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Warrenton High School Tournament

Tournament announcements, results, and discussion about specific tournaments.
Charbroil
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Post by Charbroil » Mon Feb 11, 2008 10:30 pm

So, this Saturday, the 16th of February, is the tournament at Warrenton High School. What's the information on this one? Who's coming? Who's providing questions? And what are the prizes available?

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Post by FZW Coach » Wed Feb 13, 2008 11:19 am

Some of the teams (from the e-mail) include:

Francis Howell
Francis Howell Central
Westminster
Eureka
Fort Zumwalt West


The top 4 will receive trophies. We will be without 3 of our starters (due to Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat), so we will be lucky just to make it into the top 8 or so.

The top 8 individuals will receive medals.

I believe the company writing is Straight A (I think that is the company they have used in the past), but don't quote me on that one. I am just trying to go from memory.

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Post by AShoaib » Wed Feb 13, 2008 5:27 pm

I'm not going to be there, so yeah, there goes one of the "Big Three" as Mr. Harris calls it.... I doubt my absence will make a big difference.

We're bringing one of our JV kids to replace me.

I've got an interview for some Washington University Young Scientists Program thing that day at 3PM, and I doubt we'd have been done by then.

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Post by socalcaptain » Wed Feb 13, 2008 6:02 pm

We're coming. It's our first "real" tournament, so I hope we do well.

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Post by AShoaib » Sat Feb 16, 2008 4:47 pm

Eureka won second, Francis Howell Central got 1st. That's all I know.

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Post by ALEXGIOVANONIDAPJWEARINGA » Sat Feb 16, 2008 5:24 pm

1st: Francis Howell Central
2nd: Eureka
3rd: Westminister
4th: South Calloway

Top 3 Individual (I don't remember the others, I think there was a 5-way tie for 4th)

1. Charles, Francis Howell Central
2. Alex, South Calloway
3. Alex, Eureka (THAT'S ME, IM A GOOD QUIZ BOWL PLAYER AND THE MODS SHOULDN'T HAVE DELETED MY POST ABOUT MIKE GRAVEL BECAUSE MIKE GRAVEL IS THE BOMB DIGGITY)

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Post by socalcaptain » Sat Feb 16, 2008 8:16 pm

FYI, we're South Callaway. With an A.

And one of the fourth place guys was David from Westminster.

We were pleasantly surprised at our 4th place! Our high school is roughly 320 kids, and we beat out schools that were at least 4 or 5 times as big. This was also our first actual tournament...we always had just played duals and occasionally a conference or local-team round robin. For us to place fourth was overwhelming!

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Post by KentB » Sun Feb 17, 2008 4:22 am

SoCal top 4 finish at state this year ? .... definitely seems plausible.

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Post by East Buc & UMR » Sun Feb 17, 2008 8:10 am

Eureka won second
Do you win second?

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Post by AShoaib » Sun Feb 17, 2008 8:24 am

Well, it sounds better than "losing second".

Okay, so Eureka "got second", S. Callaway "got fourth" and Westminster "got third".

Charbroil
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Post by Charbroil » Sun Feb 17, 2008 12:20 pm

Incidentally, was it just me, or were some of the questions slightly odd? Not only did they cover various absurdly obscure topics (*cough*Russian authors*cough*), but some of them were oddly labeled (how are those aforementioned authors "World History?"), and questions were repetitive (3 questions about the Jovian planets in one game, including two bonuses with the exact same answers.) Anyway, what does everyone else think?

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Post by AShoaib » Sun Feb 17, 2008 12:27 pm

Russian authors? That's not too obscure. Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, Pasternak....

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Charlie Dees
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Post by Charlie Dees » Sun Feb 17, 2008 1:24 pm

While I am going to assume that in general these questions sucked because that is safe to assume whenever it's storebought MSHSAA questions not by Shawn Pickrell, unless they're asking about Griboyedov and A. Anatoly there's no real way to criticize the presence of Russian authors in a quizbowl tournament since they come up all the time and are really important.

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Post by Ford08 » Sun Feb 17, 2008 2:58 pm

there's no real way to criticize the presence of Russian authors in a quizbowl tournament since they come up all the time and are really important.
Yah, they seem to be really popular here lately. Also I have noticed a lot more of the Russians in art and music plus the rising of Russians in history such as their leaders. I have no problem with this.

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Post by Charbroil » Sun Feb 17, 2008 4:11 pm

It wasn't so much the Russian authors that was a problem so much as the sheer prevalence of them. Questions about them are fine...a dozen bonuses and tossups over the course of six games (with who knows how many bonuses that we never got) is less tolerable.

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Charlie Dees
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Post by Charlie Dees » Sun Feb 17, 2008 4:25 pm

Ok that's definitely reasonable, although I'm still curious to know if the answers really were obscure.

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Post by AShoaib » Sun Feb 17, 2008 8:04 pm

Kevin said that these questions were basically on par with Washington High's questions.

