National History Bowl - 2012 College National Championships

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National History Bowl - 2012 College National Championships

Postby Great Bustard » Thu Jul 14, 2011 1:33 pm

The National History Bowl is pleased to announce that it is planning on holding a National Championship for college students in the upcoming school year, tentatively scheduled to be held on the Sunday following ICT at the same location. This will allow teams from around the country to contest an additional national title without having to shell out more money for travel and hotels. However, please note that this is being planned solely for sake of convenience and that the tournament is by no means formally affiliated with nor endorsed by NAQT.
For the upcoming year, the collegiate division of the National History Bowl will consist solely of the National Championships; i.e. there will be no regional qualifying tournaments as there are in the high school division. Nor will there be a division of the National History Bee at the collegiate level this year, though in future years, it is expected that there will both be regional qualifying tournaments and a Bee at the college level too.
For 2012, the tournament will be open to anyone with student status at any degree-granting post-secondary educational institution around the world. If there is sufficient enrollment, we may consider having community college, undergraduate, and graduate divisions, though we will not feature separate questions sets for this year. The question writing will be overseen by Matt Weiner in a capacity unaffiliated with any question writing organization or company. Other writers will also be involved.
Two questions here for anyone interested in potentially playing this tournament:
1. Would you prefer a standard 20/20 format (there would be powers) or something closer to the format of the NHBB high school rounds? For those who don't know, the NHBB high school rounds are done in a four-quarter format, but in a rigorous, pyramidal way. The first quarter features 10 3-4 line tossups, w/no bonuses. The second quarter features 8 4-5 line tossups, w/a one-part 10 pt. related bonus (no bouncebacks). The third quarter is a 60 second round with 3 categories to choose from and 8 questions per category. The fourth quarter for this year will feature 5-6 line tossups with 3 levels of power. I am open to variations on this, if people would like to try qb in a different format for a change, or we can stick with the usual 20/20. We'll go with whatever the consensus is.
2. Regarding distribution, I'm leaning to something close to our hs distribution, which splits roughly 40-45 / 60 - 55 in terms of rest of world / American history. Also, we feature some questions from history of arts, history of science, history of RMP, recent history, historical geography, and history of sports and entertainment. I tend to think that a distribution like this would increase the possible appeal of this event, especially among people who might not be typical history players. The bulk (i.e. 2/3-3/4) of the questions would still be "normal" history though. Let me know if there are strong feelings here regarding distribution. As with the format, I'm aiming for making this appeal to as many people as possible so let me know what your thoughts are, though I know it's impossible to please everyone. By early August, we'll announce the way this will look for good.
Finally, the cost of the tournament needs to cover the logistics, competition rooms, and question writing, so it will be probably in the $275 range or so, with a slight buzzer discount. There may also be a discount for anyone who desires to play this tournament solo or with one other person. Cross-institutional teams are not allowed. While this cost is obviously more than the usual tournament, by not having to pay anything more for it in terms of travel costs, we hope that teams will take advantage of a new national championship to contest. Feel free to post any questions or comments in this thread; especially regarding your thoughts on the format and distribution.
One final point: NHBB staff members are eligible to play in this tournament if they have a collegiate affiliation, as they will not have access to the questions prior to the tournament.
Good luck and hope you'll be a part of our inaugural collegiate nationals in 2012!

Update 1/8: Registration is now open for this. The cost is $295 for a team of 3 or 4, $215 for a team of 2, and $125 if you would like to play it solo. There's a $10 buzzer system discount, limit 2 per team. $25 discount for moderators on a first come, first served basis. If you register for a team of 3 or 4 but only show up with 1 or 2, you do not get the discount. Nor should you register for a team of 1 or 2 if you think you will have more than that. Please pay by check or cash the day of the tournament; please don't send payment in advance, and if you don't have payment at the tournament, there's a $50 annoyance fee. It is likely that interested schools can still sign up at ICT, if space is still available, but don't count on that. Teams should register by emailing or sending me a private message.

Registered Teams:
Arizona State
Case Western Reserve
Harvard
Illinois
Maryland
Michigan A
Michigan B
Michigan State
Northwestern
Penn
UCSD
U Chicago A
U Chicago B
UI Chicago
Virginia
Virginia Commonwealth
Washington University in STL

Interested Teams:
Alabama (would Alabama and UA Huntsville be separate teams?)
Rutgers
Truman State
Yale
Last edited by Great Bustard on Mon Mar 26, 2012 3:24 pm, edited 23 times in total.
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Re: National History Bowl - 2012 College National Championships

Postby Matthew Jackson » Thu Jul 14, 2011 2:26 pm

Hm, this seems quite interesting.

1) Definitely stick with what's tried and true at the collegiate level; either 20/20 or simple 20-tossup rounds.

2) I'd be fine with up to a third of the tournament being interdisciplinary or "history of (insert non-history discipline)," including a bit of "historically-relevant pop culture"; I think that'd encourage more teams without one or more dedicated history players to stay, would add some variety to the rounds, and could help avoid exhausting some areas of askable history. As for the American/everything else split, I don't think American has to predominate the history - it could probably share more equitably with European and World. Something like 22.2% American, 22.2% European, 22.2% World, 33.3% Other Stuff would work well.

Sidenote: I feel as though the addition of a college Bee in 2012-13 or thereafter isn't that worthwhile a use of time and questions in what's already an overcrowded college quizbowl schedule, since it'll be pretty clear from the main event who the great individual history players are. For a similar reason, I feel as though qualifying Bowls would be difficult to set up in the future, though I see more value to having those (they promote the brand at the high school and college level, encourage new schools to come to Nats / host HS events, play other quizbowl, etc.) If such events do happen at the college level in 2012-13, it'd probably make more sense to set them up like ACF Regionals is to ACF Nationals -- they wouldn't set a qualification cutoff that actually subtracts interested teams from the field, but would serve as a chance to show who's best in each region regardless.
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Re: National History Bowl - 2012 College National Championships

Postby Cheynem » Thu Jul 14, 2011 3:50 pm

Maybe I'm in the minority here, but after BOTH national tournaments, even the one-day ICT, I am not in the mood to play another tournament (in fact, I have always consistently enjoyed how ICT the last two years was one day, in terms of travel). I love the idea of this and the attempt to make costs lower by combining it with an existing national event, but I would prefer to see it as an early summer tournament.

