2008 QU NAC: B. T. Washington (OK) wins!

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Re: NAC Schedules

Post by Auks Ran Ova »

lasercats wrote:I wish that each team could play more, but that would require even more rooms, more days and judges, and a higher entry fee. Six matches in two days is good, but I wish it could be more.
You know, every reputable national tournament offers more games, in the same number of days, with said increased amount of rooms and readers, while charging a lower entry fee. Six matches in two days is awful.
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Re: NAC Schedules

Post by evilmonkey »

lasercats wrote:I wish that each team could play more, but that would require even more rooms, more days and judges, and a higher entry fee. Six matches in two days is good, but I wish it could be more. I think the questions were better than last year, but I also saw every question of every round, so I have more available to me for comparison.
Maggie - NAQT runs many more games per team, in many more rooms, for many more teams, in a single day, with a lower entry fee. PACE does as well, though the "many more teams" comment doesn't apply. Do you know why this is? Like, this seems like a pretty large discrepancy, and its not attributable to longer hours writing questions (while NAQT probably puts more research into the questions, QU writes more, so in the end the writing takes about the same amount of time).

Also, if you're interested in staffing HSNCT next year, email [email protected], and ask them to contact you next year when they are looking for volunteers. As I understand it, although they do not pay you, they do cover your expenses.
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Re: NAC Schedules

Post by Sir Thopas »

Ukonvasara wrote:
lasercats wrote:I wish that each team could play more, but that would require even more rooms, more days and judges, and a higher entry fee. Six matches in two days is good, but I wish it could be more.
You know, every reputable national tournament offers more games, in the same number of days, with said increased amount of rooms and readers, while charging a lower entry fee. Six matches in two days is awful.
Hell, every reputable regular tournament offers more games in half as much time, with more rooms and readers and a much lower entry fee. Three games a day, wow, never experienced that one.
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Re: NAC Schedules

Post by evilmonkey »

I feel like Mr. Dillon made some great comments, some in support of NAQT, some in support of NAC, and no one really has mentioned it.
Ben Dillon wrote: ...something about recognition that really doesn't favor any format that sounds reasonable...

...something about NAQT doing a good job with research, allowing mods to make judgement calls...

[Real quoting starts here]
I'll put in a plug for the more byes/fewer rooms format here. The argument will have some holes in it, I imagine.

Playing at NAQT was draining. Although we got to play a lot of matches, the constant thundering of tossup/bonus with no variety wore out my players. (Of course, it didn't help that we didn't win a lot. Nothing energizes players like success.)

In addition, there were at least two other Indiana teams that I would liked to have rooted for, plus several elite teams that I would have liked to see because they are things of beauty. I didn't get adequate chance to do this at NAQT because we were always playing, and it would have been difficult to locate them because of the card system. (Never mind that I probably wouldn't have been able to spectate because of the tiny rooms anyway.)

With more byes and fewer rooms, the matches are a little more player-friendly and a lot more spectator-friendly.

Not to say that NAC is the ideal on this. Three rooms is too few for a hundred teams, as the byes become way too far apart.
I would like to say that I completely understand where you're coming from, Mr. Dillon. At the end of the 14 rounds at HSNCT, my team was drained. It feels like they try to cram one or two too many games in. But I also understand what NAQT is going for - trying to get enough information about the teams to only let a fraction make it to the playoffs.

The "not being able to see other Indiana teams" is unfortunate, but at its basest level, QB doesn't need to be a spectator event. The "seeing elite teams"... well, thats what the playoffs were for, IMO, though I didn't get to see many playoff rounds because I was coaching Culver B.

I don't know if there is a good way to reconcile "too many rounds in one day" with "getting each team enough games to differentiate", unless NAQT is willing to start on Friday Night, or spill over onto Monday.

Ben Dillon wrote:
scquizbowl wrote:Chip also had his bracket manipulation, so his stories could be brought up time and time again in matches.
Did I miss you giving some evidence on this one? Chip's been set in a pattern of pairing by standard NCAA bracket seeding for a few years now. (Gone are the days since he paired Dorman versus Irmo in Round 1 of the playoffs because he wanted the TV rounds to be as geographically diverse as possible.)
I think they might be referring to the prelim brackets, but I am unsure on this point
Ben Dillon wrote:
leftsaidfred wrote: Can we get an argument from someone that gives reasons why NAC events are good? Every response so far in this thread that has been pro-Chip in tone has addressed the issue of politeness of Chip critics, but nothing that actually makes an argument that Chip runs good tournaments. If someone likes these events, please post a reasoned argument as to why they are of quality.
...
(1) My players prefer the QU format over tossup/bonus because of the variety. Our league plays on it, and NAQT provides the questions in QU format. It provides for straight tossup rounds (NAQT, PACE do not), category rounds (NAQT does not, PACE does a worksheet, I believe), and stolen bonuses (NAQT does not, PACE does).
My question to everyone out there - is the QU format inherently flawed, or is there some wiggle room out there? I know that most of my dislike for QU is a result of their questions, not their format. I believe that perhaps the PACE format is a great compromise, in light of this - it gives the variety that Mr. Dillon (and other QU supporters, most likely) says he and his players prefer, while keeping questions strong and academic.
Ben Dillon wrote: (2) My players pretty much demand the choice of weekends. My best player made the choice to bypass NAQT and Dallas NAC this year because it was the weekend before finals. In fact, we've never attended NAQT before because of this very reason. The only thing that made us attend it this year was that we had enough money to do two national tournaments as long as they were both in Chicago. If we had chosen only one tournament out of town, we might have chosen PACE. [Note: I was pleased as punch that they chose two, though, because I wanted to see NAQT for myself so as to better compare it to NAC.] I've gone on record before as saying that NAQT and/or PACE could make great inroads into NAC's share by doing the multiple-weekend-city thing.
I've got to go to dinner. I can't respond to this right now.
Last edited by evilmonkey on Tue Jun 03, 2008 7:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: NAC Schedules

Post by Ben Dillon »

Good points, Bryce. But I've got to disagree with you on this one:
evilmonkey wrote:The "not being able to see other Indiana teams" is unfortunate, but at its basest level, QB doesn't need to be a spectator event.
Quiz Bowl absolutely needs to be a spectator competition. Not that the spectators are a necessary component, but every game should be open to them. I want up-and-coming players to be able to see the varsity, proud parents/teachers/etc. to see smart students in action. In a country that emphasizes sports so much, why would we hide an academic competition?
evilmonkey wrote:I think they might be referring to the prelim brackets, but I am unsure on this point.
In past years, Chip has said that the teams are paired by arrival time. IIRC, his website used to say something like the first "round" featured 1 vs. 2, 3 vs. 4, and the second "round" featured 1 vs. 4, 2 vs. 3, etc., with allowances for teams' scheduling requests (blocking out a particular time for sightseeing). This had the effect of putting teams into pools such that you could usually scout two future opponents because they'd be playing each other. Thus, I can see how three strong teams could all end up facing each other in prelims while weak teams got to face each other. In other words, no Swiss-system/power-matching. Chip also stated that the pairing system was a matter of public record, but I'm not sure anyone had ever taken him up on that.