This questions still cracks me up:
"In a bag of only nickels and dimes, there are x dollars and y cents. If there are z coins, how many quarters are there?"

Apparently "zero" was the wrong answer. The right answer was "j nickels".










:(

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Post by redliberte » Sun Feb 17, 2008 9:14 pm

AShoaib wrote: This questions still cracks me up:
"In a bag of only nickels and dimes, there are x dollars and y cents. If there are z coins, how many quarters are there?"

Apparently "zero" was the wrong answer. The right answer was "j nickels".










:(
teehee.

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Post by FZW Coach » Mon Feb 18, 2008 4:35 pm

The questions were from the same company as they were at Washington. I believe the company is Straight A. I believe Two Saints used these same style of questions last year. It would be interesting to compare some of the scores from the various tournaments. I will be doing this for my post tournament packet for my team.

On a note, which may be of interest to no one other than myself, we ended a four-year run of playing in the 3rd place game. For four straight years (2003 - 2006), we went into the playoffs ranked between 3 - 5. In each of those years, we won our first playoff game, then proceeded to lose to Westminster, which put us in the 3rd place game (winning that 3 of the 4 years). We did not attend this tournament last year (since we were supposed to go up to Truman State before the inclement weather derailed us), so the streak was still intact until Kevin (Eureka) took that way from us with "Rococo." Julia (captain) said, "I think Teri would have gotten that." Unfortunately, she is at the University of Michigan and not much help to the current team. (Of course, neither were our three senior starters who were all absent due to "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.")

I will post the full scores as they were e-mailed to me from the coordinator.

Congratulations Charles and FHC!!! We look forward to seeing you in conference and districts.

Congratulations to Eureka as well. You all have really had a very nice season so far. I hope you are able to continue your success on to state.

Congratulations Alex and South Callaway! You were very impressive when you played us.

Congratulations Westminster. Two 3rd place finishes in the local (non WUHSAC) tournaments . . . . not too bad.

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Post by FZW Coach » Mon Feb 18, 2008 4:37 pm

Here are the results from Saturday. I can't find the scoresheets for the semis and finals, but here are the rest of the scores.

ROUND 1

DeSmet 190
Hannibal 145

Wright City 45
Washington 30

S Callaway 105
Pkwy N. 70

Howell Central 215
Howell 165

Zumwalt W 140
Orchard Farm 80

Mexico 180
Warrenton 55

Rockwood Summit 110
Montgomery County 50

Union 140
Troy 90

Eureka 235
Pacific 80

Westminster 195
Elsberry 110

ROUND 2

Pacific 125
Elsberry 90

S Callaway 245
Zumwalt W 95

Union 85
Wright City 65

Howell 160
Mexico 95

Howell Central 310
DeSmet 60

Orchard Farm 130
Hannibal 110

Westminster 230
Troy 120

Pkway N 175
Washington 75

Warrenton 110
Rockwood Summit 75

Eureka 280
Montgomery County 50

ROUND 3

Howell 280
Summit 80

Pkwy N 110
Union 80

Howell Central 335
Orchard Farm 45

Zumwalt W 210
Troy 130

Westminster 225
Wright City 70

Elsberry 165
Montgomery County 65

S Callaway 190
Pacific 150

Mexico 275
DeSmet 145

Hannibal 155
Washington 70

Eureka 300
Warrenton 100

QUARTERFINALS

1 Howell Central 290
8 Pkwy N. 75

2 Eureka 260
7 Zumwalt W 220

3 Westminster 210
6 Mexico 145

4 S Callaway 205
5 Howell 175

SEMIS

Howell C. def. S. Callaway

Eureka def. Westminster

3rd PLACE

Westminster def. S. Callaway

FINALS

Howell C. def Eureka

Francis Howell Central 1st
Eureka 2nd
Westminster 3rd
South Callaway 4th

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Post by FZW Coach » Mon Feb 18, 2008 4:44 pm

AShoaib wrote:

I've got an interview for some Washington University Young Scientists Program thing that day at 3PM, and I doubt we'd have been done by then.
Abdullah, how did your interview go? Are you attending Washington University next year?

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Charlie Dees
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Post by Charlie Dees » Mon Feb 18, 2008 5:00 pm

Jesus those scores are insanely low.
Also, how is playing the crap written by Answer's Plus or Straight A or whoever more worthwhile than the NAQT state tournament not very far away?

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Post by AShoaib » Mon Feb 18, 2008 5:20 pm

Mr. Gibbs, I'm a junior.









:P

Wow, those scores are uber low man. Eureka didn't break 300 points in any of the games (they got to 300 straight only)?

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Post by Jeffrey Hill » Mon Feb 18, 2008 5:49 pm

ashkenaziCD wrote:Jesus those scores are insanely low.
Agreed - there's a problem when scores on MSHSAA-style questions are this low.

