now. Just out of curiosity, how will this change affect Sunday scrimmage rounds? I also expect quite a bit less demand for Friday scrimmages due to the fact that they are now running concurrently with ACRONYM.

Overall, I think this system is going to work just fine as long as HSNCT continues to be held over Memorial Day Weekend, and I admire it as a planner because it is an attempt to deal proactively with an issue that is being effectively dealt with NOW, but had the potential to become a major problem a short way down the road. It demonstrates vision, in my opinion.

--Scott
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Re: 2018 NAQT HSNCT: May 26-27, Atlanta

Postby Granny Soberer » Tue Nov 07, 2017 10:46 am

I mean, a few more packets seems like a not-insignificant load. Are all HSNCT packets at the same difficulty?
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Re: 2018 NAQT HSNCT: May 26-27, Atlanta

Postby Joshua Rutsky » Tue Nov 07, 2017 11:43 am

When I read about these changes, I read about them with some concern, particularly the part about the divided pool at the start of the tournament and the ability for the first 100 teams to select which grouping they will play in.

First, we already know that there is such a thing as a tough draw. Some teams, by dint of the card system and luck, end up playing a tougher prelims schedule than others. That's going to happen, and I doubt anyone could prevent it. I'm no mathematician, so please correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't (1) dividing the field in half, and (2) allowing something other than randomization for starting placement, create more of an issue for this? If teams don't know which side of the pool other teams are opting for, it becomes possible for all the early qualifiers, which will include by logical extrapolation the majority of the strongest teams in the nation, to wind up in the same grouping, but with an even higher chance of having to play each other (151 possible opponents as opposed to 303). That would also lead to top teams meeting earlier in the playoffs as a result of some teams ending up with lower seeds due to those prelim collisions.

If the alternative holds, and teams can see a list of who has opted for each side of the pool, I can see there being a huge opportunity for either collusion among friendly teams (you go here,and I'll go here, and we won't have to play in the prelims), or for teams to wait as long as possible for other teams to commit before opting for a pool in order to ensure the best possible field for themselves. That doesn't seem any better.

I don't love the idea of the split grouping at all because it appears that the odds of playing multiple top 20 teams increases significantly, but not uniformly, and a team can get even more unlucky than used to be likely. That said, I can understand the logistical reasons that NAQT would make such a choice, even if it does virtually ensure that teams that have any confidence in themselves will need to book an extra night at the hotel. Why, however, not at least keep the randomization of the field intact? Is there really that much of a benefit to allowing teams to choose to arrive early Saturday without missing a round to offset the potential for tilting the field through this process?

Hopefully, I'm off base on a lot of this. I'm still trying to work out the ramifications in my head. I'd be grateful for anyone who can explain to me why I'm getting concerned about nothing here.
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Re: 2018 NAQT HSNCT: May 26-27, Atlanta

Postby browen » Tue Nov 07, 2017 3:31 pm

Joshua Rutsky wrote:When I read about these changes, I read about them with some concern, particularly the part about the divided pool at the start of the tournament and the ability for the first 100 teams to select which grouping they will play in.


I do not think many teams in the first 100 to register will opt for the morning session. Selecting the afternoon session allows for more of a buffer in case of any travel related issues, and likely will assist in getting a higher PP20TUH as you can eliminate many possible answer lines by electing to watch the morning session.

Out of curiosity, how many teams are normally eliminated from playoff contention after seven rounds of play? Is there a penalty if they no-show for the merged session Sunday morning?
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Re: 2018 NAQT HSNCT: May 26-27, Atlanta

Postby Ithaca Cricket Ump » Tue Nov 07, 2017 3:39 pm

A small point about what Joshua said: the friendly collusion that he posits could happen would not necessarily prevent teams from playing each other in the prelims. It would prevent them from playing each other in the first seven rounds of the prelims. Not being a member of NAQT I am not privy to the exact details of the card system, but I am under the impression that match ups in early rounds are NOT random anyway - the card assignments are, but the matchups are based on some sort of seeding system.

I agree that the fairest way to do this would be to officially keep the session assignments blind to everyone except the organizers until the tournament. That may not make it IMPOSSIBLE for teams that were inclined to to game the system, but it would make it HARDER to do so.

--Scott
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Re: 2018 NAQT HSNCT: May 26-27, Atlanta

Postby CPiGuy » Tue Nov 07, 2017 3:51 pm

browen wrote:I do not think many teams in the first 100 to register will opt for the morning session. Selecting the afternoon session allows for more of a buffer in case of any travel related issues, and likely will assist in getting a higher PP20TUH as you can eliminate many possible answer lines by electing to watch the morning session.


