discussion of novice tournaments

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discussion of novice tournaments

Post by No Rules Westbrook » Mon Oct 26, 2009 4:57 pm

I haven't seen the THUNDER packets, so obviously I won't offer any assessments of its difficulty.

But, I too reject the all-too-frequently-made claim that there is a paucity of novice-friendly events. There are just as many events specifically catering to novices as there are events specifically catering to veteran players. And, about everything else falls in the "regular difficulty, catering to players at all levels" category.

I don't care where you fall on the difficulty-argument continuum, but I'd rather people not exaggerate the distribution of tournaments to bolster their argument.

[This topic was split off from Realistic Discussion of Difficulty--srf]
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Re: Realistic assesment of difficulty

Post by Cheynem » Mon Oct 26, 2009 5:12 pm

Mmm, I'm not sure if I agree with Ryan here. For novice friendly events, there are ACF Fall, MUT, Illinois Novice (last year these were the same thing), and I guess Delta Burke (I am putting aside NAQT's A-sets and IS-sets). You could I guess call EFT novice friendly, but Brown has sort of chafed that this is an event "specifically catering to novices."

For events specifically catering to veteran players, there's FIST, Minnesota Open, ICT, ACF Nationals, Harvard International, and every summer tournament. One could also make reasonable arguments that THUNDER was harder than advertised and so was (last year's) ACF Winter and perhaps not "catering to players at all levels."

So 3-4 novice tournaments a year compared to at least 5, a lot more if you count summer tournaments. I'm not seeing the equality here.
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Re: Realistic assesment of difficulty

Post by Susan » Mon Oct 26, 2009 5:22 pm

I do think it wouldn't hurt to have one genuine novice event, restricted to novice teams (first-years, first two years, I don't really care how you slice it) early in the year* to sort of get people's feet wet (though I guess late enough in the year that quarter-system schools can assemble teams to write packets and truly novice players can get some sense of what questions ought to sound like and how they play--I guess something like the mid- to late-November timing of the Illinois Novices of old is what I have in mind). I do think there's an awfully big difference between an event that "specifically caters to novices" (or that sort of does, but chafes at the idea) and an event where everyone is just getting started at college quizbowl. I guess the caveat here is that things were pretty different back in my day (/me waves cane); when I started playing, a pretty big fraction of the first-years at any given team would not have played in high school (most of my teammates back in the day, with some exceptions like Andrew Yaphe and Matt Reece, had not), and those who had played in high school would have been unlikely to have played in tournaments as difficult as high schoolers now play in (let alone have played in college tournaments as high schoolers).

*I do think it's worth doing this earlier in the year than MUT and Illinois Novice now fall; if we are trying to encourage tentative new players with novice tournaments, I think anyone who would really benefit from the water-wings experience of a restricted novice tournament may well have scrammed by March.
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Re: Realistic assesment of difficulty

Post by theMoMA » Mon Oct 26, 2009 5:30 pm

Though some good undergrad and a few graduate players do play, isn't that exactly what ACF Fall is?
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Re: Realistic assesment of difficulty

Post by Susan » Mon Oct 26, 2009 5:41 pm

theMoMA wrote:Though some good undergrad and a few graduate players do play, isn't that exactly what ACF Fall is?
No. I think a restricted-to-novices novice tournament is a pretty different animal from a low-difficulty tournament in which non-novices can play, both in terms of the experience for very new players and in how you have to think about writing the questions.
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Re: Realistic assesment of difficulty

Post by Cheynem » Mon Oct 26, 2009 5:43 pm

I'd like to see some slightly tougher restrictions on who can play Fall, but I'm not sure what exactly.

I do think collegiate quizbowl could stand to see something along the lines of the Fall Novice Set made for high school (which I hear is FABULOUS but haven't actually seen). Of course, I don't want to write this, and therein lies the problem of finding people to work on it.

[Can someone move this post to the appropriate thread?] [done!--srf]
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Re: discussion of novice tournaments

Post by Mike Bentley » Mon Oct 26, 2009 5:52 pm

Yeah, as I mentioned in the last discussion we had about this, I think ACF Fall is a good tournament for new players but we could stand to have a novice only event. At novice only events, marginal players feel like they're contributing more because there's a greater oppurtunity for them to answer tossups at the end, to feel like their contribution to easy parts of bonuses are worthwhile and to score more. Furthermore, the questions can be made easier than ACF Fall and there aren't going to be any issues with the set being too easy for the field. I continue to assert that ACF Fall doesn't have to be the minimum difficulty level for players new to quizbowl, and that they'd benefit from questions more at the Delta Burke level.

