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HSNCT tips and tricks 
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Since we have a lot of first-time Missouri attendees at HSNCT this year (five new teams in all!), Matt Chadbourne and I thought it would be a good idea to do a general thread about what to look for at HSNCT and what to expect, since there are some significant differences. Some of you are familiar with most of this, but I wanted to post it for everybody's benefit.

The most important difference is that these rounds are timed. Most of you have never played timed rounds, and it's going to require a slight adjustment. Timed rounds require a slightly different game strategy.

Specifically, HSNCT rounds are 9-minute halves. Matt, myself, and Jeff Hill informed a couple of you that rounds were 10-minute halves; that is incorrect, as confirmed in an email sent to HSNCT staffers today (we're sorry for the error :(). Since rounds are timed, you'll never know exactly how many tossups you'll go through. Each round has 26 tossups, each with accompanying 30-point bonuses. NAQT will expect readers to average 22-24 a round, and they wouldn't mind seeing a lot of rounds completed.

Since these are timed rounds, readers will read faster than you're used to. I read faster at HSNCT than most of you are accustomed to seeing from me. DO NOT ASK THEM TO SLOW DOWN! They will get mad at you, they will ignore you and go on. Most readers at this level are ambitious enough that they will try to kill as many packets as possible. Be ready.

Timing in NAQT rules is unofficial and shorter than MSHSAA rules. After a tossup is finished, you have 3 seconds to buzz in. Calculation questions (which are rare) are 10 seconds. After you buzz in, you have to start an answer immediately! Moderators have to call a pause after about 1 1/2 to 2 seconds, and some will be quicker to call a pause.

Teams have five seconds to give an answer on a bonus, and the moderator will prompt the captain for an answer at four. The captain can defer to another player to give a bonus answer, and that needs to play into your tactics. Bonuses do not rebound.

Two more distinct concepts are powers and negs in tossups. Observe the following question below that I nicked from an NAQT IS sample packet.

15. This book's title comes from a poem by Ernest Dowson that also mentions “Cynara,” which Alice Randall used as the name of the narrator in her 2001 “re-imagining” told from a slave's perspective. Slaves in the original work include Big Sam, (*) Pork, and Dilcey, who was brought from Twelve Oaks to Tara, the O'Haras' estate. For 10 points—name this novel by Margaret Mitchell about Scarlett O'Hara.

answer: Gone with the Wind

This is how an NAQT question appears on a sheet of paper in a packet. You'll see bold text early in the question truncated with an asterisk. If you buzz in before the moderator reaches the truncation in the question and get it correct, you get 15 points instead of 10. This is known as a "power point" or simply "power." The moderator will not read the asterisk; if you buzz in and get it correct, the moderator will simply say "10" or "15."

On the other hand, if you buzz in before the question is finished and get the answer wrong, that is a 5-point penalty, known as a "neg." So there's reward and punishment at the same time. If you buzz in after a question is completed, there is no penalty.

If you look at the question carefully, you'll see it's pyramidally written. The clues at the beginning of the question are harder, with gradually easier clues following and ending with a giveaway clue. Extra points are awarded for an early answer because it awards depth of knowledge. This is the central concept of good quizbowl, and why we value these questions highly.

Bonuses are structured slightly differently than what you are probably accustomed to. See the following bonus for an example.

13. Albert Lebrun appointed Henri Pétain [awn-ree pay-tan] to lead it after Paul Reynaud [ray-noh] resigned. For 10 points each—

A. Name this government that ruled from 1940 to 1944 from a town southeast of Paris.

answer: Vichy [VEE-shee] France (or Regime de Vichy)

B. Pétain had led the French to victory during World War I at a battle in this city. In 843 a treaty dividing the Carolingian Empire was signed there.

answer: Verdun [vair-dun]

C. After the war, Pétain was sentenced to death, but his term was commuted by this leader of the Free French who served as prime minister from 1958 to 1969.

answer: Charles (André Joseph Marie) de Gaulle

Remember again that bonuses do not rebound.