This is a problem. Perhaps teams not playing in the morning session should be barred from watching morning session games. But then we'd get into issues of spectators, or just teams having their B team give them a notebook full of answerlines at lunch. Either way, I hope this possibility is accounted for somehow, even if it's just by making the afternoon session slightly more difficult.
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Re: 2018 NAQT HSNCT: May 26-27, Atlanta

Postby Ithaca Cricket Ump » Tue Nov 07, 2017 3:52 pm

Compared to what NAQT stands to gain (maybe not in 2018, but in future years), I don't think a few extra packets would be a significant burden at all. Suppose the field expands to 400 teams in 2019 (96 more than last year), and let's also make the simplifying but probably untrue assumption that 304 is the maximum field they can handle doing it the old way. Assuming a $600 average entry fee (actually let's be conservative and say $500), that is $48,000 extra in entry fees NAQT takes in. Also, they will save a LOT of expense on bringing in staff, since they will now only need to have the staff they would have needed before to run a 200 team event, not 304, since no more than half the field is ever playing in a given round. However, since that staff would be staying an extra night in many cases, let's just say staffing costs would stay around the same as now.

I have no idea how much extra it would cost NAQT to produce 4-5 extra HSNCT packets per year, but I am pretty darn certain that cost is nowhere NEAR $48,000.

--Scott
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Re: 2018 NAQT HSNCT: May 26-27, Atlanta

Postby jonah » Tue Nov 07, 2017 5:09 pm

Granny Soberer wrote:I mean, a few more packets seems like a not-insignificant load. Are all HSNCT packets at the same difficulty?
More or less, yes. In practice, we tend to mark a handful of questions as "on the hard side; keep in the playoffs" and a handful as "on the easy side; keep in the prelims," so the playoffs end up a shade harder than the prelims.

edited to add: It is a not-insignificant load, but we believe it to be a worthwhile load. Scott's post, nonwithstanding exact numbers, generally has the right idea.
Last edited by jonah on Tue Nov 07, 2017 5:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 2018 NAQT HSNCT: May 26-27, Atlanta

Postby jonah » Tue Nov 07, 2017 5:09 pm

browen wrote:I do not think many teams in the first 100 to register will opt for the morning session. Selecting the afternoon session allows for more of a buffer in case of any travel related issues, and likely will assist in getting a higher PP20TUH as you can eliminate many possible answer lines by electing to watch the morning session.
This will not work at all. The packets for the two Saturday sessions are being edited as separate sets, in terms of repeat-checking, so there may be very substantive repeats (but no literally identical questions). Even perfect knowledge of the questions in one session will give you no actionable information about what will or will not appear in the other session.

browen wrote:Out of curiosity, how many teams are normally eliminated from playoff contention after seven rounds of play? Is there a penalty if they no-show for the merged session Sunday morning?
It varies a bit, but with 304 teams, after every team has played seven games there will be 67 to 70 teams with at least five losses (i.e., 22% to 23%).
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Re: 2018 NAQT HSNCT: May 26-27, Atlanta

Postby Big Y » Tue Nov 07, 2017 8:06 pm

I'm not worried about the system being gamed.

It is in the interest of NAQT and the quizbowl community to have a fair tournament. To have that, the two fields should be fairly even in strength. Slight differences are not a big deal, because the last three of the ten preliminary matches that each team plays can be across fields, and three out of ten matches is a significant portion. Because NAQT wants a balanced field and has significant control over that balance, a reasonable expectation should be that the fields will be close to balanced.

For teams signing up, they want to be in the weaker field if there is a difference. If two strong teams collude, the collusion will put them in different fields. If a strong team about to register learns that one of the fields is stronger, they will put down a preference for the other field. This aligns with what NAQT and the community want, so it's not really a problem.

(To be clear on the issue of self-disclosure, I have designed card matchups for HSNCT in the past, but I am not doing it this year, and I had no power in this decision.)
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Re: 2018 NAQT HSNCT: May 26-27, Atlanta

Postby vinteuil » Wed Nov 08, 2017 1:20 am

Maybe we're both wrong, but I'd assume that Brian is right above that most teams would prefer the afternoon session, and thus the first 100 will mostly go for that. But aren't the first 100 teams to sign up likely to include many (most? all?) of the top contenders? They qualify earlier, are committed to attending earlier, etc. etc. etc.
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Re: 2018 NAQT HSNCT: May 26-27, Atlanta

Postby GBRodgers12 » Wed Nov 08, 2017 3:42 pm

vinteuil wrote:Maybe we're both wrong, but I'd assume that Brian is right above that most teams would prefer the afternoon session, and thus the first 100 will mostly go for that. But aren't the first 100 teams to sign up likely to include many (most? all?) of the top contenders? They qualify earlier, are committed to attending earlier, etc. etc. etc.