I think in the world of high schoolers playing college tournaments all the time, it might not be a bad idea to even exclude the top incoming freshman from a tournament of this type. The Ikes and Guys of this world aren't the ones who would benefit from playing this tournament--it's the 4 people on Chicago D or whatever who would get a chance early in the year to make a meaningful contribution towards winning a tournament that they wouldn't necessarily get if they were playing against or playing with some of the more experienced people on the circuit.
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Re: discussion of novice tournaments

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Mon Oct 26, 2009 5:54 pm

I have heard tales of restricted eligibility juniorbirds that existed just before I started playing quizbowl. Didn't a lot die because first and second year college students had a difficult time obtaining transportation to these tournaments? With no older students eligible to play, nobody was available to drive.
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Re: discussion of novice tournaments

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Mon Oct 26, 2009 5:56 pm

So I think in the wake of an American-edited regular difficulty VETO being panned as too hard despite record conversion numbers, there were murmurs (at least) of writing a summer novice tournament, with the particular aim of giving Canada a dose of American-style quizbowl in an easily comestible form. Now, while ACF Fall and EFT and so forth get a fair amount of Canadian (and Pacific Northwest, for example) exposure, I think it's not unfair to say that Canada's current circuit, such as it is, isn't too far from the earlier American circuit Susan was alluding to. Certainly most players at Canadian schools didn't play quizbowl at a higher level than Reach before college.

So if that novice tournament ever comes to fruition (and I'm willing to do work over the summer to help that happen) it will have to keep Susan's perspective in mind.

Bruce: I'm sure you'll recall the mirror of MCMNT my freshman spring, which was my first non-NAQT. We ran it as a singles and doubles bracket for experienced players and a separate bracket for first and second years. I think it went over pretty well--plus, I think I recall that it was engineered so that the experienced players had a bye, allowing them to staff the JV bracket on their byes.
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Re: discussion of novice tournaments

Post by grapesmoker » Mon Oct 26, 2009 5:57 pm

Could there be more pure novice events? Sure, if people want to produce them. I personally don't see the driver, but whatever, if someone wants to write one, we can probably work it into the schedule. I think the main problem is finding writers who are going to produce an additional event or two over the course of the year.
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Re: discussion of novice tournaments

Post by ... and the chaos of Mexican modernity » Mon Oct 26, 2009 5:58 pm

I'm not sure of what difficulty ACF Fall is based on (Of course intended for newer players), but a possibly easier tournament for some people might go off well even if it's just simply one event a year. Given some teams may think ACF Fall may still be too hard, maybe make a tournament with answer selections at HSNCT level or a little higher?
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Re: discussion of novice tournaments

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Mon Oct 26, 2009 6:02 pm

The Mountie wrote:I'm not sure of what difficulty ACF Fall is based on (Of course intended for newer players), but a possibly easier tournament for some people might go off well even if it's just simply one event a year. Given some teams may think ACF Fall may still be too hard, maybe make a tournament with answer selections at HSNCT level or a little higher?
It's arguable that Fall 2008 wasn't harder than HSNCT 2008. If it was, then I'd certainly say that the larger difference is that certain topics that just don't happen at high school happen at Fall (more social science, more philosophy, more organic chemistry). But that doesn't necessarily mean that the canon of possible answers and clues that Fall draws on is any greater than any high school novice tournament; it just has different emphases.
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Re: discussion of novice tournaments

Post by Not That Kind of Christian!! » Mon Oct 26, 2009 6:02 pm

Whig's Boson wrote:I have heard tales of restricted eligibility juniorbirds that existed just before I started playing quizbowl. Didn't a lot die because first and second year college students had a difficult time obtaining transportation to these tournaments? With no older students eligible to play, nobody was available to drive.
If this is the case, then it's incumbent on returning players to be generous and take some time to drive new players to the tournament and help staff it. I don't think this is an unreasonable requirement. If anything, it will help increase retention by giving novice players a heartening first-tournament experience.
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Re: Realistic assesment of difficulty

