Sunday, 4 December 2016

Ottawa QT XII Recap

Powerful building full of ringers.

We got six teams yesterday, all from Lisgar and Colonel By, so it was a field full of sharks. Every player got a power in this tournament (even the ones who missed some rounds), and 5 of the 6 teams scored over 20 points-per-bonus.

Sheena and Colin were the Lisgar A team and went 7-0. They were also the top two scorers in the field. Together they got 51 powers and only one neg -- which might have been Sheena buzzing early on Asian history.

The other top-bracket teams were two more Lisgar teams. Gareth, Patrick, and Gabriel went 0-2 against the champions but 5-0 against every other team. Their job got easier when Nadia arrived at noon to answer some science for them.

The Lisgar B team was William, Matija, Felipe, and Jon. They easily led the field in negs and in talking over the questions, but they also got 25 powers in seven rounds. They scraped into top bracket by having 5 more PPG than Colonel By A. Once they were in top bracket, they lost more games, but the great singer Josh showed up and got them some history buzzes.

The Colonel By teams were great at competing with their teammates and at arriving on time for the tournament. Captain Jonathan led them with 41 tossups, and senior player Adam helped out with 4 negs and some basketball knowledge. Both Kevin Lees got a lot of questions. The Colonel By players also snuck onto a uOttawa computer to play ProtoBowl.

The Lisgar junior team ended at 3-4, but were one question away from making top bracket. They tied one of their senior teams in the morning, 365-365, and then they lost the three-question tiebreaker on the final question. Thomas got 10 powers for that team, and Olive actually knew some lit questions yesterday, which most other players didn't.

People seemed to like the questions, even though they weren't trash. My Canada questions all played well, especially a bonus about Christmas, but except for a hose where a Joe Clark tossup sounded like a Kim Campbell tossup. The America questions we left in the tournament all played pretty well. Colonel By players seemed to know American history from the news, and Lisgar players all seemed to know it from Hamilton.

This tournament was bailed out by coach Ruth Crabtree and scorekeeper Audrey, who emerged at the last minute when it became clear I needed more staff. The tournament was also carried by volunteer legend Ben Smith, who heroically read well past his bedtime without any scorekeeper.

Here are round robin stats and final stats from Ottawa Quizbowl Tournament yesterday. Here are the Canada questions I swapped in for anything that seemed "too American."

Leftover prizes. Prize-winners picked the Koran, Master and
, and Brief History of Time over these.

Monday, 31 October 2016

MacIntro II Recap - Stepping Up to the Buzzer

As teams unpack their buzzers and open up their brains, quizbowl season has begun once again. Early tournaments spring up and offer a fun and competitive environment for highschoolers to see what they have learned and maybe to compare themselves to the competition.

McMaster Introductory Tournament (MacIntro) II

The Scene

As teams slowly made their way up the stairs and onto the second floor of the McMaster University Student Centre, a sense of suspense and intrigue had seemed to permeate the hearts and minds of these quizbowlers that had ventured quite a bit to come here. MacIntro had become larger and appeared more important; the field had almost doubled (from 5 to 9) compared to the previous year, with older teams such as East Scarborough and Waterloo CI, as well newer teams such as Central Richmond Hill and White Oaks joining the fray (there was even a mysterious team from Upstate New York).

As the games started, most teams held their own, but soon a couple teams broke free from the rest. After six games and a bye, Westmount A led the field at 6-0, with Central RH A and East Scarborough nipping at their heels on 5-1 each.

East Scarborough, showing us all how scary they can really be.

Central RH and East Scarborough faced off in round 8, and it seemed like a close game before Scarborough's top player Fayaz got set back with a few negs. That helped CRH's players such as Sherry and Kelvin to capitalize and put the game well out of reach.

Central Richmond Hill won their next round to get up to 7-1. East Scarborough lost their last round to the masked Americans, falling to 5-3. Westmount A, led by star player Tim H., was undefeated at 8-0 and got to play an advantaged final against Central RH.

It seemed like a simple enough task, Westmount must have been thinking; simply win a match and win the tournament. But then in the first final, Sherry started off strong and got 7 tossups for Richmond Hill. Westmount were stunned, 380 to 100, and looked devastated. A second final would be winner-take-all for the tournament.

Central RH coming to support their A team.

The teams parried back and forth, with a few tossups going to either side. Tim got 8 tossups for Westmount, but Richmond Hill's team was consistent and had better bonus conversion. The game was essentially tied before the final tossup.

The question sounded mathematical, and Kelvin buzzed in early with an answer for Richmond Hill. The room went quiet for a moment as the moderator looked down. He then uttered a minus-five as Central RH looked on, despondent, before Westmount waited for the question to finish and answered correctly. After completing their bonuses, Westmount walked away as champions.