I don't know about the first 100 thing. If still coaching, I would have taken the morning session to most closely align with what a normal tournament is like for my team. I would rather have them playing in the morning like always rather than have rounds drifting into the evening. But maybe I am alone in that?
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Re: 2018 NAQT HSNCT: May 26-27, Atlanta

Postby matthewspatrick » Wed Nov 08, 2017 4:18 pm

Aside from a presumption that teams from the Pacific and possibly Mountain time zones would just as soon not play the morning session when their players may be zombie-like, I'm not sure we can make any broad assumptions as to which session the "top contenders" would prefer. There could be as many coaches wishing to maintain a usual routine as there are those angling for a few more hours of sleep.
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Re: 2018 NAQT HSNCT: May 26-27, Atlanta

Postby Important Bird Area » Wed Nov 08, 2017 11:31 pm

browen wrote:Out of curiosity, how many teams are normally eliminated from playoff contention after seven rounds of play? Is there a penalty if they no-show for the merged session Sunday morning?


About 20% of the teams have been eliminated from playoff contention after seven games. We don't plan on having penalties for Sunday morning no-shows, but we will emphasize to all teams that the Sunday morning games are a critical component of the HSNCT experience and all teams should plan to be there.

Joshua Rutsky wrote:When I read about these changes, I read about them with some concern, particularly the part about the divided pool at the start of the tournament and the ability for the first 100 teams to select which grouping they will play in.

First, we already know that there is such a thing as a tough draw. Some teams, by dint of the card system and luck, end up playing a tougher prelims schedule than others. That's going to happen, and I doubt anyone could prevent it. I'm no mathematician, so please correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't (1) dividing the field in half, and (2) allowing something other than randomization for starting placement, create more of an issue for this? If teams don't know which side of the pool other teams are opting for, it becomes possible for all the early qualifiers, which will include by logical extrapolation the majority of the strongest teams in the nation, to wind up in the same grouping, but with an even higher chance of having to play each other (151 possible opponents as opposed to 303). That would also lead to top teams meeting earlier in the playoffs as a result of some teams ending up with lower seeds due to those prelim collisions.

If the alternative holds, and teams can see a list of who has opted for each side of the pool, I can see there being a huge opportunity for either collusion among friendly teams (you go here,and I'll go here, and we won't have to play in the prelims), or for teams to wait as long as possible for other teams to commit before opting for a pool in order to ensure the best possible field for themselves. That doesn't seem any better.


For the record, we do not plan to post lists of which teams have chosen which sessions.

We will definitely evaluate this format after the completion of the 2018 HSNCT, assessing the statistical balance between the two sessions, customer feedback, and other relevant data. We'll have the opportunity to revise the system for 2019 if such revision is warranted.

That being said, we don't expect imbalance between the pools to be a major problem.

vinteuil wrote:But aren't the first 100 teams to sign up likely to include many (most? all?) of the top contenders? They qualify earlier, are committed to attending earlier, etc. etc. etc.


Of the first 100 attendees to register for the 2017 HSNCT, 48 teams made the playoffs. (Overall, playoff teams were 38% of the 304-team field.) So the scale of this particular effect is relatively small (that is: it is not at all the case that the first 100 registrants are 80 to 90 percent playoff teams, which would constitute a major imbalance).
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Re: 2018 NAQT HSNCT: Registration open!

Postby Important Bird Area » Wed Nov 15, 2017 2:54 pm

Registration is now open for qualified teams.
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Re: 2018 NAQT HSNCT: May 26-27, Atlanta

Postby Important Bird Area » Sun Nov 19, 2017 10:28 pm

naqt.com wrote:Unlike in past years, there will be two Sessions of play on Saturday; this will effectively group each team's byes together to allow it a longer block of time for sightseeing.

Each team will be assigned to either the Morning or Afternoon Session on Saturday; this determines whether it plays its first seven preliminary games in the Morning (8:45 – 12:15) or the Afternoon (2:45 – 7:15). The two groups will be merged for each team's final three preliminary games on Sunday morning.

Each team may request a specific Session when it registers, but these assignments are not guaranteed. NAQT does make the following guarantees:

NAQT will guarantee the first 100 Session requests (by registration date).


We have now received 58 requests for particular sessions.

Teams who have registered for the 2018 HSNCT, but not requested a particular session, should do so in the near future (if they have strong feelings about which session they wish to play).

Qualified teams who have not registered, but have a strong preference for one session over the other, should register in the near future.

(Note that HSNCT cancellation fees do not apply until either the field is full, or it is April 15, 2018.)
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Re: 2018 NAQT HSNCT: May 26-27, Atlanta

Postby Important Bird Area » Thu Dec 07, 2017 7:07 pm

Update: we have now received 91 requests for particular sessions.

Important Bird Area wrote:Teams who have registered for the 2018 HSNCT, but not requested a particular session, should do so in the near future (if they have strong feelings about which session they wish to play).

Qualified teams who have not registered, but have a strong preference for one session over the other, should register in the near future.

(Note that HSNCT cancellation fees do not apply until either the field is full, or it is April 15, 2018.)
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