I am strongly opposed to any future "Bee" components.
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Re: National History Bowl - 2012 College National Championships

Postby vcuEvan » Thu Jul 14, 2011 4:01 pm

I think having this tournament the day after ICT is a great idea and would make me much more likely to play.
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Re: National History Bowl - 2012 College National Championships

Postby Great Bustard » Thu Jul 14, 2011 4:36 pm

Cheynem wrote:Maybe I'm in the minority here, but after BOTH national tournaments, even the one-day ICT, I am not in the mood to play another tournament (in fact, I have always consistently enjoyed how ICT the last two years was one day, in terms of travel). I love the idea of this and the attempt to make costs lower by combining it with an existing national event, but I would prefer to see it as an early summer tournament.

I am strongly opposed to any future "Bee" components.


I'm not quite sure I understand you here. Why would you be so much more willing to play after an existing national event, and as an early summer tournament, but not after ICT? There aren't any other tournaments that will attract as many teams in the first place as ICT, and there's nothing in the early summer that could be described as a collegiate nationals.
Also, as far as any future Bee at the college level goes, I agree with Matt, that it would probably be pretty evident who the strong players are, but I would think that people might be interested in a very small scale singles event with a history focus. Perhaps that could be done at some other tournament (ACF?) to avoid overload. In any case, as I said, it's not in the cards for this coming year, and no one will ever have to do it, so it can be there for those who might like it. Also, the idea of a bee might have some appeal to history professors, history grad students, former Bee participants at the high school level, and other people who might not otherwise do qb, so that's a thought too. Keep in mind that the standard bee format at the hs level has a built in safety valve (i.e. a quota of 8 questions per round of 35 tossups, but then you get bonus pts for filling your quota early) to protect against one person or two people completely shutting out every else in the room, so that would also increase its appeal beyond the top 10 students in the country.
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Re: National History Bowl - 2012 College National Championships

Postby Cheynem » Thu Jul 14, 2011 4:44 pm

I don't mind a bee format if it's just some questions which can be played by various interested in parties at some point, maybe even as a way to interest people who are interested in history but not quizbowl per se.

I don't like the date for purely personal reasons--at national tournaments, I'm interested in doing as best as possible to help my team to a high finish. After every ACF Nationals and even ICT, I feel very tired, burned out, and in some cases, filled with a lot of anger. I don't want to play another tournament. This, of course, could be purely just me. I also would not be bothered by having to travel somewhere in the early summer (I would have loved to travel somewhere last month or this month before CO), although I imagine many people would disagree with me there.
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Re: National History Bowl - 2012 College National Championships

Postby kdroge » Thu Jul 14, 2011 8:53 pm

Personally, while I agree about being burned out after ICT, the odds of Michigan being able to attend would go up dramatically if it were hosted after ICT, and I would suspect this to be the case for many other teams as well (simply for cost reasons, and for convenience as well).

I would advocate a 20/20 format, though I wouldn't be opposed to some experimentation in terms of bonus structure. Generally, 4-quarter formats are just confusing and I don't feel like they really add much to the game. The distribution does seem to skew American more than I would expect; I would think that either a 1/3-1/3-1/3 split amongst U.S., Euro, and World or a 1/4-1/2-1/4 split if "Euro" includes classical / Mediterranean history would be a bit more appropriate. I certainly think that having any more than half be American is quite excessive.
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Re: National History Bowl - 2012 College National Championships

Postby Auroni » Thu Jul 14, 2011 8:55 pm

If we can make ICT, then we would certainly play this too.
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Re: National History Bowl - 2012 College National Championships

Postby Charbroil » Thu Jul 14, 2011 9:48 pm

Blanford's Fringe-fingered Lizard wrote:If we can make ICT, then we would certainly play this too.


The same with us.
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Re: National History Bowl - 2012 College National Championships

Postby Matt Weiner » Thu Jul 14, 2011 10:14 pm

I wanted to pop into this thread to note that the plan is to target both quizbowl teams and the history department clubs that exist at some universities to participate in this.

I will be head editing the question set and TDing the tournament. Mike Bentley and Jerry Vinokurov have also signed on to write.
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Re: National History Bowl - 2012 College National Championships

Postby 49-Mile Scenic Drive » Thu Jul 14, 2011 11:55 pm

I'm sure an Alabama contingent would be interested in this as well assuming it were the day after ICT, I'm always up for quizbowl. As for format, keeping it the traditional 20/20 would be awesome.
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Re: National History Bowl - 2012 College National Championships

Postby crimsonscholar » Fri Jul 15, 2011 8:49 am

This is a great idea. I would be in.
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Re: National History Bowl - 2012 College National Championships

Postby DumbJaques » Mon Jul 18, 2011 1:42 am

I think Matt's plan to target history departments in general is an excellent one, and a great potential means of expanding college quizbowl.

After ICT is fine with me, and I agree with what others are saying that the 20/20 or 20/0 format is infinitely preferable to the four-quarters one, which I think would just be difficult to do with high level college material.


I feel even more strongly that there should be a very clear shift in the distribution from "60% American, 40% everything else" or thereabouts. For one thing, while not tremendously far off from the focus of high school history curriculum in many states, that distribution does not remotely represent the breakdown of either students or curriculum in college history departments. I think this is doubly important if you guys are specifically targeting history clubs at non-quizbowl schools - well over 50% of the history students at most schools are going to be studying something that isn't just "American history," and there are likely to be way more academic clubs connected to "any other type of history" than there connected to just American material.

Further, like any realm of quizbowl, the people who end up doing this won't be just history majors, they'll be people from all departments who have an interest in history. Again, at the university level, I think it's much more likely people will have connections every other area of history combined than to American history. Consider that you've got a strong grounding in classical history from any classics major as well as some philosophy and many general humanities majors. You've got some definite background in European history for many literature or philosophy majors. Nearly every GVPT major I know has taken a number of classes on Middle Eastern history, and has probably also taken some combination of African/South American/Asian history courses. A liberal arts school will probably include 2-4 courses on world/european/comparative history combined for every one American history course in its base curriculum.