Westmount celebrating after winning a tournament.

An Overview

Overall, the teams had fun and people enjoyed the tournament. Except for a courageous C team, everyone averaged over 230 points-per-game and 17 points-per-bonus.

Despite their tough loss in the finals, CRH took it in stride -- Sherry, Kelvin, and Daniel had all played their hearts out and each had scored more than 25 points per game. Joel from White Oaks and Nathan from Waterloo CI were both newcomers who finished with high tossup scores. Fayaz led Scarborough to a comfortable third place position and with 57.5 PPG. While Tim from Westmount was the top scorer with over 70 points per game, their less experienced B team also did well, with Andy leading that team with 50 PPG. F Society played well on the Canadian question sets -- Vivek and Elliot both scored over 50 points per game while representing their New York school.

The scoring numbers at this site were quite strong, even compared to the mighty Lisgar teams at the Ottawa site. Here are the bonus conversions for all teams that played these questions:

Sunday, 2 October 2016

Upcoming High School Quizbowl Schedule

Quizbowl is back for 2016-17 in Ottawa and south Ontario. These tournaments have been arranged and scheduled.

Date Tournament Location Contact
Oct 22, 2016 MacIntro II @ McMaster Hamilton, ON Peter Cordeiro
Oct 22, 2016 Lisgar Novice Ottawa, ON Ruth Crabtree
Dec 3, 2016 12th Ottawa QT Ottawa, ON Brendan McKendy
Dec 3, 2016 Toronto "Novice" Toronto, ON Meghan Torchia

All these tournaments will use Canadian editions of the question sets. The three novice tournaments should be wide-open fields for new or returning players. The OQT in December is likely to be won by Lisgar A but should see good matches between all other teams.

You may also want to see our list of upcoming university quizbowl tournaments in Ontario.

Upcoming University Quizbowl Schedule

ONQBA has a mandate to develop high-school quizbowl. This university schedule is posted purely for the sake of scope creep.

There is a pretty full calendar of university tournaments in Ontario this fall. Please attend these tournaments and win them so foreign schools like McGill don't bring us to shame.

Date Tournament Location Contact
Oct 15, 2016 EFT @ Ottawa Ottawa, ON Chris Johnston
Oct 16, 2016 Side Trash @ Carleton Ottawa, ON Joe Su
Oct 29, 2016 Penn Bowl @ Toronto Toronto, ON Meghan Torchia
Oct 30, 2016 CO Trash @ Toronto Toronto, ON Aaron Dos Remedios
Nov 5, 2016 ACF Fall @ Waterloo Waterloo, ON Isaac Thiessen
Nov 26, 2016 Terrapin @ McMaster Hamilton, ON Mac Quizbowl
Nov 27, 2016 Delta Burke @ McMaster Hamilton, ON Mac Quizbowl

The table above should list all upcoming university or open-level quizbowl tournaments in Ontario. You may also want to see our listing of upcoming high school quizbowl tournaments in Ontario and abroad.

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Announced: SCOP Novice 7 in Ottawa -- Oct. 22
Lisgar Collegiate Institute in Otttawa.

Re-posting Colin's HSQB announcement:

Lisgar in Ottawa, ON will be hosting a mirror of the SCOP Novice 7 set on October 22nd, 2016. We are hoping to welcome new players and perhaps even schools into the Ottawa Quizbowl scene, so don't hesitate to sign up! (We promise to be nice.)

As this is a novice tournament, there will be restrictions on eligibility in order to create an even playing field.
1. All grade 9 and 10 players will be allowed to play.
2. Grade 11 players will be allowed to play if it is their first year playing quizbowl or if they have never achieved a ppg of 20 or higher on a set difficulty IS-A or higher.
3. Grade 12 players will be allowed to play only if it is their first year playing quizbowl.

Our base fee will be $10 per player. Moderator and buzzer discounts TBD, if they are needed. We won't need payment until the day of the tournament.

We do not have a field cap at the moment, so don't hesitate to sign up.

To sign up, don't hesitate to email with your school name and the number of teams.

Hope to see everyone there!

Our note: This tournament will be played on a Canadian edition questions set created by the SCOP organization. This set will also be used at MacIntro.

Announced: MacIntro II in Hamilton -- Oct. 22

The McMaster University Student Centre in Hamilton.

Re-posting Raymond's HSQB announcement:

McMaster is pleased to announce the return of our high school tournament MacIntro on Oct. 22, 2016.

Continuing the tradition of last year, this tournament is intended to be an introduction for new players and teams in the region to the format of Quizbowl. We will be using the SCOP Novice 7 set. We are hoping for at least 5 or 6 teams, obviously the more the merrier.