Therefore, I'm not certain that "fixing" the preliminary pairings is a charge that has ever been proven (unlike past evidence of plagiarism). To be sure, random chance has probably paired favorites in the past just as it has likely given a favorite an easy path to the playoffs. Are we SURE about the game-fixing charges? It would be helpful if a veteran pointed me to a link where it was proven beyond a reasonable doubt :)
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Re: NAC Schedules

Post by Mechanical Beasts »

Ben Dillon wrote:Quiz Bowl absolutely needs to be a spectator competition. Not that the spectators are a necessary component, but every game should be open to them. I want up-and-coming players to be able to see the varsity, proud parents/teachers/etc. to see smart students in action. In a country that emphasizes sports so much, why would we hide an academic competition?
I see that value. That said, as a competitor I always watched other teams during my bye rounds--that wasn't a problem--and, though Bernadette can corroborate this one, I know that several more people could fit into our hotel room--one of the smaller ones--than just two teams and two sets of coaches.
Ben Dillon wrote: In past years, Chip has said that the teams are paired by arrival time. IIRC, his website used to say something like the first "round" featured 1 vs. 2, 3 vs. 4, and the second "round" featured 1 vs. 4, 2 vs. 3, etc., with allowances for teams' scheduling requests (blocking out a particular time for sightseeing). This had the effect of putting teams into pools such that you could usually scout two future opponents because they'd be playing each other. Thus, I can see how three strong teams could all end up facing each other in prelims while weak teams got to face each other. In other words, no Swiss-system/power-matching. Chip also stated that the pairing system was a matter of public record, but I'm not sure anyone had ever taken him up on that.

Therefore, I'm not certain that "fixing" the preliminary pairings is a charge that has ever been proven (unlike past evidence of plagiarism). To be sure, random chance has probably paired favorites in the past just as it has likely given a favorite an easy path to the playoffs. Are we SURE about the game-fixing charges? It would be helpful if a veteran pointed me to a link where it was proven beyond a reasonable doubt :)
I'm no expert, but I think that while we look for such a veteran, we consider the fact that that system allows Chip to do whatever he wants with the brackets, by fabricating requests, etc. Also, let's say that he doesn't manipulate brackets. Is it moral to be careless about brackets?
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Re: NAC Schedules

Post by cvdwightw »

There have been numerous well-reasoned arguments for why NAQT and PACE are objectively better than NAC. However, it seems like every time someone tries to make an argument for NAC they're just told to shut up because they're wrong. As such, I think people are missing what might be called "redeeming qualities" of the NAC.

Let's look at some facts that might be cited in favor of the NAC, and logical inferences that can be drawn from those facts. I will then present a counter-argument. Hey, it's yet another election day here, and I might as well stay on a roll with "argument for/rebuttal/argument against/rebuttal". We have plenty of argument against/"rebuttal", but not a lot of argument for/rebuttal.

Argument for: Chip hosts phases of his national in multiple cities on multiple weekends, so teams that cannot make one phase can attend a different weekend. Thus, the NAC allows teams interested in coming to nationals who cannot make the tournament weekend to choose which weekend to attend.

Rebuttal: Traditionally, two of those weekends have overlapped with NAQT and PACE. Therefore, teams who have difficulty making it to one weekend of NAC could, theoretically, choose to attend either NAQT or PACE. A team who has to forgo a tournament due to graduation or some other event, but still wants to play a national tournament, is not left with Chip as its sole option. In addition, all things being equal, teams who choose to attend the final phase have a distinct advantage, as they need only finish first or second in their phase to advance to the semifinals, while teams in the other two phases must win their phases.

Argument for: Multiple consecutive byes allow teams more opportunity for touristy stuff or for watching other teams. Thus, teams do not feel like they have been "beaten down" by loads of questions without an opportunity to do anything "fun".

Rebuttal: Currently, the NAQT format allows for four byes over the course of fourteen rounds, while PACE allows none. The NAC allows for a ridiculous 27 byes over the course of 33 rounds. Thus, since teams play in under 20% of the scheduled rounds, an argument can be made that playing quizbowl is not the primary reason for participating in this national quizbowl tournament. Many teams, in addition, arrive a day early or stay a day late in the host city to do that "touristy stuff" or otherwise have fun.

Argument for: The four-quarter format ensures that even the worst team will rarely be shut out by anyone.

Rebuttal: I think this is a significantly better argument for the four-quarter format than the whole "tossup-bonus is BORING and REPETITIVE" argument. Losing 600-80 is far better for a weak team's morale than losing 500-0. You get stomped either way, but when you score 80 points you at least demonstrate that you have some knowledge. The presence of the sixty second round allows for teams to score some points without having to compete for a tossup. I honestly don't think that there is anything inherently wrong with the four-quarter format.

Argument for: Through Twenty Questions and Quiznet, Chip allows teams from places that do not have viable circuits to compete at a national level. Thus, NAC has the most geographically diverse field of all the nationals.

Rebuttal: NAQT has done an excellent job of making inroads in traditionally quizbowl-deficient areas. NAQT can boast a wide geographical diversity in its field, and no one state/region dominates the makeup of its field. PACE continues to draw from mostly east of the Mississippi, but has a fairly diverse group of teams. A significant portion of the teams at NAC come from New York; someone estimated this at 1/3 this year. Playing half your games against teams from New York does not give anyone the feeling that they played against the top teams from a variety of regions, even if one of the other games was against some random team from Montana.

Argument for: NAC is the oldest currently-running tournament in existence and therefore has the most prestige.

Rebuttal: Prestige should not be correlated with how long something has gone on, but with its reputation among the best players and teams in the nation. There are a whole lot of colleges that have been around far longer than Stanford. Yet many of the top high school seniors place much more significant value on being accepted into Stanford. Therefore, it can be reasonably claimed that Stanford is "more prestigious" than a lot of schools that have been around longer. Currently, the best players and teams in the nation value winning NAQT and PACE more than they value NAC; therefore, it can be claimed that NAQT and PACE are "more prestigious" than NAC.

Argument for: NAC is fun to watch.

Rebuttal: Every argument I've heard about "NAC is fun to watch" deals with the host and his/her relationship to the teams and to the audience, and never about high-quality quizbowl being played. I wasn't at PACE, but I listened to the audio recording of the final game. With the staff firmly in the background, the game featured: two of the best teams in the nation going head-to-head for all the marbles, 72% of the points possible being scored, a protest (that involved neither a wrong answer being accepted nor the need to call America's premier sword-swallower for a final judgment), an impressive late-game comeback by the eventual winners, a cliffhanger final bonus, a regulation tie, an overtime period decided on the first part of the last bonus, and a standing ovation in recognition of an amazingly well-played game by both sides. I don't know that Chip could have scripted a more dramatic final. The 2004 PACE Final and 2005 NAQT Final are both already legendary as well.

At the highest level, NAQT and PACE are fun to watch like a heavyweight bout is fun to watch - two juggernauts each taking the other's best shot and responding. The NAC is fun to watch like Saturday morning cartoons are fun to watch - the game appears to be taken much less seriously by everybody, and the excitement is much more in the lightheartedness than in the suspense.