For a quantitative comparison:

Team avg at NAQT: 161.22 ppg (excluding all games involving NKC: 126.25)

Warrenton team averages:
Round 1: 121.5 ppg / Round 2: 134.25 ppg / Round 3: 158 ppg
Total morning average: 137.92 ppg

And the highest score all day is 335? I would have to agree that there is something wrong with these questions.

--Yes, when NKC's presence is completely removed from the NAQT qualifier, the average is slightly less. But that was significantly pulled down by B and C teams. Also, the NAQT average is also slightly lower by comparison because of -5's for incorrect interrupts and only one team getting a chance at bonuses.
--There were some pretty good teams at the Warrenton tournament that I would have expected to have scored higher.

Anyway, I'm not intending to refuel the whole MSHSAA vs NAQT-style debate, and admittedly it is possible that I'm slightly biased toward NAQT in my analysis, but I just wanted to take this opportunity to provide a quantitative comparison between the two tournaments.


For those who were there - any insight on why the scores were so low? Were topics too obscure, math too hard, did questions have left turns, not many uniquely identifying clues, etc.?

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Post by AShoaib » Mon Feb 18, 2008 6:04 pm

Well, Kevin mentioned that the math was sometimes insanely difficult. Not "difficult" in concepts, "difficult" to do in 15 seconds (ie: find volume of rectangular prism with dimensions of 8.8cm by 7.2cm by 6.5cm).

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Post by Charbroil » Mon Feb 18, 2008 6:19 pm

Yes, when NKC's presence is completely removed from the NAQT qualifier, the average is slightly less.  But that was significantly pulled down by B and C teams.
Don't forget, though, many of the A teams at Warrenton weren't more than B or C team quality either, given that many of the more elite teams in the state were at the NAQT tournament.

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Post by East Buc & UMR » Mon Feb 18, 2008 6:29 pm

Don't forget, though, many of the A teams at Warrenton weren't more than B or C team quality either, given that many of the more elite teams in the state were at the NAQT tournament.
Which teams would this be?

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Post by FZW Coach » Mon Feb 18, 2008 7:28 pm

Charbroil wrote:
Yes, when NKC's presence is completely removed from the NAQT qualifier, the average is slightly less.  But that was significantly pulled down by B and C teams.
Don't forget, though, many of the A teams at Warrenton weren't more than B or C team quality either, given that many of the more elite teams in the state were at the NAQT tournament.
Charles,

No offense, but that quote just does not make any sense. And is without validity.

Yes, North Kansas City was at Rolla, but they have never attended Warrenton. Either has Helias.

Yes, everyone agrees N.K.C. is the best in the state (some argue for Savannah, who will most likely be the class 3 state champion), but you all defeated some quality opponents along the way. Eureka may very well win their district. And either you, Kirksville, or FZW (an outside shot) will win District 4. So, basically, your statement was an attempt to give some praise to North Kansas City but does not hold much weight overall.

Here is a short history of the Warrenton Tournament


2003
1. Parkway North
2. Westminster
3. FZW
4. FHC

2004
1. Westminster
2. Parkway Central
3. Hannibal
4. FZW

2005
1. Westminster
2. Parkway Central
3. FZW
4. FH

2006
1. Westminster
2. FHC
3. FZW
4. DeSmet

2007
1. FH
2. Westminster
3. ?
4. DeSmet

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Charlie Dees
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Post by Charlie Dees » Mon Feb 18, 2008 7:38 pm

Why is all this talk going on about a cruddy tournament's history and stuff like that? Who cares, it's a bad tournament? I don't think any of this stuff matters about anything.

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Post by AShoaib » Mon Feb 18, 2008 8:09 pm

John Burroughs got third place last year.

See this thread: http://z4.invisionfree.com/Academic_Com ... topic=1397

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Post by Charbroil » Mon Feb 18, 2008 8:13 pm

Sorry about that, my last post was a little unclear, and I probably didn't need to add the first sentance of my quote--I just included it for context.

What I meant was that just as B & C teams dropped the average score at Rolla, teams of the same caliber dropped it at Warrenton, and so the effect holds across both tournaments. The comment about the more elite teams being at Rolla wasn't meant to compliment NKC specifically, so much as to comment as to why the aforementioned A teams were at Warrenton. It was more or less just an offhanded comment.

Anyway, like you said, the tournament isn't all that important.

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Post by socalcaptain » Mon Feb 18, 2008 8:18 pm

Wow. So much argument.

So, the questions were a little sucky. Who cares? We played through it, and even if we didn't score as many points, it goes to show you that a little tiny school like us (around 320 kids) can cream a huge school.

I agree completely that the NAQT quote was a bit out of line. A lot of teams went to Warrenton for different reasons:

(A) Geography - Some coaches don't want their teams to get up at insane hours of the morning to do quiz bowl. Warrenton was less than an hour drive for us whereas Rolla would have been close to twice as long.

