Penn Bowl at Harvard (10/18/2014)

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Penn Bowl at Harvard (10/18/2014)

Post by hydrocephalitic listlessness » Sat Aug 30, 2014 8:17 pm

Harvard will be hosting a mirror of this year's Penn Bowl on October 18, 2014.

The original tournament announcement is here: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=15851

Fee Structure:

Base fee: $120 per team
Working buzzer discount: $5 each
Approved moderator discount: $10 each, and we'll provide lunch.

Payment Info:

You can pay by cash or a check made out to "Harvard College Bowl" on the day of the tournament.

Other Info:

Registration will be in Sever Hall 113 between 8:30am and 9:00am.

The field is currently capped at 16 teams--we might be able to expand that, but it'll depend on staffing. If your school would like to register, shoot me an email at holubmoorman AT college DOT harvard DOT edu.
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Re: Penn Bowl at Harvard (10/18/2014)

Post by hydrocephalitic listlessness » Wed Sep 10, 2014 10:38 am

Current Field (Teams/Buzzers/Staffers):
Amherst (1/2/0)
Brown (1/0/0)
Ottawa (1/0/0)
Yale (2/2/0)
Cornell (2/0/1)
MIT (2/1/0)
Dartmouth (1/0/1)
Northeastern (2/1/3)
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Re: Penn Bowl at Harvard (10/18/2014)

Post by minusfive » Tue Sep 16, 2014 8:46 pm

I have just registered for this event. Looking forward to it.
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Re: Penn Bowl at Harvard (10/18/2014)

Post by hydrocephalitic listlessness » Tue Oct 07, 2014 2:31 pm

We still have space for a few more teams in the field--shoot me an email if you'd like to register. I'll be sending more detailed information to registered teams this weekend.
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Re: Penn Bowl at Harvard (10/18/2014)

Post by hydrocephalitic listlessness » Sat Oct 18, 2014 4:40 pm

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Re: Penn Bowl at Harvard (10/18/2014)

Post by hydrocephalitic listlessness » Sat Oct 18, 2014 11:16 pm

MIT A defeated Yale A in the first match of an advantaged final. Completed stats are up.
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Re: Penn Bowl at Harvard (10/18/2014)

Post by t-bar » Sun Oct 19, 2014 6:27 pm

Thanks to Harvard for hosting this tournament. We enjoyed playing.

According to my text history, we finished round 12 at around 7:25 PM. Assuming a start time of around 9:30 and an hour for lunch, this works out to 45 minutes per round. This is far slower than ideal.

A major cause of the delays was the staffing situation. Many moderators were inexperienced readers running a room solo--we only had a scorekeeper for one of the 12 rounds that we played. Furthermore, very few of the staff were actually provided by the nominal host school. MIT had nine distinct moderators yesterday, of whom I believe three were Northeastern students, at least one was a Boston College student, one was a Dartmouth alum, and one was a Cornell alum.

While I greatly appreciate the time that all of the external staffers put in, why were there not more Harvard staffers at this tournament? As I understand it, several A team members were out of town this weekend, but there were still enough people present to field two full house teams. The substitution stats for Harvard B suggest that some of them may have been rotating out to scorekeep, but as I mentioned we only had a scorekeeper once the entire day. I personally saw either three or four Harvard students acting as staffers: Will, who was reading, scorekeeping, and doing stats simultaneously; Jonah, who scorekept one of our rounds in 104 and played three games on Harvard B; and Raynor, who read our finals matches after playing the entire tournament for Harvard A. I'm not sure of the affiliation of the girl who read our round 8 game in 109.

Wrangling staff for a tournament can be difficult, and you want to let your team members play tournaments if you can--I get that. The situation in the northeast, with lots of demand for spots and only four schools that can feasibly host, means that we often have to rely on a lot of external staff. But when a school hosts a tournament, its first priority should be to ensure that it is adequately staffed. Maybe you had a bunch of staff that bailed at the last minute, and this was the Plan B setup. But I know for a fact that several of the people who played the entire tournament are excellent moderators (including Raynor, who, as mentioned, did an admirable job of finishing the tournament up in those late hours when things can really start to drag), and the tournament would have run much more smoothly if some of them had been moderating instead of playing.

As I said, MIT enjoyed playing the tournament, and as a tournament director Will was responsive and helpful both in the leadup to the tournament and on-site. I know that Harvard has the manpower and competence to host good tournaments; I hope that in the future they choose to demonstrate it better.
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Re: Penn Bowl at Harvard (10/18/2014)

Post by The Time Keeper » Sun Oct 19, 2014 6:46 pm

I just want to say that the above post is probably the nicest way anyone has expressed grievances with an aspect of a tournament and that's something people should aim for.
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Re: Penn Bowl at Harvard (10/18/2014)

Post by minusfive » Sun Oct 19, 2014 7:16 pm

It was an honor (or as we would say where I'm from, an "honour") to play against such strong competition. A big thanks to the volunteers and my opponents: it was an enjoyable tournament.
I must admit, as my last round finished at about 7ish, I pitied the finals participants for having to play more games.
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Re: Penn Bowl at Harvard (10/18/2014)