Post by theMoMA » Mon Oct 26, 2009 6:02 pm

myamphigory wrote:
theMoMA wrote:Though some good undergrad and a few graduate players do play, isn't that exactly what ACF Fall is?
No. I think a restricted-to-novices novice tournament is a pretty different animal from a low-difficulty tournament in which non-novices can play, both in terms of the experience for very new players and in how you have to think about writing the questions.
I do agree with the idea that who plays colors a novice's experience, but I disagree that Fall is written any differently than a restricted-eligibility novice tournament like MUT; as one of the main contributors for the most recent iterations of each, my goal for the questions was the same for both. ACF Fall is a tournament explicitly written for new players, with the side effect that experienced players can certainly enjoy the questions because they are well-written, pyramidal, and attempt to probe deep levels of knowledge in the early clues.
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Re: discussion of novice tournaments

Post by at your pleasure » Mon Oct 26, 2009 6:06 pm

Crazy Andy Watkins wrote:
The Mountie wrote:I'm not sure of what difficulty ACF Fall is based on (Of course intended for newer players), but a possibly easier tournament for some people might go off well even if it's just simply one event a year. Given some teams may think ACF Fall may still be too hard, maybe make a tournament with answer selections at HSNCT level or a little higher?
It's arguable that Fall 2008 wasn't harder than HSNCT 2008. If it was, then I'd certainly say that the larger difference is that certain topics that just don't happen at high school happen at Fall (more social science, more philosophy, more organic chemistry). But that doesn't necessarily mean that the canon of possible answers and clues that Fall draws on is any greater than any high school novice tournament; it just has different emphases.
The other thing, though, is that HSNCT has probably gotten harder since it's written for the best high school teams, which are often not novice teams in any plausible sense of the word.
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Re: discussion of novice tournaments

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Mon Oct 26, 2009 6:06 pm

Crazy Andy Watkins wrote: Bruce: I'm sure you'll recall the mirror of MCMNT my freshman spring, which was my first non-NAQT. We ran it as a singles and doubles bracket for experienced players and a separate bracket for first and second years. I think it went over pretty well--plus, I think I recall that it was engineered so that the experienced players had a bye, allowing them to staff the JV bracket on their byes.
Yeah, I think this would be a successful model.

But the only reason this happened was because some pretty prestigious players (i.e., Eric Mukherjee) decided it would be fun to play in the singles bracket for experienced players. If the meme of "good players shouldn't play easy tournaments, ever" gets established, then it would be harder to convince an experienced player to attend this tournament, even if he could play it in a special non-novice bracket. You would basically be asking him to incur a social cost.
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Re: discussion of novice tournaments

Post by grapesmoker » Mon Oct 26, 2009 6:09 pm

Whig's Boson wrote:But the only reason this happened was because some pretty prestigious players (i.e., Eric Mukherjee) decided it would be fun to play in the singles bracket for experienced players. If the meme of "good players shouldn't play easy tournaments, ever" gets established, then it would be harder to convince an experienced player to attend this tournament, even if he could play it in a special non-novice bracket. You would basically be asking him to incur a social cost.
I'm not sure how much enjoyment I would get out of playing ACF Fall questions in a singles bracket. It doesn't seem like it would be that interesting to me. I'm perfectly happy to drive my team to tournaments that are just too easy for me to be playing and I would encourage players of similar dinosauritude to do the same; most of those who can, already do so.
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Re: discussion of novice tournaments

Post by Cheynem » Mon Oct 26, 2009 6:13 pm

One way to encourage the "veterans taking novices" theme is to link novice events to side tournaments. I'm not sure what this would result in, but perhaps adventure and excitement, as veterans eager to play these side events would be willing to drive novices to a novice tournament and then staff it. On the flip side, this might also annoy novices who don't care about the side events.
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Re: discussion of novice tournaments

Post by dtaylor4 » Mon Oct 26, 2009 6:31 pm

Circuit veterans already have (in my mind) enough incentive to drive younger members to such tournaments: to ensure the viability of the team after the dinosaur moves on. Accepting the premise that such restricted events help keep newer members around, then why can't senior members be expected to help fuel the future sustainability of the club?

Also, to my knowledge, the MCMNT has always had eligibility restrictions (no more than one year of circuit quizbowl.)