Basically, the ratio in college history departments is 60-40 (or more) the other way around, so I strongly discourage using the existing high school distribution. It's also worth noting that college professors (and students), especially those who study once-marginalized areas, love to get righteously pissed off when certain things are underrepresented. Do not for a moment mistake me for one of these "let's have gender/culture/whatever quotas in quizbowl" people, but I guarantee that if I took the head of my history department's China/Japan to a History Bowl for universities and 60% of the stuff was about America, she would be firing off incensed emails to whoever would listen for the next week. Since she would happen to have a point in such a case, I'm suggesting a pretty drastic retooling of the distribution to more closely mirror what you're actually looking at with the college level.
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Re: National History Bowl - 2012 College National Championships

Postby theMoMA » Mon Jul 18, 2011 11:02 am

I don't know how likely I'd be to play history bowl personally because of its attachment to ICT. But I also don't see any other logical time on the schedule except for the summer. I will say that my experience in attempting getting non-quizbowl types to attend quizbowl tournaments has been largely frustrating, so if these history departments are the main consideration for hosting this tournament during the school year, perhaps a summer date would be more appropriate.
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Re: National History Bowl - 2012 College National Championships

Postby Vernon Lee Bad Marriage, Jr. » Mon Jul 18, 2011 11:24 am

DumbJaques wrote:I think Matt's plan to target history departments in general is an excellent one, and a great potential means of expanding college quizbowl.

After ICT is fine with me, and I agree with what others are saying that the 20/20 or 20/0 format is infinitely preferable to the four-quarters one, which I think would just be difficult to do with high level college material.


I feel even more strongly that there should be a very clear shift in the distribution from "60% American, 40% everything else" or thereabouts. For one thing, while not tremendously far off from the focus of high school history curriculum in many states, that distribution does not remotely represent the breakdown of either students or curriculum in college history departments. I think this is doubly important if you guys are specifically targeting history clubs at non-quizbowl schools - well over 50% of the history students at most schools are going to be studying something that isn't just "American history," and there are likely to be way more academic clubs connected to "any other type of history" than there connected to just American material.

Further, like any realm of quizbowl, the people who end up doing this won't be just history majors, they'll be people from all departments who have an interest in history. Again, at the university level, I think it's much more likely people will have connections every other area of history combined than to American history. Consider that you've got a strong grounding in classical history from any classics major as well as some philosophy and many general humanities majors. You've got some definite background in European history for many literature or philosophy majors. Nearly every GVPT major I know has taken a number of classes on Middle Eastern history, and has probably also taken some combination of African/South American/Asian history courses. A liberal arts school will probably include 2-4 courses on world/european/comparative history combined for every one American history course in its base curriculum.

Basically, the ratio in college history departments is 60-40 (or more) the other way around, so I strongly discourage using the existing high school distribution. It's also worth noting that college professors (and students), especially those who study once-marginalized areas, love to get righteously pissed off when certain things are underrepresented. Do not for a moment mistake me for one of these "let's have gender/culture/whatever quotas in quizbowl" people, but I guarantee that if I took the head of my history department's China/Japan to a History Bowl for universities and 60% of the stuff was about America, she would be firing off incensed emails to whoever would listen for the next week. Since she would happen to have a point in such a case, I'm suggesting a pretty drastic retooling of the distribution to more closely mirror what you're actually looking at with the college level.


I agree with this completely.

I also think it's much more convenient to existing quizbowl teams to hold it the Sunday after ICT. You'll already have them all there, there's no need to buy extra plane tickets, so they might as well stay.
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Re: National History Bowl - 2012 College National Championships

Postby Mike Bentley » Mon Jul 18, 2011 12:17 pm

With this being held on Sunday, how many rounds is this tournament going to be? I imagine you're going to run into problems with people having flights on Sunday night, as I'm sure several teams are going to need to get back before classes start on Monday.
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Re: National History Bowl - 2012 College National Championships

Postby NickConderWKU » Mon Jul 18, 2011 2:54 pm

I imagine WKU will attempt to be at this even if we don't qualify for ICT. I plan on joining WKU's history department club this year anyway, so I'll see what I can do to set up some sort of collaboration between that organization and our quizbowl team to send a delegation.

I do agree that this has major potential to expand participation in college quizbowl, if I can just get even a few other people from the history department interested in this competition, that means we could potentially have more players or at least potential staffers due to this introducing them to quizbowl.

As far as what the ratio of American/non-American history should be, I guess that this could be quite an argument. Looking over course listings in the history department at WKU, I can tell that there are slightly more course offerings in European/World history than American history, and that a lot more people overall take courses related to European history (like Western Civ) than they do for US history. Personally I'm somebody who heavily favors US history, but in college I'm going to end up having taken more classes related to non-US history compared to US history. If we wanted to mirror what people in college are studying, a 60-40 ratio of US/Everywhere Else would be wrong. Maybe something closer to 40-40-20 US/Europe/Other Continents would be more appropriate.
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Re: National History Bowl - 2012 College National Championships

Postby Great Bustard » Mon Jul 18, 2011 3:00 pm

The rounds will be 20-20. Final distribution is still pending, but it's going to look something like:
35% US
30% Europe
20% Rest of Modern
15% Ancient
Comments welcome on distribution, but don't worry, it's going to go away from our high school. Actually, our high school distribution of US v Everything else last year was 50-50 and this year it's going to be more like 45%-55% so this shouldn't be an issue at any level.
As for timing, I think this first year we're more likely to have qb teams than a random foursome from any given history dept so the Sunday after ICT makes all the sense in the world. I think we'll focus on depts within a few hours of Chicago O'Hare this first year, with an eye towards expanding that in the future, but this is of course a bit of a harder sell at the start than a bunch of qb teams that are already going to be there. Here's a question: should this be open to professors as well as undergrads and grad students? That might make for some interesting teams, and I would lean in favor of this, unless there are strong objections.
As far as # of rounds, no decision has been made yet. Maybe we'll see how many teams sign up? I would think at least 10 rounds though. We'd probably start around 8:30 and go until 3:00 or so, I'd think. I would imagine most people could still get on a flight that would get them back that evening then, even if they only leave at 4:30-7pm. Thoughts?
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Re: National History Bowl - 2012 College National Championships

Postby Dr. Loki Skylizard, Thoracic Surgeon » Mon Jul 18, 2011 4:20 pm

nationalhistorybeeandbowl wrote:Here's a question: should this be open to professors as well as undergrads and grad students? That might make for some interesting teams, and I would lean in favor of this, unless there are strong objections.