Subject matter will also be different. Math questions have far less weight in NAQT rounds. You'll have at most two calc tossups per round and there are no calc bonuses. As a result, history/geography, lit/myth, and science have greater weight. You'll see far more questions about religion (of every flavor) than you'll see in a Missouri round. Pop culture and sports have more weight, but not a major one. You'll see more questions about computer science as well.

The biggest difference I think subject-wise is current events. NAQT has always had a significant current events distribution. I'm partial to this as I write a lot of CE questions for NAQT, and I really enjoy them. I think CE should be more of a serious topic in the quiz bowl canon than it is, because knowing what's happening in the world is one of the most important things. Know your major governors, Senators, Cabinet members, world leaders, people in the news, etc. Know what's happening in the business world. Also watch for wars, famines, hurricanes, science breakthroughs, etc.

NAQT recently released a sample distribution from HSNCT. Be sure to take a look at it.

http://www.naqt.com/hsnct/distribution.jsp

HSNCT will be a marathon. You will play about 14 rounds on Saturday. If you make the playoffs, you'll play more rounds Sunday. NAQT offers the chance to play unofficial scrimmage rounds from 7 to 10 on Friday night. I strongly urge all of you to take full advantage of that. If you don't make the playoff bracket (or if you get knocked out), there are consolation rounds to play, and I strongly suggest taking that opportunity as well.

Discipline is very important. These rounds move fast. Moderators will not stop for anything during the game barring a fatal heart attack or sudden vomiting (Which I witnessed in a timed CBI round some years ago. Thank God I wasn't reading!). Do not talk unnecessarily between questions or during bonuses. You will miss a lot!

Most importantly--have fun! If you fail in that task, I will find you. Don't make me do that! ^_^

That's the basics. If you guys have any questions, post them here or send me an email at penforprez@gmail.com. Matt, Jeff, if I missed anything, please fill in the gaps.


Mon May 18, 2009 9:45 pm
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Thanks for this primer. I'll be sure to relay this to my team!


Tue May 19, 2009 6:03 am
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Yes, thank you! Our coach for the life of him couldn't find out if bonus could rebound or not. Thanks again :D


Tue May 19, 2009 7:40 am
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trumanboy wrote:
Yes, thank you! Our coach for the life of him couldn't find out if bonus could rebound or not. Thanks again :D
Oh my pleasure. That's the whole point of this thread. Please let me or one of us know if you need any more help before HSNCT. We really want to make sure you guys are as ready as possible. :)


Sat May 23, 2009 12:29 pm
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Some added notes:

Paul said you would be playing 14 rounds on Saturday, however it is my understanding with 192 teams at this thing and 64 game rooms, it's actually 15 rounds played but teams will only have 10 rounds. Just wanted to make this clear. You are also able to participate in the scrimmage rounds on Friday night, which (if you're inexperienced in the format) I highly advise you to take advantage of as they will get you used to the timing, format, rules, without needing to worry about the games being for keeps.

One big difference between this and a MSHSAA round: recognition is not strict! Again let me repeat recognition is not strict. It's a lot like we do at WUHSAC wherein the moderator points at you. So if you buzz in, just make sure it's you who buzzed and don't wait for a prompt or else you might get negged for not answering.

While I agree with Paul's statement that you do not ask the moderator to slow down, it is entirely reasonable to ask them to speak more clearly. Some sacrifice diction for speed or have other undesireable traits. Those I think are fair game.

Let's see, anything else that we missed? Eh I'm sure we did. This just sticks out to me. I hope you all have fun attending this and look forward to seeing you there.


Sat May 23, 2009 12:44 pm
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scphilli wrote:
One big difference between this and a MSHSAA round: recognition is not strict! Again let me repeat recognition is not strict. It's a lot like we do at WUHSAC wherein the moderator points at you. So if you buzz in, just make sure it's you who buzzed and don't wait for a prompt or else you might get negged for not answering.