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Re: discussion of novice tournaments

Post by Captain Sinico » Mon Oct 26, 2009 6:43 pm

As presumably the only person who's written for, now, at least five ACF Falls (I thought it was more, but they're not in my archive) and every Illinois Novice Tournament save one or maybe two, I can pretty authoritatively say that the latter was always meant to be easier and draw from a more restrictive canon. Field restrictions let a writer and editor do things even beyond that, like unabashedly have shorter questions and use STOCK CLUES. Even if that's not what every novice tournament has been, I think it's what a novice tournament should be or, more accurately, I think there's a market for a tournament like that, maybe more than one.
I agree very strongly with Susan, then, that getting a tournament like that out the door early in the year would be a great thing. Think, for example, what a huge influx of new players your program probably has toward the beginning of the year. Wouldn't it be great to get them to something where you shouldn't need to worry about anything at all (easy, shorter but still good questions; no bad, bad Mike Sorice with a a .36 tossup gun in his pocket and bonus razor in his shoe; etc?) Clearly, it would.
I wish we were still producing Illinois Novice for that reason. That said, we very often had problems filling the field at Illinois Novice, probably due in no small part to our relative remoteness; one year, we had to cancel it entirely after, like, two teams expressed interest. Due to that and other issues (among them that we've collectively written/edited probably like 4 tournaments a year and run about that many for the past several years), I guess my successors in guiding the club here at Illinois have decided not to continue producing Novice for the time being. However, I hope, in future years, that we can resume doing so, perhaps in collaboration with others. Devising some scheme to get older players to come staff or play other things or just ferry young players would alleviate one of the major obstacles as I see them.

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Re: discussion of novice tournaments

Post by Lagotto Romagnolo » Mon Oct 26, 2009 7:11 pm

Doink the Clown wrote: Crazy Andy Watkins wrote:

The Mountie wrote:I'm not sure of what difficulty ACF Fall is based on (Of course intended for newer players), but a possibly easier tournament for some people might go off well even if it's just simply one event a year. Given some teams may think ACF Fall may still be too hard, maybe make a tournament with answer selections at HSNCT level or a little higher?


It's arguable that Fall 2008 wasn't harder than HSNCT 2008. If it was, then I'd certainly say that the larger difference is that certain topics that just don't happen at high school happen at Fall (more social science, more philosophy, more organic chemistry). But that doesn't necessarily mean that the canon of possible answers and clues that Fall draws on is any greater than any high school novice tournament; it just has different emphases.


The other thing, though, is that HSNCT has probably gotten harder since it's written for the best high school teams, which are often not novice teams in any plausible sense of the word.
Yeah; I've noticed that, as the high school canon expands and the level of high school play improves, the difficulty of the two national championships seems to rise accordingly. I remember raising my eyebrows in the playoffs of the 09 HSNCT when I realized they had tossed up the pearl fishers (and my jaw dropping in disbelief when I read TUs on Stockhausen and Penderecki at the NSC). No way any of those TUs would make it into ACF fall these days. But on some level, ACF Fall has to stay easy to bring in players who played bad quizbowl in high school and couldn't tell good from bad. I'm probably biased since I was one of those people. But if ACF fall becomes harder than the HS championships, you do risk losing some people who were not raised on good quizbowl but might be willing to give it a shot. We can't let quizbowl become a game where you have to start learning ACF regionals level material in your freshman year of high school in order to be competitive at the college level (hyperbole, I know, but it illustrates my point). In my experience, the purpose of ACF Fall and other novice tournaments is not so much to dump the college canon on people as to introduce them to the principles of good collegiate quizbowl. On the other hand, it's very hard to achieve a perfectly smooth transition from HS to college because of organic chemistry/social science/ etc. After our first practice last year, I think Jerry summed it up best when he told some of the new players "you may have experienced a baptism by fire." But does it have to be that way?

EDIT: Andy, you've almost caught up to Jerry in total posts. Frightening....
Last edited by Lagotto Romagnolo on Mon Oct 26, 2009 7:18 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: discussion of novice tournaments

Post by ValenciaQBowl » Mon Oct 26, 2009 7:16 pm

Inserting standard reminder for all threads of this type that Delta Burke is exactly what many folks here are talking about: a tournament limited to players in their first two years of college with the expectation that many in the field may be participating in their FIRST TOURNAMENT EVER!