I would think that this would be a deterrent to teams, particularly new ones, as it's pretty much a beefed up version of the old "dinosaurs" analogy. If you lose to a team with professors from (insert good school here), then why the hell even bother playing if you're just a freshman dragged into this by your department as a quiz bowl rookie?
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Re: National History Bowl - 2012 College National Championships

Postby Matthew Jackson » Mon Jul 18, 2011 4:47 pm

The National History Bowl is pleased to announce that it is planning on holding a National Championship for college students in the upcoming school year,


nationalhistorybeeandbowl wrote: Here's a question: should this be open to professors as well as undergrads and grad students?


These two aims don't match up at all and it's a ludicrous suggestion that professors should play this event if it's meant to be a legitimate competition for college students.
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Re: National History Bowl - 2012 College National Championships

Postby Mike Bentley » Mon Jul 18, 2011 5:03 pm

RyuAqua wrote:
The National History Bowl is pleased to announce that it is planning on holding a National Championship for college students in the upcoming school year,


nationalhistorybeeandbowl wrote: Here's a question: should this be open to professors as well as undergrads and grad students?


These two aims don't match up at all and it's a ludicrous suggestion that professors should play this event if it's meant to be a legitimate competition for college students.


Perhaps a separate division for non-students? Although this would only really be possible if there was sufficient interest.
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Re: National History Bowl - 2012 College National Championships

Postby Great Bustard » Mon Jul 18, 2011 5:15 pm

Well, the idea here would be to have different divisions, if profs were to get involved. Personally, I think most serious history grad students who play qb would crush the average prof, but I'm fine with leaving professors off altogether this year, or maybe have them play in their own division? I think if it were marketed correctly, at least ten universities would be interested in sending profs to play it, but I'd be fine with keeping such a division totally separate or waiting til next year. In any case, it's not a high priority. Here's another thought for down the road: eventually people are going to get older and lose university affiliations. In addition to having undergrad and grad divisions (Matt J.'s intimidation argument might also be valid here if both were completely mixed together), and a separate division for university faculties, maybe it would be fun to have a division for alumni, based on where people did their undergrad work? Or an open based on state residence? Again, this might not have wide appeal just yet, but over time it could grow, though this is something for 2013 at earliest. I think the idea of allowing people to match up on their own (a la Chicago History Doubles) wouldn't work for a national championship, but if there were some limiting criteria it could fly. Don't mean to get ahead of things here, but curious to see if people might want a way to stay in the game later. Maybe even an open Nationals based on state or undergrad affiliation could in future years be combined with Jersey Shore Open?
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Re: National History Bowl - 2012 College National Championships

Postby Matt Weiner » Mon Jul 18, 2011 5:24 pm

Hey, just wondering if people would prefer to have regular 15-point powers, or two-stage superpowers, for the tossups here. Looks like it will be 20/20 in any case.
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Re: National History Bowl - 2012 College National Championships

Postby DumbJaques » Mon Jul 18, 2011 5:43 pm

35% US
30% Europe
20% Rest of Modern
15% Ancient


I still think having a situation where U.S. is almost double "rest of modern" runs into many of the same problems I speculated on before. It's not reflective of history curriculum at most universities, not reflective of how student knowledge/interest would be distributed, and for whatever it's worth not reflective of the standard collegiate quizbowl distribution. You've also got a situation where "every non-western country" and "Rome, Greece, ancient near-east" are looking at mostly identical distributions, which in my opinion isn't a great idea either.

I guess I'm curious as to why the single greatest slice here (between U.S., Euro, and World) has to be given to U.S. history - I think the argument for equalizing them is infinitely more defensible, and less likely to provoke backlash. On a personal note, as someone who's written and edited a lot of history questions, I'd think that mining U.S. history for answers with a lion's share of the frequency would get kind of stale pretty quickly. You're just bound to get into a situation where you're asking about minor candidates from 19th century elections on the one hand and the most famous figures from African/Asian/whatever history on the other. It's not at all the kind of thing that makes for balanced or rewarding gameplay.


Here's a question: should this be open to professors as well as undergrads and grad students?


This doesn't seem like a very good idea to me, and I'll try to outline why. The major impact this is going to have is on prospective non-quizbowl participants who are going to be incredibly discouraged by a competition that would pit them against history professors at just a basic interest level. We're talking people deciding not to even come to practices or whatever here, and that's a huge burden on the micro level when you're trying to get this stuff started.

Conversely, the actual impact on the competition by allowing professors to play is going to be minimal. Playing pyramidal questions is a skill very much analogous to muscle memory, in that it takes significant repetition to get to a place where you're following the questions at a high level. I've made this point before, but it's kind of unique in the scope of human activity and the fact is it's a lot harder to learn an entirely new skill when you're 50 than it is when you're 20. I'd be shocked if professors could show up at this - even if they somehow spent the year practicing semi-regularly (which isn't a particularly reasonable thing to expect) - and do anything more than get a couple of questions in their specific areas. Most professors probably wouldn't be able to fly out to ICT or whatever for a weekend even if they were interested - you'd have a hard enough time scaring up interest for an unofficial event on campus (believe me).