(B) Confidence-booster - We're a tiny school. We've lost to Hallsville twice this year. We needed a big boost to keep us going. And we weren't going to get that at NAQT considering we've never played that format before.

© Tradition - Some schools have been playing the tournament for years, as evidenced by said tournament history. To quit on Warrenton might not be what some coaches feel is right.

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Post by Charlie Dees » Mon Feb 18, 2008 8:37 pm

Hey actually no that wasn't at all out of line considering it was Rolla trying to do something that would actually help improve quizbowl in the state. I'm not sure where anyone said it was out of line until you actually, so I'm not sure what you're agreeing with. Many St. Louis teams like Eureka, Fort Zumwalt West, and DeSmet make trips 2 or 3 times a year to Rolla and Cuba (which are both really close to each other), so for a lot of teams going to Warrenton I don't see that as a problem.
(B) Confidence-booster - We're a tiny school. We've lost to Hallsville twice this year. We needed a big boost to keep us going. And we weren't going to get that at NAQT considering we've never played that format before.
Logical fallacy ahoy! I think at the NAQT tournament NKC was the only team there who had ever played another NAQT tournament. I think NKC and Helias were the only teams that were in a size class above you. You would have been at absolutely none of your perceived disadvantages. Also, I think these Warrenton scores tell the story by themselves about accessibility.
And i guess I'm very wary about "tradition" in a state where there has been a really limited presence of good quizbowl over the past 5 years alone.

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Post by East Buc & UMR » Mon Feb 18, 2008 8:46 pm

Helias went to nationals a few years ago and Richland played in a few of Paul Nelson's NAQT tournaments two years ago.

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Charlie Dees
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Post by Charlie Dees » Mon Feb 18, 2008 8:56 pm

Right, but I'm almost 100% certain that nobody on Helias's team right now went, and I think Brian is the only person on the Richland team who played that other one. So I take that back, NKC plus 1 other person have NAQT playing experience.

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Post by FZW Coach » Mon Feb 18, 2008 10:31 pm

I just compared the scores from Washington and Warrenton. Both tournaments used the same question company. Thirteen teams competed at both tournaments. This is very strange, but only FHC improved their scoring average (based only on the morning rounds). I would list the comparison (it will be in my team's packet in the morning), but it probably would not come out on here very well. Is it possible to create a table?

Not including FHC, the other 12 teams scored an average of 61.5 points fewer per game with FZW scoring 125 points fewer and Hannibal scoring just 5 points fewer per game.

It is strange.

My guess is that the bonus questions were more difficult. I looked at the bonus points we had at Washington and at Warrenton two years ago (they were significantly higher).

Troy scored 80 points fewer per game and went from 3 - 0 at Washington (4th seed) to 0 - 3 at Warrenton. Some of the scoring differences can be explained. We were missing 3 starters; Eureka was missing one of their main players. But, it is really strange how the same company can produce questions for the same teams with such drastic differences.

Has anyone seen anything like this? Or analyzed questions from the same sources like this before? We could do much more statistical analysis of this, but I did find it strange that every team (other than FHC which did not have Charles at Washington) scored lower than they did previously.

Oh well . . . .

Interesting discussion, fellows!

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Post by FZW Coach » Mon Feb 18, 2008 10:35 pm

ashkenaziCD wrote: Why is all this talk going on about a cruddy tournament's history and stuff like that? Who cares, it's a bad tournament? I don't think any of this stuff matters about anything.
Maybe it doesn't.

However, PCH did win state in 2004; Westminster won state in 2005 (class 3); and Westminster finshed 2nd in state in 2006 (class 3) with FZW finishing 4th.

It doesn't matter much, but this tournament using the same question writing company has had quite a few state qualifiers. I am not sure if it will this year or not, but I find history fascinating (especially when it is my own)!










:)

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Post by Charlie Dees » Mon Feb 18, 2008 10:43 pm

Right, and every state championship ever run by MSHSAA also qualifies as a bad tournament that has happened to sometimes get the right team right, but in a wholly unsatisfactory fashion.

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Post by socalcaptain » Tue Feb 19, 2008 8:34 pm

What I never understand is all the argument. What's the REAL difference between NAQT and MSHSAA? Both times people get asked questions. They answer them.

It all depends on what you're used to. And, in Missouri and for us, that's MSHSAA style. If the questions suck, that's the tournament organizer's fault for choosing that company, not the fault of the system or the format. It's possible to be in quiz bowl to win AND to have fun. And if that means playing Warrenton instead of Rolla, then that's what we're going to do.

Also, comparing scores between teams over time means nothing to me. We're scoring consistently higher than we ever have before, and yet we didn't make it to state last year while we did my sophomore year. The better team's going to win whether the questions are too easy, too repetitive, or just plain bad. They're going to get more right and score more points; whether those points are higher than in the past is irrelevant.

I understand polite and constructive debate but this outright criticism of everything other schools do IS out of line, and I'll be the first to say it. Charlie, you're intelligent and a good kid. There's no need to yell (figuratively) at everyone else on the board. Can't we all just get along?