Very good point. The moderator will most likely look to see who buzzed and they will point or say "yes" or something similar. It'll happen in a fraction of a second.

scphilli wrote:
While I agree with Paul's statement that you do not ask the moderator to slow down, it is entirely reasonable to ask them to speak more clearly. Some sacrifice diction for speed or have other undesireable traits. Those I think are fair game.


True. If you cannot hear the question properly, it's very hard to answer.


Sun May 24, 2009 7:33 am
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scphilli wrote:
One big difference between this and a MSHSAA round: recognition is not strict! Again let me repeat recognition is not strict. It's a lot like we do at WUHSAC wherein the moderator points at you. So if you buzz in, just make sure it's you who buzzed and don't wait for a prompt or else you might get negged for not answering.

What about recognition for bonuses? Does the captain have to give the bonus answer, or can a player just call it out, like at WUHSAC?


Sun May 24, 2009 7:50 pm
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Charbroil wrote:
What about recognition for bonuses? Does the captain have to give the bonus answer, or can a player just call it out, like at WUHSAC?
Any player can give a bonus answer. It's helpful in my experience that the captain "designate" another player to give the bonus answer, to reduce confusion and the likelihood that someone accidentally shouts out a wrong answer, but this is not necessary per the rules. The first answer directed at the moderator on a bonus will be the answer taken.


Sun May 24, 2009 7:59 pm
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Charbroil wrote:
scphilli wrote:
One big difference between this and a MSHSAA round: recognition is not strict! Again let me repeat recognition is not strict. It's a lot like we do at WUHSAC wherein the moderator points at you. So if you buzz in, just make sure it's you who buzzed and don't wait for a prompt or else you might get negged for not answering.

What about recognition for bonuses? Does the captain have to give the bonus answer, or can a player just call it out, like at WUHSAC?
Yeah, so since there is no bouncebacks, when conferring on a bonus, remember: there is NO REASON AT ALL TO WHISPER. If you think you're right, use a normal speaking voice in conferring so there's nothing lost in translation.


Sun May 24, 2009 8:32 pm
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If there are any secret, fantastically useful resources you guys have been holding on to, now would be the time to reveal them. . . . : D


Thu May 28, 2009 3:55 pm
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WillHack wrote:
If there are any secret, fantastically useful resources you guys have been holding on to, now would be the time to reveal them. . . . : D
I don't know of any unfortunately, but I'm hoping someone else here might. :)


Thu May 28, 2009 6:43 pm
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My signature.


Thu May 28, 2009 6:46 pm
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I just want to say "Good luck!" to all of you attending HSNCT this weekend. I'll be around; so will Sean, Matt, Charlie, and Jeff. If you guys need any help, come find us, and we'll be glad to do whatever we can. :)

It is really exciting for me to see so many Missouri teams going, and I really want all of you to do the best you possibly can. Words cannot express my joy with this situation. Make me proud, guys!


Thu May 28, 2009 6:51 pm
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ashkenaziCD wrote:
My signature.
Much as we'd all like to be just like you... :P

And Will, I don't know--know things? :D

Seriously, though, good luck everyone--I look forward to seeing you all there.




<div class="editby">Edited by <a href='http://s4.zetaboards.com/Academic_Competition/profile/89143/'>Charbroil</a>, May 28 2009, 09:36:13 PM.</div>


Thu May 28, 2009 8:35 pm
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You must not have understood me, my signature actually does have a way for you to improve.


Thu May 28, 2009 9:08 pm
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Oh...your Board signature.

Yeah--reading packets is a good idea. Sorry about the confusion.


Thu May 28, 2009 9:48 pm
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PenforPrez wrote:
Most importantly--have fun!
I think this bears repeating. HSNCT is a blast; enjoy it.

I'm sure I'll be seeing many of you in the next couple of days. Good luck!