So basically, if you guys choose to go this route, my prediction is that a couple random profs might show up and do nothing of particular note. The only real impact it could have is, I guess, allowing recent quizbowlers who are now faculty members (guys like Seth Kendall, Andy Wehrman, etc. come to mind) to participate. I don't have anything against those guys participating, but it doesn't seem like a particularly important goal and it surely doesn't seem worth repelling even a small group of potential new quizbowlers, something I believe most of those faculty members might agree with.


nationalhistorybeeandbowl wrote:Well, the idea here would be to have different divisions, if profs were to get involved. Personally, I think most serious history grad students who play qb would crush the average prof, but I'm fine with leaving professors off altogether this year, or maybe have them play in their own division? I think if it were marketed correctly, at least ten universities would be interested in sending profs to play it, but I'd be fine with keeping such a division totally separate or waiting til next year. In any case, it's not a high priority. Here's another thought for down the road: eventually people are going to get older and lose university affiliations. In addition to having undergrad and grad divisions (Matt J.'s intimidation argument might also be valid here if both were completely mixed together), and a separate division for university faculties, maybe it would be fun to have a division for alumni, based on where people did their undergrad work? Or an open based on state residence? Again, this might not have wide appeal just yet, but over time it could grow, though this is something for 2013 at earliest. I think the idea of allowing people to match up on their own (a la Chicago History Doubles) wouldn't work for a national championship, but if there were some limiting criteria it could fly. Don't mean to get ahead of things here, but curious to see if people might want a way to stay in the game later. Maybe even an open Nationals based on state or undergrad affiliation could in future years be combined with Jersey Shore Open?


On the other hand, setting the stage for something like this is totally different - I'd personally love it if we could get some kind of annual open history championship, but I do think it should be firmly separate from the college title. Playing on the same questions is fine of course, but you need to make sure that the outreach to new players part of this (which is great) isn't getting cross-contaminated with the alumni, CO-style part of it (which I also think is great). I'd suggest starting by not having this open aspect run this year, to get things firmly established on the collegiate level.

To that end, I'd also suggest leaving out any specific catering to "professors," certainly in its isolation. Having a separate, open division is one thing - having a competition where students hear "professors also play" when you're trying to market the tournament to them is entirely different. If there's really interest on the part of university professors, I think gradually reaching out to the departments and just inviting the faculty to the open portion would be fine. Again, I'd caution that this whole thing is best done gradually, over the course of a few years.

Hey, just wondering if people would prefer to have regular 15-point powers, or two-stage superpowers, for the tossups here. Looks like it will be 20/20 in any case.


Powers are cool, but I've never understood superpowers and in an actual championship tournament, I think they'd be firmly out of place. Presumably we wouldn't want a situation where tossups get Gaddis-length, and regular powers seem more than sufficient for 6-8 line tossups.
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Re: National History Bowl - 2012 College National Championships

Postby Matt Weiner » Mon Jul 18, 2011 5:52 pm

My current proposal is that the distribution go 35/30/25/10 US/Europe post-476/world/classical. So to be clear, it's a 35/65 US/non-US split, and while there will be a time distribution within each area, what we're looking at is 25% non-western history in addition to the 30 to 40%* European history, which I think is representative.

*The 10% classical history will be mostly Greece and Rome but may well include aspects of Egypt and the Near East that are more at home in this category than in world, so it will not be entirely and indisputably European.

I am also proposing that the divisions at the tournament be:

Overall (all students eligible)
Division I (highest-finishing team without any history grad students)
Undergraduate (same as the NAQT or ACF undergraduate rules, basically)

with all teams playing in one field but the highest-finishing teams in the subsidiary divisions playing finals/getting trophies as they do with, eg, the NAQT Undergraduate title now. The names are subject to revision, of course.
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Re: National History Bowl - 2012 College National Championships

Postby Skepticism and Animal Feed » Mon Jul 18, 2011 6:35 pm

I think people are vastly overestimating the likely quizbowl prowess of quizbowl-inexperienced history professors and history grad students. I am pretty confident that many quizbowl players who have little to no formal academic training in history and are not primarily known as history players would still absolutely destroy most history professors in a one-on-one competition with buzzers and a reasonable distribution.

So I agree with Chris Ray: letting professors play would add very little to the competition while needlessly discouraging students from signing up.

Obviously, I'd also love to see an open championship of some kind happen eventually.

I still think having a situation where U.S. is almost double "rest of modern" runs into many of the same problems I speculated on before. It's not reflective of history curriculum at most universities, not reflective of how student knowledge/interest would be distributed, and for whatever it's worth not reflective of the standard collegiate quizbowl distribution. You've also got a situation where "every non-western country" and "Rome, Greece, ancient near-east" are looking at mostly identical distributions, which in my opinion isn't a great idea either.

I guess I'm curious as to why the single greatest slice here (between U.S., Euro, and World) has to be given to U.S. history - I think the argument for equalizing them is infinitely more defensible, and less likely to provoke backlash. On a personal note, as someone who's written and edited a lot of history questions, I'd think that mining U.S. history for answers with a lion's share of the frequency would get kind of stale pretty quickly. You're just bound to get into a situation where you're asking about minor candidates from 19th century elections on the one hand and the most famous figures from African/Asian/whatever history on the other. It's not at all the kind of thing that makes for balanced or rewarding gameplay.


In most good quizbowl formats, American history is 25% of the history distribution. Nobody has ever complained about this. Is an extra 10% of US history really going to cause the world to end? Don't get me wrong: I would prefer to see the distribution reflect that of ACF, as I believe that it is the finest distribution known to man, but I think this is an extremely hyperbolic crusade on your part.
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Re: National History Bowl - 2012 College National Championships

Postby Ringil » Mon Jul 18, 2011 7:27 pm

Matt Weiner wrote:I am also proposing that the divisions at the tournament be:

Overall (all students eligible)
Division I (highest-finishing team without any history grad students)
Undergraduate (same as the NAQT or ACF undergraduate rules, basically)

with all teams playing in one field but the highest-finishing teams in the subsidiary divisions playing finals/getting trophies as they do with, eg, the NAQT Undergraduate title now. The names are subject to revision, of course.


While i understand its pretty important in terms of getting non-qb college students to consider playing this, I find the distinction between Division I and Overall to be pretty artificial as there are so very few qb history grad students (that I know of). Thus, Division I just in my opinion seems a bit extraneous.

Also, I think there is a bit higher US history than usual, but it's a reasonable amount.
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Re: National History Bowl - 2012 College National Championships

Postby DumbJaques » Mon Jul 18, 2011 10:36 pm


In most good quizbowl formats, American history is 25% of the history distribution. Nobody has ever complained about this. Is an extra 10% of US history really going to cause the world to end? Don't get me wrong: I would prefer to see the distribution reflect that of ACF, as I believe that it is the finest distribution known to man, but I think this is an extremely hyperbolic crusade on your part.