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Post by NKCtrashman » Tue Feb 19, 2008 9:44 pm

The better team's going to win whether the questions are too easy, too repetitive, or just plain bad.
Not true. There have been many times over the past few years when NKC has lost to teams much worse than it. For example last year when Savannah was not as good as they had been in previous years thet lost to us at (2006) UMR-Fall 405-140. We lost to them later in the year at marshall (the worst questions i have ever played on).

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Post by Charlie Dees » Tue Feb 19, 2008 9:47 pm

socalcaptain wrote: What I never understand is all the argument. What's the REAL difference between NAQT and MSHSAA? Both times people get asked questions. They answer them.
OK, the REAL difference between NAQT questions and almost every single tournament run on MSHSAA questions is that they are written with tossups that are 4-5 lines long with multiple clues usually structured from the most in depth to the least in depth. MSHSAA format providers almost unilaterally provide questions that are 1-2 lines long, usually with no test of depth, or else a very poor one. This game is not one where just anything can go no matter what, or else all we end up with is a bunch of popsicle stick trivia questions being read to us to differentiate knowledge (which is not too far from what we have now for the most part I think). There are minutiae about the actual format (usually 20 tossups with 30 point bonuses), but the main reason it is different is because NAQT does a much better job of testing a team's depth of knowledge then what you will get at Warrenton or most other places, which is really what quizbowl should be about.
It all depends on what you're used to. And, in Missouri and for us, that's MSHSAA style. If the questions suck, that's the tournament organizer's fault for choosing that company, not the fault of the system or the format. It's possible to be in quiz bowl to win AND to have fun. And if that means playing Warrenton instead of Rolla, then that's what we're going to do.
What I'm saying is that there is nothing that I can really find to be innately fun about going to a tournament where every question is a poorly written buzzer race. At the same time, I can't find anything inherently not fun playing a game that actually tries to differentiate knowledge among the teams by using longer, more clue dense questions. I think it's a whole lot more satisfying (and yeah, fun) playing a game where you win because you were the more knowledgeable team, not because you lucked out and won more buzzer beaters or had the other team get more hoses then you. Also, part of the problem with the MSHSAA format (the actual format) is that it is unique to our state, which really limits the number of people willing to put together a set to purchase, and it is very long. If the questions were more in depth, the matches could potentially go over an hour, which most teams don't like. Until we come up with some perfect way to unify 5 line tossups with that format, we are going to be restricted to poor question writing being the norm. There are some exceptions, but even those are being driven down in size (Shawn Pickrell). So I guess part of the problem is that there are almost no quality providers for the format because it is so restrictive.
Also, comparing scores between teams over time means nothing to me. We're scoring consistently higher than we ever have before, and yet we didn't make it to state last year while we did my sophomore year. The better team's going to win whether the questions are too easy, too repetitive, or just plain bad. They're going to get more right and score more points; whether those points are higher than in the past is irrelevant.
I'm not really understanding this paragraph, but I do feel it appropriate to note something - that is actually very very untrue to say that the better team will always win. Here's a (not so) hypothetical situation: 2 teams are in quizbowl - 1 has basic knowledge of most topics, which allows them to buzz in at the giveaway on most things, but that's about it. The other team has the basic knowledge of those same giveaways, and to boot they know a lot more about most of those subject then just those giveaways, enough to buzz in off of the 2nd or 3rd clue in a 5 line tossup much of the time. Now, if you have those 2 teams play a game where everything is one line long, you can produce very abberant results because it is all being determined by which team's button happens to have been pushed a split second earlier on every single question. The outcome of that game could easily go in either team's favor despite #2 clearly knowing more. Now, if those same 2 teams are playing a pyramidal match, then the likelyhood of the first team winning goes down a slope dramatically because they do not have the depth of knowledge that the second team has. I can even present you with empirical proof of this (the TJ team that went undefeated 2 years in a row at nationals and was handily the best team in the country did horribly on their local TV show It's Academic that was a lot of one liners, for a very dramatic example. This actually can apply to a ton of national contenders though).
I understand polite and constructive debate but this outright criticism of everything other schools do IS out of line, and I'll be the first to say it. Charlie, you're intelligent and a good kid. There's no need to yell (figuratively) at everyone else on the board. Can't we all just get along?
I hope I just did that successfully.

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Post by Awehrman » Tue Feb 19, 2008 10:47 pm

I understand your argument, Charlie, but I don't totally agree with it. Certainly good teams can lose to lesser teams because of bad questions. By bad questions I mean truly awful ones with hoses and incorrect infomration (Chip Beall, Avery type stuff), but I don't think that all short questions fit that mold. Truly great teams can win on both types. Since part of quizbowl is anticipation of the correct answer, the better teams should always be a little ahead in their thinking. There are always some lucky teams (when I played Benton, Arkansas was the luckiest team) who can buzz in early on a music question with Mozart after hearing "German composer" and be right, but that sort of team isn't going to win many tournaments.