Post by hydrocephalitic listlessness » Sun Oct 19, 2014 7:52 pm

Hey! I'll do my best to respond to some of your thoughts, Stephen.
t-bar wrote: According to my text history, we finished round 12 at around 7:25 PM. Assuming a start time of around 9:30 and an hour for lunch, this works out to 45 minutes per round. This is far slower than ideal.
7:25 is later than ideal--MIT was involved in a final, though, so most teams were out before then. A post-dinnertime finish seems to be pretty standard for collegiate tournaments, but we'll try to aim closer for 6 in the future.
t-bar wrote: A major cause of the delays was the staffing situation.
I was the quickest moderator at the tournament, I think, and I was getting through the rounds in 30-35 minutes, minimum. The questions were pretty long and without pronunciation guides, so I imagine that even moderators with some experience--which nearly everyone who was reading had--would have struggled to hit the half-hour mark. I wasn't actually aware (or made aware) of any significant staffing problems while the tournament was underway (most round scoresheets were handed to me 5 minutes after I finished reading my round, and teams, in general, weren't late coming to my room), and on the couple occasions that a team mentioned a room was running slowly, I made staffing adjustments.
t-bar wrote: Why were there not more Harvard staffers at this tournament? As I understand it, several A team members were out of town this weekend, but there were still enough people present to field two full house teams.
This is a totally fair criticism. A lot of the people who played for the house teams (especially Harvard B) were either ex-members who didn't want to staff or were unavailable for a significant chunk of the day, so I couldn't really depend on them as readers.

I really did want to let members of the Harvard team play, though--due to the specific setup of the northeast schedule this year (ACF Fall is on Harvard's freshmen parents' weekend, DEES is on the day of Harvard-Yale, Harvard is hosting ACF Regionals), it's going to be a really tournament-sparse year for us. To their credit, everyone who played on Harvard A on Saturday was willing to staff, and I would've dissolved the house teams for the afternoon if it had seemed like the tournament needed it. From your feedback, it looks like it would've helped more than I thought at the time--I'm sorry about that.

Thanks to all of the staffers and teams for coming on Saturday! We hope to deliver a better experience at ACF Regionals in January.
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Re: Penn Bowl at Harvard (10/18/2014)

Post by UlyssesInvictus » Sun Oct 19, 2014 8:08 pm

Thanks to all the people who attended the tournament, and to Stephen's nice, polite words about my reading and our running of the tournament. I enjoyed playing the set, if not every single question.

To respond to Stephen, I think you were being very fair in all your assessments. I can only quote Will in that this would have literally been the last chance to play a tournament this semester for anyone not going to ACF Fall, which would have been most people. I know it means very little since I did end up playing most of the day, but I was completely willing to stop playing and staff if the tournament started completely going off schedule (FWIW, taking players off the house teams likely would have meant some near-worthless games no better than byes and I do think the teams we played enjoyed having the competitive games...). I apologize for not realizing that it indeed was necessary until it was too late.
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Re: Penn Bowl at Harvard (10/18/2014)

Post by Adventure Temple Trail » Sun Oct 19, 2014 8:16 pm

UlyssesInvictus wrote: this would have literally been the last chance to play a tournament this semester for anyone not going to ACF Fall, which would have been most people
This is only true if "most people" choose to watch a football game rather than play DEES.
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Re: Penn Bowl at Harvard (10/18/2014)

Post by UlyssesInvictus » Sun Oct 19, 2014 9:03 pm

Matthew Jackson wrote:This is only true if "most people" choose to watch a football game rather than play DEES.
This is a valid point, but I think most people would indeed have chosen Harvard-Yale over DEES, even considering MIT is hosting.
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Re: Penn Bowl at Harvard (10/18/2014)

Post by Cody » Sun Oct 19, 2014 11:46 pm

hydrocephalitic listlessness wrote:
t-bar wrote:According to my text history, we finished round 12 at around 7:25 PM. Assuming a start time of around 9:30 and an hour for lunch, this works out to 45 minutes per round. This is far slower than ideal.
7:25 is later than ideal--MIT was involved in a final, though, so most teams were out before then. A post-dinnertime finish seems to be pretty standard for collegiate tournaments, but we'll try to aim closer for 6 in the future.
Penn finished 15 rounds at around 7 PM. Even bumping this by half an hour for a later start means they finished 3 more rounds in the same time it took y'all.

"post-dinner" finish times are not the norm (as long as you aren't defining this too early); tournaments should be finishing around 5:00 PM +/- 30 minutes, absent finals, for a 10 to 11 round tournament.
UlyssesInvictus wrote:
Matthew Jackson wrote:This is only true if "most people" choose to watch a football game rather than play DEES.
This is a valid point, but I think most people would indeed have chosen Harvard-Yale over DEES, even considering MIT is hosting.
If Harvardians want to attend a social event instead of playing quizbowl, that's their prerogative. That doesn't make it something that should factor into what the last quizbowl tournament of the year is for players.
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Re: Penn Bowl at Harvard (10/18/2014)

Post by hydrocephalitic listlessness » Mon Oct 20, 2014 12:13 am

Cody wrote: "post-dinner" finish times are not the norm (as long as you aren't defining this too early); tournaments should be finishing around 5:00 PM +/- 30 minutes, absent finals, for a 10 to 11 round tournament.
I agree that tournaments should end around this time--just making the point that of the college tournaments I've played in so far, more have ended after 6:30 or so than before it. An example being last year's Penn Bowl at MIT, which finished 11 rounds and ran until 7 PM (plus finals): http://www.hsquizbowl.org/forums/viewto ... =8&t=14817
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Re: Penn Bowl at Harvard (10/18/2014)

Post by hydrocephalitic listlessness » Mon Oct 20, 2014 12:21 am

The above isn't to knock Stephen or to say that his complaints about the staffing at the tournament are unfounded, by the way--it's more just to explain why I didn't see the tournament as running especially slowly while it was going on.
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