Fri May 29, 2009 1:04 am
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I do have one specific recommendation for all of you to do today if you are driving in. Go download http://quizbowlpackets.com/archive/2009prison.zip and in the car, read it to each other off your laptops or print it out or something. I just randomly picked a good tournament to use, but there are a whole bunch of good packets to read at the links in my signature so please go to those, find something either in bold or that is for college novices, and just read them to each other. There are all kinds of topics that should refresh your memory with them.


Fri May 29, 2009 4:03 am
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Now that HSNCT is over, was this thread helpful to anyone? Harmful? Thoughts please.


Mon Jun 01, 2009 9:08 am
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It was fine (to be honest, it was mostly stuff I knew, but it was nice), but you guys forgot something:

Don't neg.

That statement is somewhat tongue in cheek, but my point is that people going to the HSNCT (especially people like me who like to guess based on lateral thinking) need to stop guessing so ridiculously often because not only are the number of questions answerable fewer (since the questions are harder), but the canon is much broader. The best strategy for generalists like me, Kevin, Zach, and Spencer seemed to be to hold off until the giveaway and just consistently get those.

Admittedly, my round 3 & 4 negging rampages (10 PPG, yay) were my own fault--Charlie told me more or less the same thing weeks ago...


Mon Jun 01, 2009 7:11 pm
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Study hockey and other trash would have been great advice!


Mon Jun 01, 2009 7:25 pm
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What helped us most was the practice at McClay library; thank you to everyone who was there for that. Honestly, what was worst for us at this tournament was getting tired; at least, speaking for myself, I was dead on my feet after lunch. But we knew what we were getting into with the speed, so no excuses on that front.

I still think the team of me, Tom, Charles, and Spencer could have gone 8-2 and won a couple playoff games.


Mon Jun 01, 2009 7:33 pm
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No doubt. We rocked it.


Mon Jun 01, 2009 7:39 pm
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Lol...Will, we only really fired up after lunch. My worst games were all before that.

And 8-2? Lol...we were good, but we weren't exactly Stow Munro, never mind DCC or DCDS. I think we would have been a safe 7-3 and in the top 20, though. :) Sigh, the possibilities... :D


Mon Jun 01, 2009 8:05 pm
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although Charles your strategy seemed to pay dividends for you. we played the strategy you just recommended and we, while scoring more points, did not win as much.


Fri Jun 05, 2009 9:23 pm
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Yeah, at HSNCT it's definitely worth it to absorb some negs if it means you win more buzzer races given the shorter, sometimes less well edited quality of NAQT as opposed to PACE, plus the fast reading. High power count is important, because the more questions per game your team has locked the more likely you are to win, obviously, so getting a lot of powers but also getting some negs is far superior to not powering but not negging things in this format. At PACE it is a little less important, because the questions are longer and let the clues be expanded on some, and the moderating isn't timed so there's potentially more time to consider the clues.


Wed Jun 10, 2009 5:49 am
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Bumping this thread because this is happening again.


Fri May 28, 2010 12:02 am
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Argonauts of the Western Pacific by Bronislaw Malinowski.


Fri May 28, 2010 12:59 am
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WillHack wrote:
Argonauts of the Western Pacific by Bronislaw Malinowski.


Is that the Polish Anthropologist we kept missing at prenats? >_>

EDIT: Google confirms.


Fri May 28, 2010 5:11 am
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WillHack wrote:
Argonauts of the Western Pacific by Bronislaw Malinowski.


Oddly enough, there was a Kenyatta bonus at HSNCT that went Kikuyu, Mao Mao, Malinowski. The clue for Malinowski being that he wrote an intro to Facing Mount Kenya and was a mentor to Kenyatta at the London School of Economics.
Note the end of my really long post here:
viewtopic.php?f=2&t=2096&start=50
Once again, those who visit the message boards and read posts can actually gain valuable info. who'da thunk it.


Sun May 30, 2010 7:46 pm
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:shock:

Do you plan to use your newfound prophetic powers for good or for awesome?


Sun May 30, 2010 10:46 pm
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Lol I would've got that one for sure, thank you Dees.


Mon May 31, 2010 12:02 am
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