The problem is, as some here have noted, that there can be gigantic gaps between those designated as "novice" players. Obviously the HS kids who have been practicing on and playing in lots of college tournaments before ever entering college are very different players than the people on Pasco-Hernando CC's C team(as an example), none of whom have ever touched a buzzer competitively before and only practice one hour a week.
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Re: discussion of novice tournaments

Post by Kyle » Tue Oct 27, 2009 5:50 am

Whig's Boson wrote:But the only reason this happened was because some pretty prestigious players (i.e., Eric Mukherjee) decided it would be fun to play in the singles bracket for experienced players. If the meme of "good players shouldn't play easy tournaments, ever" gets established, then it would be harder to convince an experienced player to attend this tournament, even if he could play it in a special non-novice bracket. You would basically be asking him to incur a social cost.
(People's memory is short. Eric emphatically did not play "singles" at this particular event.)

Incidentally, I think the reason that this format is unlikely to catch on is that it requires a lot of staff to let your team's novices play, fill out a singles bracket to an appropriate size, and simultaneously staff two tournaments, one of which is made artificially large by having one-person teams. We were saved when Hannah begged and begged her friend, who had never played quizbowl, the night before (and we had one of the deepest teams in the deepest region in the country), but as late as the night before I was proposing all sorts of wacky and unacceptable formats that involved people in the singles/doubles brackets reading to themselves every third round. (It didn't help that Dennis Loo was in Reno on a business trip at the time, I guess)
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Re: discussion of novice tournaments

Post by Important Bird Area » Tue Oct 27, 2009 1:41 pm

The Gold Gringo wrote:I remember raising my eyebrows in the playoffs of the 09 HSNCT when I realized they had tossed up the pearl fishers
Converted in 6 out of the 9 rooms that heard it, too. Which is actually quite acceptable, all things considered (but this would have been clearly too hard for the whole field had it shown up on Saturday).
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Re: discussion of novice tournaments

Post by aestheteboy » Tue Oct 27, 2009 4:30 pm

I'm wondering why this hypothetical novice-only event can't be a mirror of a high-level HS set. I know some people would oppose this idea for a very superficial reason, i.e. the fact that is a high school set, but the reality is that some high school sets are extremely well-written and fairly difficult.
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Re: discussion of novice tournaments

Post by Susan » Tue Oct 27, 2009 4:36 pm

aestheteboy wrote:I'm wondering why this hypothetical novice-only event can't be a mirror of a high-level HS set. I know some people would oppose this idea for a very superficial reason, i.e. the fact that is a high school set, but the reality is that some high school sets are extremely well-written and fairly difficult.
I don't have any beef with that in principle, but I think that part of the value of something like old-timey-run-in-November Illinois Novice was that it is another opportunity for novice players to write. Since it would be a novice tournament, older team members could work with novices on their submissions, which would (ideally) make them more usable for the editors and provide more detailed feedback for the players on question-writing (I'm not sure how great people tend to be about this in general, but we definitely tried to do this at Chicago for our IL Novice submissions back in the day).
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Re: discussion of novice tournaments

Post by Cheynem » Tue Oct 27, 2009 4:58 pm

I think the stigma of playing collegiate games on "high school questions" is probably too high to have it happen. That said, for extreme novice cases (like people who maybe didn't play high school quizbowl at all or just plain bad variants like Knowledge Bowl or Chip), I actually would not be opposed to a very novice-level collegiate tournament using a quality high school set.
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Re: discussion of novice tournaments

Post by MicroEStudent » Tue Oct 27, 2009 7:39 pm

As the most-experienced* member of a team that was solely CBI only until last year, a novice tournament would surely aid us in attempting to gain more people. Rochester had a tournament, but through a combination of questions that were too easy (A-level), the high cost and schedule conflicts, we did not go. We did have three people go to EFT, but we were not very good at that tournament. I'd say that was probably 50/50 due to question difficulty and just have close to zero knowledge base on over half of the distribution (i.e. we answered just 1 TU in Literature the entire tournament, but answered about 15 Science).

It was the hardest tournament we had ever been to as we had only CBI and the 2009 SCT prior. It is difficult to motivate people to go to a tournament when you are playing a 60-40 match and end up with a losing record when the students are used to play 250-220 CBI matches during the intramural tournament. For the majority of RIT, only the freshmen have been exposed to something other than CBI and that was when Upstate NY switched to NAQT.

If there was an easier college level tournament, it would be helpful for up and coming teams like ours and make people feel better about being able to answer academic questions. Right now, I can't convince people to spend money and their time to go to a tournament where they may only be able to answer a few questions. Looking at the calendar, ACF Fall and the SCT are the only tournaments we may be even slightly competitive in right now, and we can't make it to ACF Fall.

