(8/22/2020) 2020 MS Kickoff Tournament, hosted by LONE STAR

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Subotai the Valiant, Final Dog of War
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(8/22/2020) 2020 MS Kickoff Tournament, hosted by LONE STAR

Post by Subotai the Valiant, Final Dog of War »

Hello all!
LONE STAR is pleased to announce that we will be hosting the first mirror of our set, as well as the first mirror of this new season, on 8/22/2020, open to ALL MIDDLE SCHOOL TEAMS ACROSS THE COUNTRY.

The tournament will be held online on Discord on 8/22/2020, starting at 10 AM EDT. At least 8 rounds, tossups and bonuses, are guaranteed for all teams playing. We are intending to have a 24-team field, meaning there will be 5 preliminary rounds, 3 playoff rounds, and 1 crossover round at the end to break ties. Regarding set difficulty, LONE STAR is high school regular difficulty/middle school nationals playoffs difficulty. More details can be found here: viewtopic.php?f=109&p=378639

For now, every team must be composed of players from the same school. Players who are entering high school in 2020 are not eligible to play with their middle school teams, but players entering middle school in 2020 are eligible to play with their future teams, even if school has not yet started.

Pricing will be $70 for the first team from each school and $65 for all following teams. Details on how payment will be received will be added soon.

This form can be used to either register teams or to sign up for staffing the tournament: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1Sf46Zg ... tSE1uZxvtM

We are using ACF rules (linked here: https://acf-quizbowl.com/gameplay-rules/). Players will have 5 seconds at the end of a tossup to answer, 5 seconds after a buzz to answer, and 5 seconds after a bonus to answer. To ensure that the games last a reasonable amount of time and that all teams are given the same conditios, these time limits will be enforced.

All players should follow the PACE Code of Conduct, linked here: http://www.pace-nsc.org/nsc-code-of-conduct/. Prohibited behavior will be dealt with seriously by tournament staff and can further be reported to national organizations; the form for doing so can be found with the list of prohibited behaviors in the Code of Conduct. Additionally, all players will have to type out an anti-cheating pledge during the tournament itself, and all cheating allegations will be dealt with seriously.
Daniel, Hunter College High School '19, Yale '23
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Re: (8/22/2020) 2020 MS Kickoff Tournament, hosted by LONE STAR

Post by Subotai the Valiant, Final Dog of War »

FIELD: (14)
Midtown Classical A
Midtown Classical B
Monrovia
Greenhill A
Greenhill B
Churchill A
Churchill B
Churchill C
West Point
Arab
Middlesex
Herberger Young Scholars Academy
Howard
Hazel McCallion

Last updated 8/19/2020 1430 EDT
Last edited by Subotai the Valiant, Final Dog of War on Thu Aug 20, 2020 9:54 pm, edited 7 times in total.
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Re: (8/22/2020) 2020 MS Kickoff Tournament, hosted by LONE STAR

Post by quizbowllee »

I apologize for the for the noob question, but is there a way for me as the coach to log in and observe my team's matches? I'm trying to learn as much as possible about how online competitions work. Watching over my son's shoulder doesn't seem like the best way for me to observe and learn.
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Re: (8/22/2020) 2020 MS Kickoff Tournament, hosted by LONE STAR

Post by FillorianCandidate »

quizbowllee wrote: Wed Aug 12, 2020 3:09 pm I apologize for the for the noob question, but is there a way for me as the coach to log in and observe my team's matches? I'm trying to learn as much as possible about how online competitions work. Watching over my son's shoulder doesn't seem like the best way for me to observe and learn.
Yes, you would have to make a Discord account and click on the server link we send you, but it's pretty easy to spectate on Discord.
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Re: (8/22/2020) 2020 MS Kickoff Tournament, hosted by LONE STAR

Post by Subotai the Valiant, Final Dog of War »

Our field is at 10 teams and counting! We're aiming for a field of at least 12 teams and preferably 16, or we may have to postpone the tournament for a later date.
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Re: (8/22/2020) 2020 MS Kickoff Tournament, hosted by LONE STAR

Post by Subotai the Valiant, Final Dog of War »

The field is currently closed at 12, but new teams are still welcome to register and be on a waitlist in case other teams drop or more teams sign up.
Logistics emails about payment, how to play, rules, etc. will be sent out shortly as soon as we finalize our plans for the field.
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Re: (8/22/2020) 2020 MS Kickoff Tournament, hosted by LONE STAR

Post by Cjh0024 »

When will information be emailed to coaches?
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Re: (8/22/2020) 2020 MS Kickoff Tournament, hosted by LONE STAR

Post by Iago'sFriendly5thCousin »

Relative to other sets that have been used at online middle school tournaments (RAFT, WAIT, MVS RAMS, James Blair IV), how difficult are these questions. (I am most certainly aware that these are all regular season high school level, but they can vary and it would be helpful to know which one of the four sets mentioned above this one is most similar to).