An. . . an extremely hyperbolic crusade?
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Re: National History Bowl - 2012 College National Championships

Postby Awehrman » Wed Jul 20, 2011 10:50 am

I have lots of thoughts on this and they are divided a bit between my past as a quizbowl player and my present as a history professor. As a quizbowl player, especially as an undergraduate, I would have loved something like this, and it seems to be well-intentioned. But as a historian, I'm a little leery of some of the ideas being floated around.

At the basic level having a history championship at the ICT seems great. It will be perhaps a bit more official than the summer history tournaments. Complications, I think, arise when the history bowl begins contacting history departments. This will take quite a long time, since history departments aren't exactly jumping at the chance to spend money to try new things that are not directly related to tenure or job placement.

If you are really more interested in this as a history championship than a quizbowl championship with a focus on history, then I suggest that instead of piggybacking with the ICT, that you instead piggyback or join up with the American Historical Association. Their annual meeting hosts thousands of historians and I think there might be room for something like this to run during, before, or after the conference. The annual meeting is held over the first weekend in January during most schools' winter break. ICT in April falls at a fairly bad time for graduate students who must turn in major projects around that time. You might also consider the Organization of American Historians Annual Meeting. I think it would be easier to bring quizbowl to the historians rather than the other way around. I know that Eta Sigma Phi, the honorary society for classics, runs some sort of quizbowl-like competition at their annual convention.

What I think might cause you some trouble, however, is that as it stands, there are no historians writing or editing the questions. While I know that Matt, Jerry, and company will do a fine job, I would guess that to come fully on board history departments would like to see contributions by historians (grad students, faculty, perhaps undergrad history majors) and editing by people in the field. I don't think it matters that much for this first event, but I think it will matter more if the event grows larger.

I will tip my hat and say that I am an Americanist, but I don't think a heightened emphasis on American history is out of place. Most history majors specialize in American history as do most American history departments. Phd students in American history vastly out number their counterparts in other fields. About 40 percent of new phds (according to the latest figures I could find) are in American history, 20 percent in European, and five percent each in Asian, Latin American, Middle East, and history of Science. I don't think you should base your distribution on those numbers, but I think it's fair to have a higher percentage of American history than the other fields. As Chris said, you will likely get a lot of complaining no matter what. You will especially hear complaints if the majority of the questions focus on political and military history rather than cultural or social history. Historiography should similarly be well represented.
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Re: National History Bowl - 2012 College National Championships

Postby Matt Weiner » Wed Jul 20, 2011 12:51 pm

I have a history degree and am the chief editor of this tournament.

My plan is not so much to deal with history departments per se as the clubs for undergraduate history majors that exist within or alongside those departments. The core of the first year of this has to be quizbowl teams because we don't know how successful that initiative will be.

There will be good amount of social history, within reason (I'm not going to jam in things that don't make good questions, but it won't just be elections and battles) as well as history of minority groups. Don't expect more than 1 historiography question per packet, since that quickly becomes overly difficult.
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Re: National History Bowl - 2012 College National Championships

Postby Mike Bentley » Wed Jul 20, 2011 1:12 pm

Yeah for what it's worth I also have a history degree.
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Re: National History Bowl - 2012 College National Championships

Postby Awehrman » Wed Jul 20, 2011 1:54 pm

Sorry, I didn't realize that Matt and Mike had history degrees. This bodes well for the tournament (not that I doubted your question writing), but I did mean that eventually history departments would like to see people with PhDs in history and/or advanced graduate students, current or retired faculty members, or teachers with a hand in the organization if not the production. Also, if this is truly geared towards graduate students and history departments, additional historiography questions or historiographical clues would not be out of place. If it's a side event for quizbowlers with an affinity for history, then historiography would be more difficult to be sure.
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Re: National History Bowl - 2012 College National Championships

Postby Strange Fascination » Wed Jul 20, 2011 8:32 pm

Awehrman wrote: then I suggest that instead of piggybacking with the ICT, that you instead piggyback or join up with the American Historical Association. Their annual meeting hosts thousands of historians and I think there might be room for something like this to run during, before, or after the conference.


From what I understand, this is how Geography Bowl works, except with the Geographers Association.
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Re: National History Bowl - 2012 College National Championships

Postby Great Bustard » Wed Jul 20, 2011 11:02 pm

Awehrman wrote:I have lots of thoughts on this and they are divided a bit between my past as a quizbowl player and my present as a history professor. As a quizbowl player, especially as an undergraduate, I would have loved something like this, and it seems to be well-intentioned. But as a historian, I'm a little leery of some of the ideas being floated around.

At the basic level having a history championship at the ICT seems great. It will be perhaps a bit more official than the summer history tournaments. Complications, I think, arise when the history bowl begins contacting history departments. This will take quite a long time, since history departments aren't exactly jumping at the chance to spend money to try new things that are not directly related to tenure or job placement.

If you are really more interested in this as a history championship than a quizbowl championship with a focus on history, then I suggest that instead of piggybacking with the ICT, that you instead piggyback or join up with the American Historical Association. Their annual meeting hosts thousands of historians and I think there might be room for something like this to run during, before, or after the conference. The annual meeting is held over the first weekend in January during most schools' winter break. ICT in April falls at a fairly bad time for graduate students who must turn in major projects around that time. You might also consider the Organization of American Historians Annual Meeting. I think it would be easier to bring quizbowl to the historians rather than the other way around. I know that Eta Sigma Phi, the honorary society for classics, runs some sort of quizbowl-like competition at their annual convention.


Andrew, this is a great idea, thanks for the tip. I do agree with Matt though that trying to swing this with the AHA conference is an idea best left for next year after we've seen the initial appeal of the event at ICT where it's likely we can get enough teams for it to be viable. It's a bit more of an unknown to do it in conjunction with AHA, but it's possible that that would be a great spot to do a faculty bowl / open bowl. Quick question here: how many of the historians attending the AHA conference are affiliated with an educational institution? Or to put it in the reverse way, what percentage are independent historians who would have no affiliation of their own? Also, do most institutions that are there have at least 2 historians represented? If and when we get around to doing this, it might make more sense to have this be a doubles or triples event. But again, that's 2013 at the earliest.