The reason I think my brother was the best player in Missouri history was that he could destroy teams no matter what questions we played on. If you think questions vary wildly between tournaments in Missouri now, you should have seen it in 1997. I remember in the short-lived televised tournament Mike's junior year (my frehman year), out of I believe 45 very short questions, Mike answered 34 (I got 4) against a pretty decent Park Hill team (I should try to find that tape). Mike could also get the math too, which certainly boosted his numbers. Besides those old NKC powerhouse teams, Northside, AR in 2001 is the other that comes to mind with their dominance on both long and short questions. That team beat our Arkansas team in practice once (although Mike mopped the floor with them every other time).

I've said this on the board before, but as much as I like pyramidal questions (although I don't much care for that term), I don't think they are necessary for Missouri's state tournament. I don't think there are too many years where you can say the best team in the state didn't win (second place is a different story). I also like them for maintaining tradition. I don't mind that Missouri's format is different. There are lots of different formats in different states. I especially don't mind now that MSHSAA has come around to NAQT state and national qualifier tournaments. I do think that schools should not hide from longer style questions, but I'm not sure the difference in determining the best teams is as great as you make it out to be.

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Post by Charlie Dees » Tue Feb 19, 2008 11:36 pm

OK Andy, I totally disagree that any measure of performance on speed questions is at all valid in finding the best team. Yes, bad questions like the ones you say can screw teams, but there's no empiricl reason that speed questions can't either. I can tell you all kinds of teams who I would consider great (Whitman, MLK, NKC) who can perform well on questions testing depth, but go to crap on speed questions because they are being dragged down. And by speed I mean any question consisting mostly of an effective giveaway, even the direct ones that aren't "bad" by your definition. At this point, in the serious quizbowl community speed questions have gone the way of ASCN and Chip Beall because it has been shown over and over again that it doesn't actually have an inherent meaning other then that a team knows giveaways. Just look at the massive improvements over the years of PACE NSC and NAQT HSNCT, and the fact that the market has shifted so massively towards them for nationals with the NAC and Panasonic's attendance decreasing yearly.
A truly great team is the one that proves they have a lot of deep knowledge. It is not one that can win a lot of buzzer races. Those kinds of results have no innate value in and of themselves. See the semi-hypothetical example I gave to prove why that is faulty reasoning. i will still stand by believing that questions have really not changed that much here since the mid 1990s. I have reason to believe this, as I have read through a lot of old sets from that time period and find no appreciable difference between those questions and the ones being produced now for lots of tournaments by companies like A+, Triple Q, Questions Galore, and probably 95% of the other tournaments produced in the MSHSAA format. I think that MSHSAA's format for the state tournament does in fact hinder the growth of quizbowl for these reasons, among others:

Most teams feel the need to use their format in order to make it seem "legit." This locks them in to either buying questions from a not good writer or house writing them, usually with poor results since they don't have any experience on good questions. This keeps dragging down quizbowl either until MSHSAA changes their format or until people start to stop using it for their tournaments, which is not going to happen too much because of the aformentioned "official" feel.

It puts an insanely undue emphasis on following ridiculous minutiae in the rules. Quizbowl should be about finding who knows more, not about protesting because the other team didn't get recognized properly or whatever even less sound rule you can find. (This is not as big a point).

They create real limitations on how much you can play. It is simply mind boggling to only get 3 preliminary games per tournament, and then always have a single elimination determine the winner. It is even more insane to only have 10 games from the beginning of districts to the end of states. I think this sets a precedent that is followed at most tournaments that I just can't reconcile with a legitimate system to find a champion. I mean, most people are only getting to play 3 games per tournament, that's just kooky. It's no surprise they aren't improving as much. That i think can also be a large factor in producing some aberrant overall tournament results.

The distribution for MSHSAA games is awful. It's really really really bad.

Anyway, I think that there is enough broken with the way MSHSAA is running their stuff to say that yeah, it does need a revamping to become a more positive force. Luckily one of the bigger ones was Shawn Pickrell getting a bid to write state, but even that got unduly restricted. MSHSAA is so far behind the true mainstream of quizbowl it blows my mind, and given the pitiful attendance to NAQT state in favor of bad MSHSAA style tournaments I'm not really thinking that's a valid arguing point yet. Maybe in a few years we'll see.
I do think that schools should not hide from longer style questions, but I'm not sure the difference in determining the best teams is as great as you make it out to be.
See Savannah and Liberty's teams last year if you want complete and utter disproof of that statement.

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Post by Jeffrey Hill » Wed Feb 20, 2008 12:08 am

Awehrman wrote:I do think that schools should not hide from longer style questions, but I'm not sure the difference in determining the best teams is as great as you make it out to be.
I completely agree with this statement. Yes, shorter questions can increase the chance of a truly "better" team losing because of stupid buzzer races, but I don't think it's nearly as bad as it's being made out to be.