I know this sounds like "what would be good for RIT", but I'm sure that there are other teams in similar situations.

(N.B. Our team is far below average in many parts of the distribution: Literature, History, RMP, Fine Arts and Social Science that is not economics. That certainly dampens our scores, but if the questions were easier we would likely have a better chance at receiving points. It's a work in process in developing in those areas.)

*If the most years playing CBI can be considered experience
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Re: discussion of novice tournaments

Post by Broad-tailed Grassbird » Tue Oct 27, 2009 8:46 pm

Coming from a team that is over 75% freshmen and sophomores (including grad students), I can say that the jump from IS packets to ACF Fall is not as much as it seems. Back in the days when CBI still existed, we read lower level stuff like our IS and junior birds, but you fail to improve as a player, when the questions don't get harder.

From reading stuff a little bit above the comfort level of the new players, you weed out the people who are doing it solely for an ego boost, as well as you actually develop players. Almost all of are first year players aren't ready for "regular difficulty", but they can only get their if they step it up gradually.

A summer tournament that is of a regular level would be nice, as a vast majority of players out there are not ready for open tournaments, and that kind of tournament would keep the continuity running at schools like mine, where summer practice fails to exist due to not many of us being on campus (having a tournament even a couple months away would still keep some people at practice down the stretch). A novice level summer tournament probably wouldn't generate much interest, due to again driving, and high school teams probably not being active.
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Re: discussion of novice tournaments

Post by Important Bird Area » Tue Oct 27, 2009 10:26 pm

Doink the Clown wrote:The other thing, though, is that HSNCT has probably gotten harder since it's written for the best high school teams, which are often not novice teams in any plausible sense of the word.
(At least) Three factors to sort out here:

1. Are the questions getting harder? (maybe)

2. Are the teams getting better? (almost certainly, given the growth of good quizbowl over the years. But I think we'd expect the effect to show up in the middle of the field, rather than expecting this year's HSNCT champion to tower over 2005 TJ)

3. How much does expanding the field reduce its strength? (at least somewhat, but if middle-range teams are getting better, maybe not as much as we might think)

2009 HSNCT:

73.4% of tossups answered correctly

15.0% of correct buzzes for power


2006 HSNCT:

72.9% of tossups answered correctly

18.9% of correct buzzes for power


2004 HSNCT:

71.5% of tossups answered correctly

11.5% of correct buzzes for power

This doesn't suggest an obvious trend in difficulty; in fact, it seems that we are quite consistently asking questions that are a bit too hard.
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Re: discussion of novice tournaments

Post by at your pleasure » Tue Oct 27, 2009 11:00 pm

bt_green_warbler wrote:
Doink the Clown wrote:The other thing, though, is that HSNCT has probably gotten harder since it's written for the best high school teams, which are often not novice teams in any plausible sense of the word.
(At least) Three factors to sort out here:
3. How much does expanding the field reduce its strength? (at least somewhat, but if middle-range teams are getting better, maybe not as much as we might think)
Good point. I guess the question is:
1. How much of the field expansion comes from midrange teams?(probably most)
2. How much does the bottom HSNCT tier pull down overall field strength? How much does the top tier pull up field strength?
Looking at your conversion numbers, they do indicate that difficulty has been consistent relative to the field. However, if teams have gotten better, that could also mean that the questions have gotten harder to keep up with. I guess the problem here is that it's very difficult to devise a useful measure of "absolute difficulty" however it is defined.
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Re: discussion of novice tournaments

Post by Important Bird Area » Tue Oct 27, 2009 11:22 pm

The abolition of comp tossups will help the conversion rates a bit:

2009 HSNCT (less computational tossups):

75% conversion

14.5% of correct buzzes for power
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Re: discussion of novice tournaments

Post by grapesmoker » Wed Oct 28, 2009 12:23 am

Seems like the conversion should probably be binned by win record, as that conveys a lot more information than a simple average. I don't know if you stat collection allows that.
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Re: discussion of novice tournaments

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Wed Oct 28, 2009 12:40 am

Yeah, I think the obvious problem is that the field size expanded so dramatically. I think you should instead do tallies like the top 100 from 2005 vs. the top 100 from 2009, and also teams by record (and how many of those teams there are). If all we are talking about are averages, then that doesn't take into account the fact that there are so many more 7-3 teams now, which obviously would bring the arguments about teams improving into clearer focus.
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Re: discussion of novice tournaments