I hope I haven't missed any "redeeming qualities". If I have, post them, and hopefully either I or someone else can provide an adequate rebuttal. If you want to provide rebuttals to my rebuttals, go ahead too. I think that right now, there has been far too much emphasis on reiterating the "argument against" going to NAC as the standard rebuttal to anything that might be an "argument for" going to NAC, and not enough emphasis on how much of a point those arguments for NAC have.
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Re: NAC Schedules

Post by evilmonkey »

everyday847 wrote:
Ben Dillon wrote: In past years, Chip has said that the teams are paired by arrival time. IIRC, his website used to say something like the first "round" featured 1 vs. 2, 3 vs. 4, and the second "round" featured 1 vs. 4, 2 vs. 3, etc., with allowances for teams' scheduling requests (blocking out a particular time for sightseeing). This had the effect of putting teams into pools such that you could usually scout two future opponents because they'd be playing each other. Thus, I can see how three strong teams could all end up facing each other in prelims while weak teams got to face each other. In other words, no Swiss-system/power-matching. Chip also stated that the pairing system was a matter of public record, but I'm not sure anyone had ever taken him up on that.

Therefore, I'm not certain that "fixing" the preliminary pairings is a charge that has ever been proven (unlike past evidence of plagiarism). To be sure, random chance has probably paired favorites in the past just as it has likely given a favorite an easy path to the playoffs. Are we SURE about the game-fixing charges? It would be helpful if a veteran pointed me to a link where it was proven beyond a reasonable doubt :)
I'm no expert, but I think that while we look for such a veteran, we consider the fact that that system allows Chip to do whatever he wants with the brackets, by fabricating requests, etc. Also, let's say that he doesn't manipulate brackets. Is it moral to be careless about brackets?
Yes, it is moral to be careless about brackets. While PACE is moral because they balance brackets, it is also moral to not care, because presumably the best teams will still make the playoffs. I think that if you fix brackets in any way, however, they should be fixed so that they are balanced. Otherwise, you open yourself up to charges of favoritism, or something like that. (Obviously, with HSNCT, they can't really balance, so I believe they just arrange the cards so that in earlier rounds teams from the same area don't play each other). While Chip does set brackets, and doesn't necessarily balance them, I think its possible that he does not try to set anything up in his brackets. We are America - Innocent until proven guilty. So while I have a problem with that practice, it is not an ethical concern necessarily.

Also @cvdwight - I believe Mr. Dillon outlined some of those that you completely ignored on the previous page of posts.
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Re: NAC Schedules

Post by jbarnes112358 »

Ben Dillon wrote: Quiz Bowl absolutely needs to be a spectator competition. Not that the spectators are a necessary component, but every game should be open to them. I want up-and-coming players to be able to see the varsity, proud parents/teachers/etc. to see smart students in action. In a country that emphasizes sports so much, why would we hide an academic competition?)
I agree with this sentiment. NAQT and PACE absolutely welcome spectators, though sometimes rooms are too small to accommodate many. Many games have parents, coaches, players and others observing. Games later in the playoffs tend to be in larger rooms with many spectators. The amazing quality of the players and the frequent drama in these playoff games are quite a sight to behold, which I believe would make interesting television fare, even without the gimmicks of a game show or reality TV. I mean, the national spelling bee is televised, and I would think watching incredibly knowledgeable high schoolers at quizbowl would be at least as interesting as watching middle schoolers taking 5 minutes to spell an obscure word. I have even seen Mathcounts nationally televised. People spend hours watching people play golf or poker on TV. Quizbowl would also have an interested audience I bet.

The final game at PACE NSC was a spectator's delight. One team is down by 100 points with three (four?) questions left only to come back on the last question to tie the game 360-360, losing the chance to win it outright by missing an easy art bonus on the final question, but then finally pulling out the victory in overtime. Wow! What a game. It was reminiscent of the 2004 NSC final when a team rallied from a 200 point deficit with 6 questions left. So, yes, these kinds of games are fun to watch as a spectator.

I am old enough to have watched the College Bowl on TV back in the 60's. (You can find one of these games on YouTube somewhere.) Without a doubt the kids on the better high school teams you see at PACE NSC and NAQT HSNCT would crush those college players of yesteryear. I agree that the world should get to chance to witness today's quality quizbowl in action. People would be amazed.

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Re: NAC Schedules

Post by lasercats »

Matt Weiner wrote: *She is clearly a great example of the biased moderating corps that makes the NAC a joke as a competition, posting on this board to boast about "her" team winning a tournament she was involved in running
This baffles me. I am 19 years old, and graduated from Booker T Washington High School one year ago last week. It is still "my" team. I want you to know, along with everyone else, that I refused to judge the Booker T. Games that occurred in the rooms to which I was assigned. In one game I read the questions, and the other one I ran the buzzer system and scoreboard, and warned all of the senior moderators that I was not comfortable with making judgment calls in those games because of my affiliation with the school. I knew that Booker T. was going to be a strong contender this year, and went out of my way to make sure that my involvement would not cause them problems. How is that biased?
ILoveReeses wrote:
I'm just expressing my own opinion, and I know you don't agree. But I just wanted to say what I thought on this. I'm extremely certain nothing at NAC has changed, and that all this previous talk about how Chip has "improved so much" is a bunch of bunk. But attack the message not the messenger. To that point: is it just because she works for Chip that she's incapable of being a good person? Incapable of "seeing the light"? I'm not trying to make a judgment that she's good or bad in my original objection... just that you all shouldn't provoke her to call you a brat in the first place.

You also opened the argument about "he who is without sin" with the last (not everyone is a good person...)... what gives any of us the right to make a summary judgment that she is a bad person... and it's based on her activities with quiz bowl? Are we serious? If we're not serious... then don't call her into the principal's office for her use of "brat." If we are serious... come on. It's quiz bowl. ... a very flawed version, but still... If you want to stop perpetuating the lie that is :chip: 's tournament, fine... but my original point is why call her out specifically? You are making a deliberate choice to single her out solely because she posts on this forum. In effect you are trying to embarass, shame, and humiliate her solely... not Chip. That's not something we should be doing as I think it could result in a backlash of sympathy for her... and thus you undermine your own purpose with that statement. You're assigning her to be the straw man in the place of :chip: ... and I just don't think that's right. Her reaction is logical to predict as a result, and thus this tactic is provocative and not fair to her.

If it were the bum from Myrtle Beach, yeah... let's blast him for the vacuous posts. But I don't see where she deserved such an outing other than the fact she got hired by Chip but still found her way here anyway. Shouldn't she get some credit for being open to this rather hostile environment? It's easy to convert the choir, but converting the "heathens" among the qb world is not effective when done this way.
I appreciate this. I would like to say that had my high school team chosen to attend the NAQT nationals instead of/in addition to NAC last year, and I had been offered a moderating position at their nationals, I would have chosen it just like I did with Chip. It's not my fault that my high school chose NAC over NAQT, of which they are the state champions. It's not like I decided to be a moderator one day and thus looked up the different national competitions and said "hmm....NAQT and PACE simply don't look evil enough for my tastes. I'll call Chip!"
Howard wrote:
Matt, there's no question you've contributed more to quizbowl, and good quizbowl, more than most quizbowl players will contribute in their entire lives. But I don't think posts like the ones you've made in this thread count toward that. If I were a newbie coming here (and I indeed once was), and you made similar posts regarding my support of a tournament, I'd think you were the one on crack. Why not make posts pointing to earlier threads discussing what's wrong with the NAC rather than just jumping in and attacking the poster. That'd at least help them understand and perhaps create a meaningful discussion. Hopefully, you haven't ruined your chances of Maggie at least e-mailing you after the completion of the tournament.