Best Regards,
Charles Heydt
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Grady High: '25

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Re: (8/22/2020) 2020 MS Kickoff Tournament, hosted by LONE STAR

Post by Subotai the Valiant, Final Dog of War »

Emails are going out tonight, and I am drafting them now. I sincerely apologize for the delay.
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Re: (8/22/2020) 2020 MS Kickoff Tournament, hosted by LONE STAR

Post by rdc20 »

Iago'sFriendly5thCousin wrote: Thu Aug 20, 2020 5:00 pm Relative to other sets that have been used at online middle school tournaments (RAFT, WAIT, MVS RAMS, James Blair IV), how difficult are these questions. (I am most certainly aware that these are all regular season high school level, but they can vary and it would be helpful to know which one of the four sets mentioned above this one is most similar to).
These questions are most similar in difficulty to RAFT and WAIT.
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Re: (8/22/2020) 2020 MS Kickoff Tournament, hosted by LONE STAR

Post by osbornrj »

In hindsight, it seems like only tossups should have been used. We'll be hesitant to sign up for any future middle school tournaments that use high school level sets AND include bonuses. If the set were a middle school set, I don't think it would have been an issue. However, with it being high school difficulty, the tossups already take longer to get through, so when you add 3 bonus questions to that, the end result is a 9 hour tournament. In this case, it was 10 hours since everyone had to wait more than an hour for the 1st round to start.
Last edited by osbornrj on Sat Aug 22, 2020 11:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: (8/22/2020) 2020 MS Kickoff Tournament, hosted by LONE STAR

Post by Subotai the Valiant, Final Dog of War »

The tournament indeed lasted longer than anticipated, and we truly apologize for that. There are some lessons I've learned from this experience that I will apply to future mirrors. Most of the delay resulted from delays at the start and a very low-probability and complicated tie that we had to break at the end. However, once we actually got started, the time elapsed between the start of round 1 and the end of round 10 was actually almost on the dot, and I cannot commend the moderators more for their excellent job.

The tournament was intended to last 9 hours. Many tournaments run on high school questions regularly run this long. I cannot speak for other regions, but in the Northeast, high school regionals running from 9 to 6 are not out of the ordinary. I predicted 45 minutes per round and had enough staffers to double up all the rooms but one, which makes 7.5 hours of gameplay. With a lunch break, opening meeting and rebracketing time, that is a 9 hour tournament. I apologize for not being clearer in my original announcement about the length of the tournament.

In the actual tournament, we went 50 minutes per round. We slightly cut into lunch to make up some time lost. The slowest prelim room had 40 minutes for lunch and the opening meetings took a bit under a half hour. The tournament was finished between 9 and 9.5 hours after rounds started, which I would say was actually a pretty good speed.

Much of the hour of wait time at the start of the tournament derived from two sources, and these were both caused by me for not being more attentive to a few details that ended up causing unforeseen problems. I will learn from this experience for future online tournaments.

1. It took us some time to figure out how to get staff into rooms within the Discord bot system we had. We were experienced with moving teams around but less so with moving ourselves around, and we eventually just gave all the staff administrator roles to solve this. For future tournament directors, this may be easier, especially since it also makes reassigning mods between rooms painless.

2. I did not specify in my announcements that each team should have a maximum of 6 players and that each player should play from their own account, as we assumed that all players would want to get individual statistics and that 6 player caps were standard. One team then showed up with 14 players on two accounts. I had to work with the moderators of their first round to come up with a solution to this, as my scoresheets could only support 6 names. We eventually decided that we would just treat each account as a "player" for stats, since the team said they didn't want individual stats. Their coach assured us that he was in the room with the team and that only 4 people played at once. I only received the team's roster during the opening meeting, so I was not able to prepare beforehand for this. I started round 1 only after I made sure this situation was solved.

Regarding the final tiebreaker, which many were surprised to hear ended almost at 9:30 eastern:

I was not expecting to need to break a 3-way tie for spots in the top 3 places of playoffs. I did not have automated playoff stats and had not calculated playoff PPGs by hand because this was the only situation in which I would need them: to seed teams in a two-stage tiebreaker. I also had to explain the possible formats to the teams, since it was not so straightforward as "two teams have the same record and will play." Both of these meant that the tiebreaker ended over an hour after the last room of round 10 instead of only a little bit after.

I called a meeting with the three teams to discuss what format we should use to break the tie. The players on the three teams involved all had no particular objections to playing two half-packet tiebreakers. After I calculated the playoff PPGs for seeding, I read the rounds myself with another mod graciously staying behind to help me with scorekeeping. The teams present seemed happy with their experience both of the tournament in general and of those final suspenseful rounds. While it is certainly suboptimal that the tournament lasted so long for these teams, I was prepared to give the teams all the rounds they deserved for proper placement if they still wanted to play them.
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Re: (8/22/2020) 2020 MS Kickoff Tournament, hosted by LONE STAR

Post by Subotai the Valiant, Final Dog of War »

Wrap-up post:

Congratulations to Churchill A for winning the tournament with a perfect 10-0 record! Middlesex got 2nd place after an impressive series of victories, winning their final game over Churchill B to qualify for the 2nd place tiebreaker as the 4th seed and then winning both stages of it. Churchill B and Herberger got 3rd and 4th places, respectively, being the other two teams involved in the tiebreaker. Additionally, congratulations to Charles Heydt of Howard, Tate Osborne of Monrovia, and Anish Borole of Churchill B for being the top three scorers, both in preliminaries and overall!