Awehrman wrote:What I think might cause you some trouble, however, is that as it stands, there are no historians writing or editing the questions. While I know that Matt, Jerry, and company will do a fine job, I would guess that to come fully on board history departments would like to see contributions by historians (grad students, faculty, perhaps undergrad history majors) and editing by people in the field. I don't think it matters that much for this first event, but I think it will matter more if the event grows larger.

Also, the National History Bee and Bowl Board of Advisors features two history professors (Berkeley and U Chicago), one history grad student (Berkeley again), one of the world's top art historians, and our Chairman is a former Ambassador and historian himself. That all ought to lend some oomph.
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Re: National History Bowl - 2012 College National Championships

Postby Great Bustard » Sun Aug 28, 2011 3:18 am

To any teams (or anyone) that are interested in competing at the NHB College Championships in Greater Chicago on Sunday, April 1, 2012 - the day after ICT runs at the Hyatt O'Hare, please let me know which of the three following options you'd prefer:

Option A
Tournament takes place at the Hyatt O'Hare - same hotel as where ICT takes place the previous day. Tournament rounds begin at 9am - teams are guaranteed twelve matches. Cost totals $335 per team

Option B
Tournament takes place at a Chicago area university that is accessible by the el. Teams would have to leave the hotel no later than 8:15. Prelim meeting (very brief) at 9:15, rounds start at 9:30. Teams are guaranteed ten matches. Cost totals $205 per team, plus, reckon with about $8 per person for public transit if you won't have car access.

Option C
Same as option B, but rather than bothering with the El, we charter a bus or rent vans for the day to get people to the site and back. Cost would be an extra $60 per team (so $265 total) or an extra $75 per team (so $280 total) if teams preferred twelve guaranteed matches.

We need to get this figured out very soon, so please either email me or post your preferences. Thanks!
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Re: National History Bowl - 2012 College National Championships

Postby Mike Bentley » Sun Aug 28, 2011 11:08 am

nationalhistorybeeandbowl wrote:Option B
Tournament takes place at a Chicago area university that is accessible by the el. Teams would have to leave the hotel no later than 8:15. Prelim meeting (very brief) at 9:15, rounds start at 9:30. Teams are guaranteed ten matches. Cost totals $205 per team, plus, reckon with about $8 per person for public transit if you won't have car access.


I'd be very surprised if any universities in the Chicago area could be reached within an hour from the ICT hotel via public transportation. From what I recall, it takes the shuttle they have about 15 minutes to get the airport (and this shuttle wouldn't be able to fit everyone staying at the hotel) and from there it probably takes at least an hour to get to downtown Chicago.
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Re: National History Bowl - 2012 College National Championships

Postby Madagascar Serpent Eagle » Sun Aug 28, 2011 12:48 pm

There's a Blue Line stop right next to the hotel, isn't there?
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Re: National History Bowl - 2012 College National Championships

Postby Edward Elric » Sun Aug 28, 2011 1:25 pm

Plan Rubber wrote:There's a Blue Line stop right next to the hotel, isn't there?


If there is, I know that UIC has the blue line stop right in front of it.
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Re: National History Bowl - 2012 College National Championships

Postby Ringil » Sun Aug 28, 2011 2:03 pm

I would prefer option 1 as it gives us more games and is less of a hassle.
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Re: National History Bowl - 2012 College National Championships

Postby Charbroil » Thu Sep 01, 2011 2:27 am

Ringil wrote:I would prefer option 1 as it gives us more games and is less of a hassle.


I agree with this.
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Re: National History Bowl - 2012 College National Championships

Postby Great Bustard » Thu Nov 03, 2011 3:31 am

Didn't hear back from U Chicago. If people want this to happen, I could really use suggestions - the hotel is not going to happen, so we need something else. Is Northwestern too far? If we worked out a shuttle system (unlike, say, NSC 2011...) could this work? I'm fine with renting a van for the day if that would help. Plus, I assume a number of teams and locals will have cars. Any other thoughts?
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Re: National History Bowl - 2012 College National Championships

Postby Susan » Thu Nov 03, 2011 9:52 am

If you were considering Chicago, I don't think Northwestern can possibly be too far. If you're still hoping to find an el-accessible school, have you tried talking to UIC? Unlike Northwestern and Chicago, they're on the same el line as the hotel.
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Re: National History Bowl - 2012 College National Championships

Postby DumbJaques » Fri Nov 04, 2011 12:57 am

Yeah, Susan's got the order of rail transportation convenience spot on here. It's not absurdly impossible or anything to get to Chicago from O'Hare and then back again (in this scenario I'm assuming that most people are flying into ORD, since that's where the tournament is happening), but it's definitely a hike. My usual route is to take the blue line all the way downtown and hop on the Metra - I would not want to do that in the morning, play a full tournament, and then do it again in the evening to get back to my hotel. Given the logistics for this year, I'd say Chicago should probably be a last resort.

Northwestern's easier but still kind of annoying to get to, and it does take a while (you're doing a similar downtown-back out again route, just taking the purple line for the second leg of the trip). It's an option that, while perhaps not ideal, wouldn't be too bad (particularly if there was something of a coordinated shuttle effort).

UIC just requires you ride downtown, so yeah, I vote for that if possible. If I'm not sleep-deprived and this tournament is in fact running on Sunday, you could also look into various local high schools as potential hosts. They presumably don't have a lot of stuff going on Sunday, unless like they're like my high school and are constantly taken over by multiple denominations of Asian Christianity.
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Re: National History Bowl - 2012 College National Championships

Postby in on these shenanigans » Fri Nov 04, 2011 10:29 am

DumbJaques wrote:Yeah, Susan's got the order of rail transportation convenience spot on here. It's not absurdly impossible or anything to get to Chicago from O'Hare and then back again (in this scenario I'm assuming that most people are flying into ORD, since that's where the tournament is happening), but it's definitely a hike. My usual route is to take the blue line all the way downtown and hop on the Metra - I would not want to do that in the morning, play a full tournament, and then do it again in the evening to get back to my hotel. Given the logistics for this year, I'd say Chicago should probably be a last resort.