Maggie, I hope you continue to post in this forum. Even more, I hope you hop on over to the tourney announcements sections and then go to the tournaments in your area, either to play or help administer the tournament. I've met Matt, and I can attest he's a good person and that he cares very deeply about improving quizbowl. I say this knowing that he and I disagree on several issues he deems highly important. Hopefully, once the NAC has concluded, you will indeed e-mail him, and hopefully, he'll politely provide you with the facts he has. If you don't feel comfortable doing this after the antics in this thread, perhaps someone else here with firsthand experience with the NAC will offer to engage in a similar dialogue.
I will most likely continue to lurk this forum, as this thread has (thankfully) not driven me away from the entire quizbowl circuit. I would love to attend other tournaments in my area, but I am afraid that there are very few down here in Oklahoma. I do plan on joining the OU Team, and volunteering to read at their tournaments, and possibly for High schools in the area when school starts up again. I thoroughly enjoy reading regardless of the format.
Matt Weiner wrote:
It was also very weird that even though an NAC game takes three pairs of hands to run (the computer with the questions on it, the scoresheet, and the electronic scoreboard control) the games I saw involved 2 rooms with only 2 staffers and 2 other rooms where one person was trying to control six things by himself and usually was not succeeding. How can Chip possibly have issues recruiting a full staff when he only needs 18 people, and 12 of them are just going to be adding numbers so they don't need to know anything about quizbowl?
Thanks to Tanya's newly-innovated program, the computer automatically manages the scores. There are no more scoresheets.
evilmonkey wrote:
@ Maggie - As I said above, I hope SOMEONE is talking to you about what we consider good quizbowl to be, and why we believe those things, and what specifically Chip has done (besides promote bad quizbowl) that we don't like. I played a lot of Chip in HS, and while it was better than lighting myself on fire, playing NAQT and PACE really brought out the contrast between those two and QU. If you are a friend of quizbowl, I welcome you. If you are a friend only to QU and NAC... I still welcome you, but you're in a for a rough time.
I would love to receive pms or emails ([email protected]) from anyone who is willing to talk rationally. I have no experience with PACE (unless we called it a different name or something), and not much with NAQT, however I do like the concept of "power". I would love more information besides "Chip is evil, you're inferior, blah, blah, blah". I just noted "cornfused"'s post with summaries and will be checking them out later on.
evilmonkey wrote:
Also, if you're interested in staffing HSNCT next year, email [email protected], and ask them to contact you next year when they are looking for volunteers. As I understand it, although they do not pay you, they do cover your expenses.
[/quote]

Thank you very much for the reference. I will definitely contact them, as I want to continue moderating in as many formats as possible.

I find it unfortunate and unfair that my posts saying that I enjoyed the NAC tournament have caused me to be portrayed as an all-around Chip disciple. Now I know what Obama feels like after Rev. Wright's sermons surfaced.
I only served on my high school qbowl team for two years, and I recall attending two NAQT tournaments. As of this year, Booker T. has attended 26 NAC nationals, and a couple of NAQT's for one reason or another. I don't know why this is, but it's just how it is. It's not my fault that I am more familiar with the format than the others. I am, however, interested in learning about all of the formats as I mentioned above.
It's unfortunate that so many here have assumed that because I ran a few games in DC and will run a few more in Chicago next week that I run the tournament, write all of the questions, and am an older man who wears suspenders. I can guarantee that I am none of these things, namely the last. For proof, come to Chicago and look for the six-foot tall female.
By the way, I would love to talk to any of you in person if you are coming to Chicago. I have some trouble expressing my full feelings in writing and may need more conversation.
Last edited by lasercats on Tue Jun 03, 2008 9:09 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: NAC Schedules

Post by evilmonkey »

lasercats wrote: EDIT: I've tried to edit this and fix the quotes several times now, but I'm having little luck. If someone could help me with that I would appreciate it.
At the end of Dr. Chucks (ILOVEREESES) quote, you have a { instead of a [
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Re: NAC Schedules

Post by lasercats »

evilmonkey wrote:
lasercats wrote: EDIT: I've tried to edit this and fix the quotes several times now, but I'm having little luck. If someone could help me with that I would appreciate it.
At the end of Dr. Chucks (ILOVEREESES) quote, you have a { instead of a [

AHA! Thank you. I'm sitting rather far away from the screen, and can't differentiate [ and (.
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Re: NAC Schedules

Post by Irreligion in Bangladesh »

lasercats wrote:
Matt Weiner wrote: *She is clearly a great example of the biased moderating corps that makes the NAC a joke as a competition, posting on this board to boast about "her" team winning a tournament she was involved in running
This baffles me. I am 19 years old, and graduated from Booker T Washington High School one year ago last week. It is still "my" team. I want you to know, along with everyone else, that I refused to judge the Booker T. Games that occurred in the rooms to which I was assigned. In one game I read the questions, and the other one I ran the buzzer system and scoreboard, and warned all of the senior moderators that I was not comfortable with making judgment calls in those games because of my affiliation with the school. I knew that Booker T. was going to be a strong contender this year, and went out of my way to make sure that my involvement would not cause them problems. How is that biased?
This is exactly what I was hoping would be the case re: you and your former team's matches at NAC. I know where you're coming from here; I moderated area tournaments and saw/moderated for my former high school in numerous matches. They're all my friends on the team, and it was definitely an important distinction to make to NOT make any important judgment calls on their matches. You're definitely in the right to refuse to weigh in on judgment calls, and we have no reason to assume you would act unfairly in your alma mater's favor.

But this is also a colossal example of how we see Chip as unethical. Booker T. Washington is favored to do well at the tournament, and it may be very likely that they win. Trumpeting this, as well as trumpeting the "underdog" card for their opponent, may make for exciting commentary as Chip is wont to do. But adding in the fact that a BTW alum is favored by the tournament and is a staff member in some games involving BTW, and trumpeting this in commentary, goes too far and can easily be seen as favoring one school rather than others.

I am not saying that there was any hanky-panky in favor of BTW at this past tournament, nor that any actions were taken by anyone to favor BTW. But the simple fact that I have to make such a statement is bad. Tournaments should stress to make sure via scheduling, staffing, and question writing that there is NO possibility for even the accusation of favoring any team: Chip has not and does not. The fact that Chip put you in the position of staffing your team's games is unfair to the opponent, for creating a possible situation where the tournament itself might not want it to do well; it's unfair to your former team, for possibly de-legitimatizing victories; and it's unfair to you, for putting you in such a tenuous position if a protest arises. This is one of the many reasons why we dislike Chip.
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Re: NAC Schedules

Post by mujason »

Does anybody know if Chip has ever mentioned that Upton Sinclair's middle name is Beall in any NAC questions?