Post by grapesmoker » Wed Oct 28, 2009 2:10 pm

One thought on this topic: I noticed that when I play tournaments, I only notice things that are hard that I don't get. So, if my team 30s a physics bonus (like we did at THUNDER), it usually doesn't stick with me that maybe this bonus was ass-hard until I go back and reread it outside of a gameplay situation. It's just something that I want to throw out there on the subject of difficulty perception.
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Re: discussion of novice tournaments

Post by No Rules Westbrook » Wed Oct 28, 2009 3:41 pm

Yeah, Jerry's certainly on to something. The "feeling" that a tournament is hard is usually way more important than any reality, especially with regard to novices.
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Re: discussion of novice tournaments

Post by grapesmoker » Wed Oct 28, 2009 4:14 pm

No Rules Westbrook wrote:Yeah, Jerry's certainly on to something. The "feeling" that a tournament is hard is usually way more important than any reality, especially with regard to novices.
Well, it's more than that. It's like this: assume a physics bonus 30d by me wherein I know all the parts because they came up in classes I've taken. None of those parts is especially hard for me personally; however, the bonus taken as a whole, might be pretty tough for most teams. In particular, those parts might be of essentially equal difficulty for me because I know the topic well, but for teams that don't have someone who covers physics all three parts could be impossible. But of course, in the midst of answering questions, I rarely stop to think about the difficulty of something unless I don't get the answer or it's something quite exotic.
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Re: discussion of novice tournaments

Post by ecgoose » Wed Oct 28, 2009 7:05 pm

Hey there

As a member of the Eureka College team that just got destroyed (to put it gently) in regular difficulty play at the THUNDER mirror at NIU 10/24, I think that a tournament such as the one that some people are advocating in this thread which is restricted would be exactly what our team should play. We are a team from a very small liberal arts school (750 students). Due to funding and other concerns, we typically get to one tournament each semester. Obviously THUNDER was out of our league, and we are looking at an ACF Fall or Delta Burke Mirror for next fall. I think a tournament which is low difficulty and is somewhat restrictive of the best players would engender the atmosphere we seek.
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Re: discussion of novice tournaments

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Thu Oct 29, 2009 2:27 am

I would be more interested in seeing if there is any way we could help you make more money. If you were to attend every tournament within 3 hours of your school, for instance, that would be 5 events this semester alone (EFT and Illinois Open at UIUC, ACF Fall in Chicago, Delta Burke at Wash U, and THUNDER at NIU) which is a location many places would die to have to be able to keep attendance up.
Why is it that Eureka can only go to one event per semester? If you were to go to all of these tournaments, then you would get to play a decent gamut between very easy an around regionals level, and would not be having this problem of only playing tournaments you feel are out of your league.
UIUC and NIU I believe can show that it is possible to run successful high school tournaments in Illinois, and if you were to run a couple decent size high school events, I would imagine that would be enough to cover attendance at a lot of your local tournaments. You are also in a location where if you ran some college tournaments, you could attract a lot of teams - UIUC and Chicago have very large programs, and you are also in driving range of Wash U and potentially other Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Indiana, and Michigan teams.
I think it's safe to say that the majority of teams who are more active than you on the circuit are not given anywhere near enough money by their school to pay for all their expenses. The way all these teams are able to be more active is because they host tournaments of their own, and I think if you were to do that, it would solve your problem of having to be selective about what you go to.
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Re: discussion of novice tournaments

Post by Broad-tailed Grassbird » Thu Oct 29, 2009 12:38 pm

Completely in agreement with Charlie.
You should look into running a HS tournament to raise money. Why? A high school quiz bowl tournament is great marketing for a small college, and you have more money to go to more tournaments. You and your school win.
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Re: discussion of novice tournaments

Post by mhayes » Thu Oct 29, 2009 2:43 pm

nalin wrote:You should look into running a HS tournament to raise money. Why? A high school quiz bowl tournament is great marketing for a small college, and you have more money to go to more tournaments. You and your school win.
Exactly. I would guess that 90% of college clubs host a high school tournament at some point during the year. It's definitely a must, especially for newer programs. Exposure is important for many reasons, but it also exposes the high school players to your club, so it can be a recruiting tool for students who plan to attend your college.
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Re: discussion of novice tournaments

Post by ecgoose » Fri Oct 30, 2009 2:14 am

Right-o. I will bring the idea of a H.S. tournament to the attention of our faculty adviser and the club, the other issue we have is simple scheduling, quite frankly every member is over-extended, but I do believe we could easily get to two or three tourneys in a semester if we had everyone excited. The reason NIU and UIC have had so much success is that Rockford, Chicago, and the Suburbs have quite a few prestigious high schools, and are both within an hour of NIU (yeah, my hometown is very close to NIU). Our location is more likely to draw Peoria, Bloomington-Normal, and maybe Champaign-Urbana. That could work to our advantage.