Northwestern's easier but still kind of annoying to get to, and it does take a while (you're doing a similar downtown-back out again route, just taking the purple line for the second leg of the trip). It's an option that, while perhaps not ideal, wouldn't be too bad (particularly if there was something of a coordinated shuttle effort).

UIC just requires you ride downtown, so yeah, I vote for that if possible. If I'm not sleep-deprived and this tournament is in fact running on Sunday, you could also look into various local high schools as potential hosts. They presumably don't have a lot of stuff going on Sunday, unless like they're like my high school and are constantly taken over by multiple denominations of Asian Christianity.


Not to volunteer other people's schools and time for them (sorry Mike!), but Fenton High School is both A: near O'Hare (15 min drive by Google Maps) and B: home to Mike Laudermith, noted awesome quizbowl coach who might be interested in helping get you the rooms. If you're looking for a high school, I'd start looking there.
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Re: National History Bowl - 2012 College National Championships

Postby Great Bustard » Fri Nov 04, 2011 8:28 pm

DumbJaques wrote:Yeah, Susan's got the order of rail transportation convenience spot on here. It's not absurdly impossible or anything to get to Chicago from O'Hare and then back again (in this scenario I'm assuming that most people are flying into ORD, since that's where the tournament is happening), but it's definitely a hike. My usual route is to take the blue line all the way downtown and hop on the Metra - I would not want to do that in the morning, play a full tournament, and then do it again in the evening to get back to my hotel. Given the logistics for this year, I'd say Chicago should probably be a last resort.

Northwestern's easier but still kind of annoying to get to, and it does take a while (you're doing a similar downtown-back out again route, just taking the purple line for the second leg of the trip). It's an option that, while perhaps not ideal, wouldn't be too bad (particularly if there was something of a coordinated shuttle effort).

UIC just requires you ride downtown, so yeah, I vote for that if possible. If I'm not sleep-deprived and this tournament is in fact running on Sunday, you could also look into various local high schools as potential hosts. They presumably don't have a lot of stuff going on Sunday, unless like they're like my high school and are constantly taken over by multiple denominations of Asian Christianity.


I had previously contacted 1) UIC 2) Fenton HS and 3) Maine South HS. All of the three would be preferable, none of the three are going to work. I did, however, belatedly hear back from U Chicago, and that may in fact work. Chicagoland locals - is Northwestern v U Chic basically 6 of one half dozen of the other here, or is one preferable over the other? In terms of actually getting there, my hope is that we can get as many cars as possible and only use the El as a last resort.

More importantly, as to the schedule of the day, would it be realistic to start games at 9 and play until 3 with only a short (say, 20 minute) lunch break? That could leave us with:
9am Rd 1
9:30am Rd 2
10:00am Rd 3
10:30am Rd 4
11:00am Rd 5
11:30am Rd 6
Lunch, rebracket, somewhere around here
12:20pm Rd 7
12:50pm Rd 8
1:20pm Rd 9
1:50pm Rd 10
2:20pm Rd 11 - Finals of some sort
2:45pm Awards
3pm Done

This presumes quick readers, but that shouldn't be an issue given those coming in for ICT. Thoughts?
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Re: National History Bowl - 2012 College National Championships

Postby Susan » Fri Nov 04, 2011 10:24 pm

If you think you can get a lot of cars, that makes Northwestern a better choice; the el trip to Chicago from O'Hare is long because they're on opposite sides of the city (far NW vs. far-ish SE), while the el trip from O'Hare to Northwestern is long because they don't connect directly and you have to detour through downtown.

Also, for what it's worth, I do not think that Chicago has been able to secure 16 rooms (was that the number you needed?) for any purpose at all since at least fall of 1999.
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Re: National History Bowl - 2012 College National Championships

Postby Charbroil » Fri Nov 04, 2011 10:56 pm

nationalhistorybeeandbowl wrote:...a short (say, 20 minute) lunch break? ...


I would suspect that this is unrealistic (even if you bring food to the tournament), but speaking as a member of one of the teams that would like to play this, I would not find your current schedule objectionable even if you allocated a full hour for food.
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Re: National History Bowl - 2012 College National Championships

Postby Great Bustard » Mon Nov 07, 2011 4:40 am

Ok, then we could do lunch in 25 minutes. We don't need more. Many schools don't have more. If we take pizza orders at the start of the day, and have them delivered on time, we'd be fine. No one needs more than 20 minutes to eat 2 slices of pizza and sip some coke or whatever. It might be short, but again, we're dealing with a compressed travel schedule.
I'll contact Northwestern this week (unless they read this and want to contact me first, which would be splendid).
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Re: National History Bowl - 2012 College National Championships

Postby grapesmoker » Mon Nov 07, 2011 1:07 pm

Maybe it's just the skeptic within me but I find this schedule pretty unfeasible. Even with some really fast readers and a short lunch break, I guarantee that things will stretch out and delays will spill over between rounds. That's just how it goes. I would recommend that anyone attending this actually assume that the end will come around 5 PM.
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Re: National History Bowl - 2012 College National Championships

Postby DumbJaques » Tue Nov 08, 2011 1:59 pm

Yeah, I would really caution against trying to cram this into a shorter day - the reality is that quizbowl events take time, and as this is going to be a national championship I wouldn't want to see either number of rounds or overall experience compromised by an unrealistic window.

It's even more important to be conservative with time estimates given the potentially dicey logistical situation. Particularly if we have to get into shuttling people around, which itself isn't a huge issue, the odds of delays go up astronomically. Perhaps I'm just not getting some of the constraints, but what's behind the big push to finish so early? Tournaments take a while, and we're all used to it. I'd rather know the constraints on when I can book return flights (even if that prevented my team from being able to compete) then book an unrealistically optimistic flight and end up missing it/having to leave the tournament during the playoffs or whatever.

I'm also pretty sure that the divine intervention necessary to pull off a 25-minute lunch break at a quizbowl tournament would require the sacrifice of some kind of medium-sized farm animal.
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