Also, I still think we could set up an alternate tournament at a nearby school for teams to play in during their bye rounds. We could call it the CAT (Chip Alternative Tournament) and have an Egyptian theme for non-question-compromising fun (as we'll have pyramid-style questions and cats were worshipped in Egypt). I'm sure we can round up some volunteer question writers and staffers.
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Re: NAC Schedules

Post by jbarnes112358 »

styxman wrote:
I am not saying that there was any hanky-panky in favor of BTW at this past tournament, nor that any actions were taken by anyone to favor BTW. But the simple fact that I have to make such a statement is bad. Tournaments should stress to make sure via scheduling, staffing, and question writing that there is NO possibility for even the accusation of favoring any team: Chip has not and does not. The fact that Chip put you in the position of staffing your team's games is unfair to the opponent, for creating a possible situation where the tournament itself might not want it to do well; it's unfair to your former team, for possibly de-legitimatizing victories; and it's unfair to you, for putting you in such a tenuous position if a protest arises. This is one of the many reasons why we dislike Chip.
I agree with you with respect to :chip: because of all the allegations of favoritism over the years. However, at tournaments like NSC and HSNCT I don't think it is such a big deal. It is common for a school's alum to read for games. It happened on a couple of occasions this past weekend that graduates of our school read for games in which we were playing. No one had a problem with it. If anything the reader seemed to be favoring the other team, and had the game been closer I might have protested a couple of decisions. It is not at all uncommon for us the be playing TJ, for example, with a TJ alum reading. I have never had an issue with it, nor as far as I know, has anyone else. The readers at these tournaments seem supremely fair. Furthermore, even if there were an issue, it could be resolved outside the room in good faith based on sound logic, not somebody's whim.

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Re: NAC Schedules

Post by lasercats »

styxman wrote:
lasercats wrote:
Matt Weiner wrote: *She is clearly a great example of the biased moderating corps that makes the NAC a joke as a competition, posting on this board to boast about "her" team winning a tournament she was involved in running
This baffles me. I am 19 years old, and graduated from Booker T Washington High School one year ago last week. It is still "my" team. I want you to know, along with everyone else, that I refused to judge the Booker T. Games that occurred in the rooms to which I was assigned. In one game I read the questions, and the other one I ran the buzzer system and scoreboard, and warned all of the senior moderators that I was not comfortable with making judgment calls in those games because of my affiliation with the school. I knew that Booker T. was going to be a strong contender this year, and went out of my way to make sure that my involvement would not cause them problems. How is that biased?
This is exactly what I was hoping would be the case re: you and your former team's matches at NAC. I know where you're coming from here; I moderated area tournaments and saw/moderated for my former high school in numerous matches. They're all my friends on the team, and it was definitely an important distinction to make to NOT make any important judgment calls on their matches. You're definitely in the right to refuse to weigh in on judgment calls, and we have no reason to assume you would act unfairly in your alma mater's favor.

But this is also a colossal example of how we see Chip as unethical. Booker T. Washington is favored to do well at the tournament, and it may be very likely that they win. Trumpeting this, as well as trumpeting the "underdog" card for their opponent, may make for exciting commentary as Chip is wont to do. But adding in the fact that a BTW alum is favored by the tournament and is a staff member in some games involving BTW, and trumpeting this in commentary, goes too far and can easily be seen as favoring one school rather than others.

I am not saying that there was any hanky-panky in favor of BTW at this past tournament, nor that any actions were taken by anyone to favor BTW. But the simple fact that I have to make such a statement is bad. Tournaments should stress to make sure via scheduling, staffing, and question writing that there is NO possibility for even the accusation of favoring any team: Chip has not and does not. The fact that Chip put you in the position of staffing your team's games is unfair to the opponent, for creating a possible situation where the tournament itself might not want it to do well; it's unfair to your former team, for possibly de-legitimatizing victories; and it's unfair to you, for putting you in such a tenuous position if a protest arises. This is one of the many reasons why we dislike Chip.
My former team being in the same room to which I was assigned was, to my best knowledge, completely random. They had me moving from room to room every couple of hours to help everyone and to make sure that I got to work with everyone.
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Re: NAC Schedules

Post by Mechanical Beasts »

Maggie--your comments have been immensely reassuring to me. I hope that as you gain more familiarity with other formats, you begin to work with them exclusively.
evilmonkey wrote:Yes, it is moral to be careless about brackets. While PACE is moral because they balance brackets, it is also moral to not care, because presumably the best teams will still make the playoffs. I think that if you fix brackets in any way, however, they should be fixed so that they are balanced. Otherwise, you open yourself up to charges of favoritism, or something like that. (Obviously, with HSNCT, they can't really balance, so I believe they just arrange the cards so that in earlier rounds teams from the same area don't play each other). While Chip does set brackets, and doesn't necessarily balance them, I think its possible that he does not try to set anything up in his brackets. We are America - Innocent until proven guilty. So while I have a problem with that practice, it is not an ethical concern necessarily.
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Re: NAC Schedules

Post by Louis XIV and Twenty Million Henchmen »

cvdwightw wrote:Losing 600-80 is far better for a weak team's morale than losing 500-0. You get stomped either way, but when you score 80 points you at least demonstrate that you have some knowledge. The presence of the sixty second round allows for teams to score some points without having to compete for a tossup. I honestly don't think that there is anything inherently wrong with the four-quarter format.
I have mixed feelings about 60-second rounds. It's definitely true that it gives weaker teams a chance at some questions without having to worry about the other team getting them first, but in closer games, one team's choosing an easier category just by luck can influence the outcome. In one of the games my team played, they were in some danger of losing (they'd had a pretty big lead if memory serves, but the scores were within just a few "stump the experts" questions of each other after the 60-second round) at the start of the fourth quarter because the other team picked an easy category (it was Internet terminology or something) and my players had to deal with a category involving their having to listen to the moderator trying to pronounce the names of candy bars sans vowels (on which they got something like 3 correct, which must largely have been due to the moderator's pronouncing the clues in a funny voice and thereby compromising his intelligibility–maybe that was part of the point…). This danger ended up being overcome, though, partly because one of my players was able to fraud a Bible question early from having heard the same opening clues, as someone said above, in the middle-school game that had gone on directly before theirs.

I guess you could say the same thing about bonuses, but it is true that wordplay 60-second rounds (and categories where you know that the answer has to start with a certain letter, like "'F' in History" or whatever) are easier and are therefore in greater demand than straight knowledge-based ones like "U.S. Senators". And even though you can't always tell what the category will be about from its name, you do get to pick. So if the game is close at the start of the third quarter, the team that's behind by 5 points or something will get the luxury of getting to choose that easier one (like a category where even though you do have to know that there existed a guy named Farragut, for example, you also know that he's the one to pick over someone else because the answer has to start with an F). A tiny margin can turn out to decide a lot if one category is easy like that and the team that's behind by that small amount will get to choose it first.