Charles' post [at 9:47 PM] explaining why a format with longer questions would be better at determining the "best" team is quite accurate, and after taking another quick look at it I don't think there is anything exaggerated in it to detract from his statement.



I didn't intend this post to be so long, but I thought of something I wanted to expand upon regarding the hesitance to switch to NAQT-style questions:

I must say that in HS, I never played on non-MSHSAA questions, so when I got to UMR I was completely unfamiliar with the NAQT format. Because it is quite different, most Missouri teams will probably experience the same thing I did when I first started at UMR - they probably won't like it at first, because they won't get many questions until the giveaway, making the extra length seem boring because they're just waiting for an easy clue. I studied a lot of lists in HS, so I had a broad knowledge of most everything, but I really only had depth on stuff I remembered from classes and stuff I'd written questions about.

However, now that I've been playing it for a while, I can't see myself playing anything else. Even though I haven't really studied too much besides from what I've absorbed from writing questions, I generally enjoy it more than I would enjoy a MSHSAA format game. I really wish that we had played on NAQT-style in high school, when I actually spent time studying. 20 questions is still enough to determine a winner, and because the games are about half as long, it doesn't seem as drawn out and you get to play more teams, etc.

This makes me realize that stuff like worksheets and lightning rounds are unfair, because it's nothing but an unproportionate amount of easy points for memorizing a single list. I remember we beat Northside in the championship of the Savannah tournament in 2005 partially because I was able to sweep a vice presidents lightning round. Sure, I knew the presidents that the 10 listed vice presidents served under to get 120 points, but it was just from memorizing one list and not from knowing anything about any of them.

It is much more rewarding to, for instance, answer a tossup on Dan Quayle after the mention of Lloyd Bentsen's "Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy" rather than barely winning a buzzer race on "served as vice president under George H.W. Bush." Granted, this example is a pretty standard clue that could easily appear in a MSHSAA question, but I think if teams always played on longer questions, they would be more likely to get it on earlier clues like that, because their preparation would be geared toward the longer questions rather than simple binary list knowledge.

Also, it's definitely not fun to lose a game because of a buzzer race, rather than losing because the other team was clearly more knowledgeable.

So to summarize, I hope that more teams do choose to attend tournaments on NAQT-style questions. It will be different at first, yes, but once teams are able to start going to more every year, they might be more motivated to add some depth to their studying.

-----------
Anything I have said in this thread is not meant to be specifically against the Warrenton tournament, the teams that went to it, etc. While I would have preferred teams to attend an NAQT-style tournament, I'm not going to criticize them for choosing the other option. However, based on the scores and what limited direct criticism of the questions has been presented, I do hope that Warrenton has a better question provider next year.

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Post by MikeWormdog » Wed Feb 20, 2008 1:13 am

When Andy and I played in high school, there were questions like NAQT's and also speed questions. In fact, NAQT's questions produced for HS teams in the late 90s were harder than they are now. PACE didn't form until after I graduated (Andy was still in high school.) I, like both Charlie and Andy (as well as the vast majority of college-level and above players), like longer questions, but in HS tournaments, the results typically weren't any different. We wanted to win and did win tournaments no matter what the format was.

Whether or not games were close depended not just on the type of question but also on what was asked about. We were both more knowledgeable and quicker than other teams. It was simply a measure of adaptability. Part of playing the game in high school is being able to read the question writer's mind. Some people don't adapt to this gameplay aspect as well as others. Yes, some teams do better on speed questions, but in general in HS, good teams win at all formats. Bad teams do poorly. You lost to Savannah in a speed race, but at worst, Savannah was the second-best team (maybe 3rd if there was a good Liberty squad) at the tournament. The results might be slightly different at the top, but in general the results hold true. NKC isn't going to lose to Snot River C on MSHSAA, Chip, NAQT, or Trivial Pursuit questions. Bad teams don't know the answers to most questions, whether they're pyramidal or not.

It is somewhat easy to lose a game when there are only 20 questions, even if the questions are pyramidal. Losing one game doesn't matter as much in a non-single elimination format, but it's still easier to lose a shorter game to an inferior team than it is a longer one because rounds are more affected by an odd distribution or one team's random knowledge. We lost a game once to a team because the lit questions were all sci-fi, and the other team had some nerdy kid who knew them. With only 20 questions in a packet, it was impossible to make up that skewed distribution. You could easily lose to Savannah on pyramidal questions if there happened to be an odd few they knew well for some reason.