On another note which fits this thread, Besides the tournament at U of I, what else in our area would be regionals or easier difficulty in the spring semester?
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Re: discussion of novice tournaments

Post by Cheynem » Fri Oct 30, 2009 10:18 am

Well, ACF Winter (January) is going to be easier than regionals theoretically. The hosts haven't been nailed down yet. MUT is a novice level tournament--last year it was at both Minnesota and Illinois.
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Re: discussion of novice tournaments

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Fri Oct 30, 2009 10:46 am

To be clear, I said UIUC, not UIC.
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Re: discussion of novice tournaments

Post by theMoMA » Fri Oct 30, 2009 6:56 pm

Cheynem wrote:Well, ACF Winter (January) is going to be easier than regionals theoretically.
Unless Regionals has been announced as harder than regular difficulty, this is not true.
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Re: discussion of novice tournaments

Post by Cheynem » Fri Oct 30, 2009 7:47 pm

My mistake. I was misremembering something said about Winter and last year's Regionals.
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Re: discussion of novice tournaments

Post by grapesmoker » Sun Nov 01, 2009 3:53 pm

I want to revisit this thread now that ACF Fall has concluded because I want to make some remarks about the comparisons between Fall and EFT.

If anyone came to play EFT and expected the kind of tournament that Fall was, I apologize for the misconception. EFT was never designed to be the kind of set that Fall was, and I don't think this is a negative reflection on either one. Fall was good for doing what it set out to do, which was to write a very easy set that was fun for new teams. EFT had a mission of writing more clue-dense questions on easy answers, which I think it mostly achieved, but if you compare the questions, undoubtedly EFT was the harder and denser tournament of the two. Some people have argued that EFT was a regular difficulty tournament, which I disagree with, to the extent that I even believe something like "regular difficulty" even exists in a quantifiable sense. If you come to ACF Regionals expecting it to look like EFT, you will probably be disappointed, although that's not to say that Regionals is intended to be particularly hard.

I like the place where EFT has been for the last couple years. Since I'm graduating this year, my involvement with EFT in the future will be dependent on the particular desires of the future ruling cadre and my own availability, but if I am involved next year, I think EFT will look a lot like it did this year, with corrections to some aspects that I wasn't pleased with. I think there's a place in the schedule for all of these kinds of tournaments in the schedule, and since EFT has had a generally favorable reception since it began, I hope it keeps doing what it did before.
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Re: discussion of novice tournaments

Post by Cheynem » Sun Nov 01, 2009 3:57 pm

I think EFT is a perfectly fine tournment that can get all sorts of different skill leveled players active, happy, and involved. Billing it as a "novice" tournament (which, if i recall, the editors never did) was inaccurate and should be avoided in the future. But yeah, I think the difficulty was fine.
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Re: discussion of novice tournaments

Post by grapesmoker » Sun Nov 01, 2009 4:04 pm

Cheynem wrote:I think EFT is a perfectly fine tournment that can get all sorts of different skill leveled players active, happy, and involved. Billing it as a "novice" tournament (which, if i recall, the editors never did) was inaccurate and should be avoided in the future. But yeah, I think the difficulty was fine.
I think EFT is a good introduction for novices to what collegiate quizbowl looks like. That is, if you come and play EFT as a novice, you will be able to get many things at or near the end, but probably not so much at the beginning. If you play ACF Fall as a novice, you will be able to answer many more things at the earlier stages of the question and the bonus parts will also be somewhat easier. There is lots in both tournaments for people getting into collegiate quizbowl but they present their material in different ways and have somewhat different general audiences.
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Re: discussion of novice tournaments

Post by theMoMA » Sun Nov 01, 2009 5:19 pm

I wouldn't say EFT is more clue-dense, just that the clues are harder.
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