I do think 60-second rounds are fun to play, though–I thoroughly enjoyed some of the ones I did when I played at NAC last year, as well as at the regional tournament in the Ithaca area that also uses 4-quarter format. (Especially fun are the wordplay-type ones that don't require any actual knowledge.) I also enjoy audio questions on classical music (also not so good: matches that feature 2 1950's pop song clips and no classical…). I just think that although it's fun(n?), doing well on stuff like that doesn't mean anything. I also think it would be fun to play Jeopardy!, but I've heard that doing well on that doesn't really mean much either, since Jeopardy! rewards buzzer speed after having to wait. NAC rewards picking good/easy categories by chance and, in large part, your luck in not getting hosed on tossups.

(P.S. As someone who played nothing but NAC and NAC-style in high school, I will say that if I had participated in "Who Wants to Be a Game Show Host?" last year and won, I would have happily accepted the offer as well, since at that time I knew of no other quizbowl. I especially didn't know anything about the ethical issues until I started following this forum and reading the wiki.)
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Re: NAC Schedules

Post by Ben Dillon »

lasercats wrote:My former team being in the same room to which I was assigned was, to my best knowledge, completely random. They had me moving from room to room every couple of hours to help everyone and to make sure that I got to work with everyone.
When the moderator is connected to the team, they can be accused of favoritism (ruling for their alma mater) or antifavoritism (overcompensating by ruling against); I have seen both happen. Why tempt either?

This is a little disconcerting. I don't like hearing that it happened at NAQT, but it's understandable given that the card system makes it nigh near impossible to predict which two teams might walk in the door. It's more unsettling at NAC, where the matchups are known well in advance.

Plus it's an easy fix. All it takes is the affected moderator alerting the tournament director and switching places with the next room. In the case of NAQT, there are plenty of rooms to switch with. (All the moderator has to do is go back to the question pickup room and wait for the next moderator through the door to arrange the switch.) In the case of NAC, the amount of time between rounds is usually about 5-10 minutes, so there's also ample time to make the switch.
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Re: NAC Schedules

Post by evilmonkey »

Ben Dillon wrote: This is a little disconcerting. I don't like hearing that it happened at NAQT, but it's understandable given that the card system makes it nigh near impossible to predict which two teams might walk in the door. It's more unsettling at NAC, where the matchups are known well in advance.
At NAQT, each room had two moderators. What should happen, in that case, is that the one who is not affiliated with a school should be switched to reading (and, therefore, making judgement calls), while the one affiliated with a school should be only in charge of scorekeeping for the round.
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Re: NAC Schedules

Post by lasercats »

Chip didn't see a problem with it-I suppose he trusted my integrity more than I do. It's not that I didn't think I would have been able to judge fairly either by favoring my team or being too lenient on the other, I was just worried that someone would protest an entire match or something because of my involvement.

In response to Evilmonkey: that's exactly what I did. I either switched to reading or only managed the scoreboard/buzzer system.
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Re: NAC Schedules

Post by Ben Dillon »

Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer? :grin:
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Re: NAC Schedules

Post by lasercats »

Ben Dillon wrote:Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer? :grin:
Yes indeedy! I've been looking for an avatar for a while, and this just popped into my head.
"Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury; I'm a caveman. I was discovered and thawed out by your scientists. You world frightens and confuses me!" lol.
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Re: NAC Schedules

Post by evilmonkey »

lasercats wrote:
Yes indeedy! I've been looking for an avatar for a while, and this just popped into my head.
"Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury; I'm a caveman. I was discovered and thawed out by your scientists. You world frightens and confuses me!" lol.
This quote also seems appropriate
"O wonder!
How many goodly creatures are there here!
How beauteous mankind is!
O brave new world
That hath such people in't!"
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Re: NAC Schedules

Post by Howard »

jbarnes112358 wrote:If anything the reader seemed to be favoring the other team, and had the game been closer I might have protested a couple of decisions. It is not at all uncommon for us the be playing TJ, for example, with a TJ alum reading. I have never had an issue with it, nor as far as I know, has anyone else. The readers at these tournaments seem supremely fair. Furthermore, even if there were an issue, it could be resolved outside the room in good faith based on sound logic, not somebody's whim.
I don't have any experience with NAC, but a very large majority of teams I see at national and local tournaments behave with the utmost of integrity and honesty. In most cases, they'll concede a protest if they have enough knowledge to determine the other party is correct. Considering that a vast majority of NAQT and PACE staffers were at one point party to these tournaments, it's little surprise that they can be counted on to use the utmost honor and care in their decisions.
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Re: NAC Schedules

Post by Matt Weiner »

Yeah, the explanation is fairly obvious, in that PACE and NAQT are products of the quizbowl community, whereas Chip is an outside entity who descends, vampire-like, on our wallets, and markets mostly to teams not in that "community" group because that is where you can convince a team that hasn't even played a game with buzzers before (one of which I saw at NAC) that they are potential winners of nationals who should give you $600.
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Re: NAC Schedules

Post by Tegan »

http://www.doc-ent.com/qbwiki/index.php ... of_the_NAC

Here is the start of an article that we can hopefully all use to point people toward some truthful evidence as to what we speak of. I think the more concrete evidence that is detailed here, the better the chance that it will become simple to convince people that something odd is afoot.

There will always be those who will see, and who will not believe.

So, ala the Temple of Doom, we rip their beating heart from their chest, and then lower them into a caldera as a sacrifice to Kali.

"Indiana (St.) Jo(n)es and the Tournament of Doom"???????? If we shaved Chip's head, he could make a decent Mola Ram? And I would be willing to play Short Round, since it is so aptly descriptive.

Naw ... :wink:

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Re: NAC Schedules

Post by lasercats »

I'm heading to the airport late tonight. If anyone from the board is going to Chicago, please introduce yourself to me!
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Chicago Phase

Post by btressler »

So we're here now at the Holiday Inn O'Hare (of which there are four, so make sure you've got the right one).

The only cheap food that is close is Hooters.

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Re: NAC Schedules

Post by cdcarter »

Please live blog as much as you can. I want to experience the NAC from my living room.
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Re: NAC Schedules

Post by SHP Pirate »

If any teams would like to scrimmage, Seton Hall would love to play. E-mail me off the board.
([email protected])

Also, as promised, I will be watching most of the rounds tomorrow. I will report-in throughout the day.


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Re: NAC Schedules

Post by swvabuc »

Byko wrote: 2. A couple teams are ones that I'm not sure where they're from. For example, where is the Lee at Chicago from?
Jonesville, VA
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Re: NAC Schedules

Post by Tegan »

David Riley, Mike Laudermith, and I just got done watching some rounds at the NAC. Mike was there much earlier than David and I. I saw two rounds.

This I will say, even based on limited rounds:
1. It seemed that the pop culture and trivia were down compared to a few years ago.

2. There were still more hoses than at a flower and garden show.

3. For some reason, Chip was alone, and had no one to assist him. This may have affected the outcome of one match.

4. There were still too many "story-time" tossups in the "Stump the experts" .... that is the question was long winded, but either gave misleading clues, or gave information that had absolutely nothing to do with getting the answer.