As I mentioned near the tail end of the tournament, I will attempt to provide e-book prizes for the top team and top individual in my best attempt to continue the age-old tradition of quiz bowl book prizes in this virtual age. The plan right now is for me to buy some nice books on Google Play as gifts and send the gift codes to the teams.
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Re: (8/22/2020) 2020 MS Kickoff Tournament, hosted by LONE STAR

Post by osbornrj »

Thank you again for offering the tournament and for posting the stats this morning. You had some excellent readers and staff. Mike Laudermith, in particular, is an outstanding reader and very engaging and professional in how he manages his sessions.

Your explanation of how events transpired and caused delays does put it in a different perspective for us. So thank you for taking the time to tell us what happened.

My son, like many of the other students, loves quiz bowl, and it would be a real shame if these online opportunities didn't exist. I don't by any means want to sound unappreciative. I'm just saying you might want to seriously consider dropping the bonuses for any future middle school tournaments that you might host that use high school level questions. My son participated in a couple of other online tournaments this summer that were tossups-only and from high school sets: the Middle School Online Charity Tournament (RAFT) and Rosalind Franklin Bowl (James Blair IV). I think those captured the right balance for an online middle school tournament that already presents a formidable challenge with the higher-level difficulty questions. Also take into consideration that the tournament is online. I know you stated that 9 hours is typical, but sitting through 9 hours online is really quite different for these kids in comparison to being at a physical, in-person tournament for 9 hours. I think it's easier for middle school kids to get through the latter. They have the extra stimuli of moving from room to room with a change of scenery in both the physical environment and seeing the different players and their coaches. I don't know. Maybe it was just that extra hour delay and the delayed and shorter lunch break that really got to my kid on this one. He truly loves quiz bowl and is super focused and attentive. He did very well individually at this tournament. I just suspect if it was excessive for him it was likely excessive for other students. Perhaps I'm mistaken.
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Re: (8/22/2020) 2020 MS Kickoff Tournament, hosted by LONE STAR

Post by Subotai the Valiant, Final Dog of War »

Ah of course, I did not intend to imply that you were unappreciative or anything; apologies if it came off that way. I know that other people had also been surprised by the length of the tournament, so I wished to explain publicly before getting more questions.

Indeed, 9 hours online does feel longer than 9 hours in person, from my own limited experience playing online. I probably should have considered this a bit more, especially in terms of the toll on younger middle schoolers. As a set writer/editor, I and my team were very strong on running tossup-bonus tournaments due to the amount of effort we had put into writing the bonuses, so rather than running all rounds with tossups-only, we decided to run around 75% of the set on tossups-bonuses. I was originally hoping for a 9 round tournament, but then a few more teams signed up and the brackets turned out to work better with 10 rounds. In retrospect, this was probably on the longer side.

I would also like to follow your lead and publicly shout-out Mike Laudermith for an exceptional job as a moderator, especially as for much of the tournament, he was the only mod running a room alone yet finished as fast as, if not faster than, most of the other rooms.
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Re: (8/22/2020) 2020 MS Kickoff Tournament, hosted by LONE STAR

Post by the return of AHAN »

Mike Laudermith is a gold standard moderator at any tournament, whether it's a middle school tournament, or HSNCT, you can be confident that if your team loses, it wasn't because of something he did. To be clear, it USUALLY isn't a mod's fault, but Laudermith leaves you NOTHING to complain about! ;-)
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Barrington Station Middle School Coach (2013 MSNCT Champions, 2013 & 2017 Illinois Class AA State Champions)
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Re: (8/22/2020) 2020 MS Kickoff Tournament, hosted by LONE STAR

Post by MLaudermith »

osbornrj wrote: Mon Aug 24, 2020 1:07 am Mike Laudermith, in particular, is an outstanding reader and very engaging and professional in how he manages his sessions.
Subotai the Valiant, Final Dog of War wrote: Mon Aug 24, 2020 7:45 pm I would also like to follow your lead and publicly shout-out Mike Laudermith for an exceptional job as a moderator
the return of AHAN wrote: Tue Aug 25, 2020 12:20 am Mike Laudermith is a gold standard moderator at any tournament
Your compliments are much appreciated. :grin:
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Re: (8/22/2020) 2020 MS Kickoff Tournament, hosted by LONE STAR

Post by powerneg »

This tournament was a great tournament

Looking back, the tournament could've been faster, but I guess you sometimes have to suck it up and deal with it. :grin:
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Re: (8/22/2020) 2020 MS Kickoff Tournament, hosted by LONE STAR

Post by StockierAsp9634 »

I second Neev. This was a highly enjoyable tournament and a fabulous set. All the moderators were great and I enjoyed the competition. I would like to thank Daniel for creating the set and TD`ing the tournament. I also thank the moderators.
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