Your problem with easy speed-check questions could also be solved by short but difficult questions. These questions could either be the middle sections of pyramidal questions or simply shortish questions whose answers are more difficult. These would also separate more knowledgeable teams from the others. A few odd questions here or there would not be enough to affect the outcome of a game (in a format where individual games are more important), or at least a superior team could more easily weather a few bad questions. ASCN was like this. So was Northside, especially in the playoff rounds. NKC's old tournaments had longer rounds of 40-45 questions when I wrote them, often with fairly difficult answers. These tournaments aren't around any more, so maybe it's hard for you to compare. In a single-elimination format, 45-50 short but difficult questions I think are at least as likely to produce a more knowledgeable victor as 20 pyramid-style questions with fairly easy answers, which is the standard NAQT high school model.

Since HS tournaments are often large, single elimination is often the only feasible way to determine a champion. It enables more teams to stay for longer but not have to stick around after they have no shot at winning. A few upsets may come along, but good teams tend to win tournaments. The 16-seed and 15-seed don't often meet for the championship. Maybe the best team doesn't win all the time, but a pretty good one still wins.

HS quizbowl in most places is different from the college game. The HS quizbowl board is not a representative sample of nationwide formats. If you want to determine who the "best" team is at every tournament, it would require more games and more questions than most teams (and hosts) are willing to put up with. Luckily, there are national HS tournaments that provide such a forum. These events didn't really exist 10-12 years ago.

Don't sweat it too much, Charlie. You obviously like the college game more. You're almost there. The 20-tossup, 20-bonus format is the Cadillac of quizbowl formats, but not everyone drives a Cadillac, especially not in high school.

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Post by Ford08 » Wed Feb 20, 2008 11:04 am

Even though it may take a little longer I enjoy being asked more questions. I do not care if the match takes an hour I like 50 questions that are pyramidal, so I am willing to give up my time for that because I enjoy it. Personally I like the NAQT style, people on our team didnt but thats their opinion. I like beating people when I know more about something than they do. What I do not like is when questions take an awful left turn. For example I do not like on pyrmidal quesitons when you think they are going to ask for somthing, such as an assassian and then they ask for an book or author about them.

There is always going to be a problem with different levels of teams liking different styles. Your NKC, Maggie Walkers, TJ's, and MLK's are going to like ACF questions, because they get out more and can compete at that level. I personally like the longer questions, but here in the south west it probably is not going to happen now because it is against the norm. Short questions are in right now and have been in MO. We have started to take steps (though baby) toward a better horizon such as having Shawn Pickrell write the tournaments so we better just be glad there is change and hope for more in the future.

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Post by FZW Coach » Wed Feb 20, 2008 11:50 am

Why not attend Rolla?

For me, I want to support the schools in my conference that host tournaments. Both Washington and Warrenton have hosted tournaments for 20+ years or so. I feel it is part of our school's responsibility to support that effort as much as possible. They (Warrenton) will show up at our place for Districts and both will be at FHC for conference finals, so it seems only fair and right that we do what we can to help them improve their efforts. These tournaments also provide us a chance to start figuring how we stack up against our conference teams and district teams.

We would liked to be at Rolla. But, as far as I am concerned, I would really only like to be there with all four of my starters. It is fun to see these younger students develop, but I do like having my starters so that we can make minor adjustments to get us ready for future contests.

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Post by FZW Coach » Wed Feb 20, 2008 11:55 am

Mike,

I just read your post. You made some really good points. I do wish we were at the point where we had longer tournaments from the competitive side. I would not look forward to having to deal with the hotel booking and all that from a coaching perspective.

In Bible Quiz, National Finals is a 4 day event. You play 8 games a day for four days. The best team does win. In 2001, I coached a team that lost the finals on the last question to a team from Colorado Springs. It was disappointing to come that close. But, that is with a church setting, so much easier to get all of the arrangements made and sponsors qualified. I wish we were at that level, but we are not. We probably won't ever quite get there, but I do applaud NKC and Savannah and others for taking that step.

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Post by DeckardCain » Wed Feb 20, 2008 12:48 pm

I'm short on time right now and will make a longer reply later, but just wanted to clarify one point that I've heard come up more than once in pyramidal vs. short question debates.
What I do not like is when questions take an awful left turn. For example I do not like on pyrmidal quesitons when you think they are going to ask for somthing, such as an assassian and then they ask for an book or author about them.
If a question doesn't make immediately clear what class of thing is being asked for (book, person, etc.) it's definitely a bad question, yeah. It happens. For what it's worth, I think it happened far too often in both our fall tournament and last weekend's NAQT tournament. That said, this is by no means a problem confined to pyramidal questions, and often pyramidal questions do specify a specific type of answer, though the pronouns can be hard to follow for someone who is not used to that style of question. For example, a question whose first pronoun is "he" is asking for a person, and not a thing. In questions I write I make every attempt to make it abundantly clear what is being asked for multiple times in the question, e.g. several references to "this person," "in this novel," etc.

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Post by FZW Coach » Wed Feb 20, 2008 1:28 pm

I really think it had something to do with the bonus questions here. I have not analyzed those yet, but South Callaway had 20 toss ups against us (which is more than enough), but did not score that many points total. I don't know what it was, but something about the bonus questions were way too challenging.

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