5. Favorite moment: "Freedom Riders" was not accepted on a question that did not emphasize the need for an answer of "Freedom Rides".

6. All of the music recordings were of legitimate pieces of music (not pop music masquerading as legit music), however in the two rounds I saw, there was no other questions on other fine arts (painting, sculpture, etc).

7. Chip was stuttering through some of the questions. At one point, after one team had interrupted incorrectly, and Chip was done with the question, and the other team was contemplating an answer, Chip actually interjected more clues to the second team. Unlike the last time, where I really didn't think that Chip had been a poor reader of questions, he was not doing a really good job this time. The other mod I saw was fine.

I will write up a more detailed report .... probably add it as an addendum to the 2005 report.

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Re: NAC Schedules

Post by First Chairman »

Tegan wrote:3. For some reason, Chip was alone, and had no one to assist him. This may have affected the outcome of one match.

7. Chip was stuttering through some of the questions. At one point, after one team had interrupted incorrectly, and Chip was done with the question, and the other team was contemplating an answer, Chip actually interjected more clues to the second team. Unlike the last time, where I really didn't think that Chip had been a poor reader of questions, he was not doing a really good job this time. The other mod I saw was fine.
Are these two points related or unrelated?
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Re: NAC Schedules

Post by Tegan »

I'm not sure.

In one match, during the 60 second round, Chip was (apparently) giving the points to the wrong team. He took about 20 seconds to fix the score on his computer, and only then did he permit the second team to answer the missed parts that the first team missed. Had I been coaching the first team, I would have protested .... the second team swept the missed parts, and it came down to the last question ....

I really don't think that Chip was doing anything on purpose, though I suspect that he was rattled not having someone to help. He certainly was not the same man of three years ago. He was more subdued. Not having an assistant could have been the issue, but I don't know.

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Re: NAC Schedules

Post by btressler »

Live blog:

Charter has played one round, and I've already protested twice, equal to about the number of times I protested through the entire HSNCT and NSC.

"Jonathan" was not OK for a literary chracter named "Jonathan Livingston", a question that did not ask for the last name.

"Polar graphs" was not OK for "polar curves".

Our lightning round was 'splendid'. All the answers rhymed with that word and the category was appropriate for the middle school tournament I write.

I am already more mad than I care to be, and we won 405-225.

If this semantics game continues, I will be actively looking for a way for us to divorce the "college money" from "go to Chip nationals" that comes with the TV tournament.

And our moderator for this round? The esteemed winner of who wants to be a game show host. Her response for denying my protests is "that what's on the paper".

More fun to follow!

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Re: NAC Schedules

Post by STPickrell »

swvabuc wrote:
Byko wrote: 2. A couple teams are ones that I'm not sure where they're from. For example, where is the Lee at Chicago from?
Jonesville, VA
R.E. Lee-Stauton (at the first phase) finished tied for 5th in VHSL Group AA.

Lee High finished 3rd in VHSL Group A.
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Re: NAC Schedules

Post by Matt Weiner »

Stat74 wrote:And our moderator for this round? The esteemed winner of who wants to be a game show host. Her response for denying my protests is "that what's on the paper".
Did she call you names for protesting, too?
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Re: NAC Schedules

Post by Down and out in Quintana Roo »

Sorry for the annoyances Bill, we still wish you luck, even in poorly-run tournaments. I definitely remember silliness at this event when CR was "awarded" with qualification in 1999 and i got to go as an alternate.
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So much for trying!

Post by SHP Pirate »

Out in front of the hotel, I was speaking with a coach and his student from Westchester county, NY. I invited them to play other formats of quizbowl. (As far as I know, they play NAA format exclusively.) When his student asked me to explain "pyramidal" questions, I responded that "they did not involve lightning rounds on the topics of candy, cookies, or rhymes with splendid ... which my team also took ... see Bill's post above.)

The coach then hands me a business card - he is an employee of National Academic Association!!!

A nice guy, but I feel that my efforts to open his eyes to alternate formates was wasted.

I will post the days' results later this evening. As of now, the only 3-0 team is Hastings B. (Two wins by 5 points.) Wilmington is 1-0 (d. Elizabethtown 405-225), SHP is 1-0 (d. Penn Manor 350-280), Center Grove is 2-0 (d. Holmen B and Lamar A 325-160 and 300-225 respectively), Hickman A is 2-0 (d. Delaware Valley and Clark B 345-170 and 325-115 respectively), Penn Manor is 2-1, and Plano A is 2-0. Once the day's rounds are complete, I will post full results.
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The Toad to Wigan Pier
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Re: NAC Schedules

Post by The Toad to Wigan Pier »

Stat74 wrote: Our lightning round was 'splendid'. All the answers rhymed with that word and the category was appropriate for the middle school tournament I write.
I got to hear that "splendid" lightning round while observing a NAC game in Washington and sadly it was better than what the other team got. Did you manage to sweep the round and have cholocate cigarettes pelted at you as a prize?
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Re: NAC Schedules

Post by AKKOLADE »

At NSC next year I am giving out clean syringes and condoms out to players for sweeping bonuses in the stretch round so that they can be properly encouraged for their strong performances.
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Re: NAC Schedules

Post by Ben Dillon »

Tegan wrote: In one match, during the 60 second round, Chip was (apparently) giving the points to the wrong team. He took about 20 seconds to fix the score on his computer, and only then did he permit the second team to answer the missed parts that the first team missed. Had I been coaching the first team, I would have protested .... the second team swept the missed parts, and it came down to the last question ....

I really don't think that Chip was doing anything on purpose, though I suspect that he was rattled not having someone to help. He certainly was not the same man of three years ago. He was more subdued. Not having an assistant could have been the issue, but I don't know.
Chip certainly was having a bad morning. He credited the wrong team with 60 second points in our game as well, then posted the wrong score. He also ended the bonus round too early after only 5 tossups and 2 bonuses, so I had to correct him there.

The "Freedom Ride" tossup did in fact refer to the actions and not the participants. I would have given the points, but I can see why he didn't.
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Re: NAC Schedules

Post by BuzzerZen »

Ben Dillon wrote:The "Freedom Ride" tossup did in fact refer to the actions and not the participants. I would have given the points, but I can see why he didn't.
Because he is a hopeless pedant who doesn't know anything about real quiz bowl?
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Re: NAC Schedules

Post by SHP Pirate »

I was just chatting with Charter ... does anyone else see a potential conflict of interest where a coach, who apparently is an employee of NAA, brings two teams to the NAA tournament?

Hmmm ....
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Re: NAC Schedules

Post by btressler »

tachyonwill wrote:I got to hear that "splendid" lightning round while observing a NAC game in Washington and sadly it was better than what the other team got. Did you manage to sweep the round and have cholocate cigarettes pelted at you as a prize?
Neeraj misunderstood. He attempted to light the cigarettes and "smoke" one. We have abandoned the remainders.

We lost our round to Manheim on the last question 300-315 due to a tragic choice of the Mystery Category that ended up being somewhat challenging 2007 current events. This is the only tournament where I can be mad about winning and laugh about losing.

Hamilton SE gave us a slight challenge because of another cakewalk lightning round: the home states of all the major Presidental candidates. Their player went "New York City, er, New York" and I thought about complaining, but it probably would have been denied anyway. We won 325-240 or something like that.

I very much would like to discuss how to prove that Chip's schedules can't be random. The teams that we've played so far all have winning records. One year all four of our opponents were also in the playoffs with us. Another year, by the time we got to quarters we had played five of the other teams in quarters with us. Last year, we played four playoff teams out of six prelims. This can't be random.

More funn tomorrow. Right now we very much want to go see Indiana Jones. Laser Tag some future point.

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Re: NAC Schedules

Post by Matt Weiner »

Stat74 wrote:I very much would like to discuss how to prove that Chip's schedules can't be random. The teams that we've played so far all have winning records. One year all four of our opponents were also in the playoffs with us. Another year, by the time we got to quarters we had played five of the other teams in quarters with us. Last year, we played four playoff teams out of six prelims. This can't be random.
Putting you up against noted Chip darlings Manheim, and somehow engineering it so you would lose to a team markedly less good at quizbowl than you, should be proof enough. Given all the past flaws in Chip's ethics which have been proven, and a few more that have been alleged, he should be going out of his way to avoid any appearance of impropriety, which he is clearly not doing.

The bottom line is, you play real quizbowl and you have expressed your disaste for the NAC before, so there is no way Chip is ever going to let you win his tournament no matter what you do. I hope you can make the people who control the pursestrings and make you go to this event see that over the summer.
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Re: NAC Schedules

Post by MLaudermith »

I'll add some comments of my own to supplement what Mr. Egan has already said. This was my first time observing NAC and I tried to keep an open mind. However, over 7 rounds, I saw too much that was laughable or just plain bad. Sorry if this goes long.

A. I did not hear any questions that were well-written one way or the other. Either give me straightforward buzzer-beaters or preferably pyramidal tossups, but not some wordy jumble in between. That said, the answer selection (trash aside) was pretty good. In one round I tracked, there were tossups on property tax, maize in mythology, computer diagnostics, Shem from the Old Testament, axis of symmetry for a parabola, Pavarotti, Lend-Lease Act, Golden Horde, My Country 'Tis of Thee, Venus, surface area of a cone, Mozart, dextrose, Little Women, Evangeline, Kufic, typesetting, acetyline, Baku, Russian Orthodox church music, plebiscite, current through a circuit, Levant, Enigma Variations, Orestes, rate/time math, Patrick Henry's speech, and Josephine Baker (the last answer earning me the praise of :chip: himself as no one else in the room knew it; I don't know whether to be proud or ashamed). The pop culture covered Bob Vila, Marshall University sports, falafel, and Harrison Ford.

Over three rounds, I split the tossups into the following categories (by my designation):
Science - 16%
Social Studies (mainly history & geography) - 28.5%
Lit/Mythology/Religion/Foreign Language - 11%
Fine Arts - 9%
Math - 12.5%
Miscellaneous (pop culture, sports, computer programming) - 23%

B. The non-Chip moderators I saw were good. I must complement them on their nerves of steel when facing a constant barrage of sound effects. If I had been reading, I would have put my skull through the laptop after the third foghorn. The opening round was a lesson in humility to teams not used to waiting for moderator recognition before answering. It didn't help that the job of recognizing fell on the scorekeeper even though the moderator was closer and often made eye contact with the player instantly. Apparently all readers can choose to repeat clues or the entire question at their discretion, though only Chip grants himself the privilege of dealing out extra clues (granted, I only saw this help a flailing team once). I have to question the latitude moderators are given when accepting answers:
"Where did Martin Luther post his 95 Theses?"
"On the church door."
"I'll take it."

C. As Tom Egan mentioned, the recorded music tossups were good with one notable exception:
"What song has been recorded here as carousel music?"
Terrible, indistinguishable organ music plays...
Neither team gets it.
"That was Turkey in the Straw."
My brain: Couldn't the time spent tracking down a merry-go-round version of Turkey in the Straw have better spent writing, I don't know, good questions?

D. On the subject of audio tossups, the worst question I heard all morning:
"Listen carefully and identify the animal from which cashmere is obtained."
A barnyard medley of sheep, goats, and cows issues from the speakers...
I felt bad for the first team who buzzed in and said sheep.

E. Why bother having a bonus round? In the 7 rounds I saw, an average of 2 bonuses were read in each match (with only one sweep). All the bonus questions seemed to do was slow the match down. I can't be certain, but they didn't seem to have much bearing on the final scores.

F. As others have said, the lightning round categories varied wildly in difficulty. The only clean sweep I saw (earning the coveted chocolate cigarettes) required the team to complete the names of candy bars from which the vowels had been removed. In one round, the choices were What?, When?, How Many?, and Mystery??? The first team picked How Many? and had to answer questions like, "How many hours did the first Persian Gulf War last?" The other team picked Mystery???, which turned out to be "Words that end in -gn." The first answer was "sign."

G. In 7 rounds, I heard two tossups on Mercury and two on Beethoven. There may not have been any team overlap, but the similarities were glaring.

H. I learned Chip Beall's three most favorite expressions:
"This is the first time in NAC's 26 years that..."
"They couldn't get it in Dallas, they couldn't get it in DC, but today in Chicago..."
"You learned it here first!"

I. On the issue of Chip's favoritism, I saw just one suspicious act. In a match with a team from Indiana, Chip made a point of recognizing the team's coach beforehand as the gentleman is retiring and has brought teams to NAC for many years. Chip then gave a brief history of Indiana teams at NAC, noting that they have gotten better and better until last year an IN team finally won (Harrison, I believe). Everyone then sits down to play and the first tossup is about Daylight Savings Time with Indiana as the first clue. The IN teams answers right away and Chip quickly remarks that the questions were prepared months in advance before anyone knew an Indiana team would be playing that round.

J. On the issue of Chip's sexism, I did see two examples. A team with three girls and one guy took their seats and the guy was wearing sunglasses (which he never took off). Chip remarks how if he was playing on a team of girls he would play incognito too. Later on, in a different match, there's a tossup that requires players to identify Abigail Adams based on the contents of a letter she wrote to her husband asking him to protect the rights of women. After the tossup is answered, Chip turns to the audience and says he's glad his wife isn't there to listen to this propaganda.

I'll wrap up by saying that one coach noticed me taking notes as Chip conducted a match. He leaned over and asked if I was Matt Weiner. Ask me nicely, and I'll tell you my reply.
Mike Laudermith, Scholastic Bowl Coach, Fenton High School
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Re: NAC Schedules

Post by btressler »

I agree.

In an entertaining addendum: when we were in Chip's room, he congratulated us on finishing 2nd in the Junior Nationals two weeks ago. He called his tournament the "Senior Division".

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Re: NAC Schedules

Post by Matt Weiner »

MLaudermith wrote:I'll wrap up by saying that one coach noticed me taking notes as Chip conducted a match. He leaned over and asked if I was Matt Weiner. Ask me nicely, and I'll tell you my reply.
Please do share.
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