Location: McMaster University Student Centre (MUSC)

Cost: The base fee for this tournament is set at $40 per team.

Discounts: To lower the costs of potentially cash-strapped teams and to encourage teams to invest in a buzzer system, we are offering a $10 discount per appropriate, working buzzer set (Note: This is a first come first serve discount. If we already have buzzers provided by other teams and do not use the one provided by your school, you are not eligible for the discount). We are also offering a $5 discount per shorthanded player (i.e. if you have a two player team, your team will pay only $30).

Timing: Please arrive at McMaster by 8:45am, we are hoping for a 9:15am start. Depending on the size of the field, the tournament should likely be done by 4pm.

Lunch: Please either pack your own lunch, or bring money to buy lunch on campus. There are numerous options available for food nearby which a McMaster quizbowl member will be happy to direct you towards.

For registration and additional information, please contact the TD, Peter Cordeiro (, myself (, or the McMaster Quizbowl Club ( We hope to see you there!

Our note: This tournament will be played on a Canadian edition questions set created by the SCOP organization. This set will also be used at the SCOP Novice 7 mirror in Ottawa.

Saturday, 30 July 2016

ONQBA Awards for 2015-16

Since the season has long since wrapped up and voting has now completed, the following are our awards for 2015-16. We weighted these mostly towards quizbowl, but we did look at results from other competitive formats.

Powerful school full of ringers.

Best Player -- Sheena Li (Lisgar)

Sheena won the national History Bee this year, but she probably could have won a Bee for most subjects. She led Lisgar through Provincial Champs with 21 powers and only 2 minus-fives.

Also got votes: Jacky Li (Woburn)

Most Improved Player -- Sherry Li (Bayview)

Sherry improved from 1 power at Toronto Novice in December to 9 powers at Provincials in March. She is believed to be good at history and to know all the British monarchs.

Also got votes: Gareth Adamson (Lisgar), Kelly Yu (Bayview)

Best Junior -- Colin Veevers (Lisgar)

Colin is a top player at the "foundation" categories -- general, current events, and geography -- and he's emerged with strong science and math knowledge this year. He also won Lisgar Novice playing solo in the fall.


Community Leader -- Ben Smith

Working with uOttawa and Merivale, Ben founded high school quizbowl in Canada, and he's run tournaments steadily for the last ten years. He's always been thorough, professional, and responsible. In the early years of the ONQBA, he single-handedly ran the organization.

All-Star Ontario First Team

Josh Lane (Lisgar)
Jacky Li (Woburn)
Sheena Li (Lisgar)
Colin Veevers (Lisgar)
Kelly Yu (Bayview)

Also got votes: Aleem Damji (White Oaks), George Lu (Waterloo CI), Thilini Herath (Merivale)

Update: I originally wrote that Ben Smith was associated with Lisgar. Ben has since made clear to me that he has had no official Lisgar connection. This has now been changed.

Saturday, 2 July 2016

All Results 2015-16


Tournament Date Champions 2nd Place Results? Recap?
Lisgar Novice October 17, 2015 Lisgar Colin Colonel By results recap
MacIntro October 24, 2015 Woburn Waterloo CI results
Ottawa QT 11 November 21, 2015 Lisgar Lisgar B results recap
Toronto Novice December 5, 2015 Woburn White Oaks results
Stegosaurus Bowl December 5, 2015 Lisgar Dragons ambiguous results
Ontario Provincials March 26, 2016 Lisgar A Merivale results recap

That's Lisgar winning four tournaments and Woburn winning two -- though they played those events as "East Scarborough."

White Oaks also played at PACE NSC (a U.S. national championship -- results).

History Bee and Bowl

IHBB has a sweet results page, now updated with all their 2016 events. Their Ontario winners were from Colonel By, Lisgar, Merivale, Royal St. George's, and Turnbull. Ontario teams won all the events at their Nationals, and it looks like a Royal St. George's player even won their Montreal bee event.

Reach for the Top

Reach posts most of their results on their Facebook page.

For their Ontario champs, they posted these prelim stats and Joe posted scoreboard photos on his Facebook. Their playoff used the top 10 teams, where Lisgar, London Central, Martingrove, Upper Canada College, and Waterloo CI all won to make top 5. It ended with Martingrove beating Upper Canada College in the finals.

For their nationals, they posted these prelim stats, with Ontario teams #1, 5, and 6 in the standings. From there, the top 12 teams made their playoffs. Martingrove and London Central won top 8 and lost in top 8. Lisgar got a bye to top 8, won to top 4, and then lost their semifinal. The finals were Kennebecasis Valley (NB) beating Eric Hamber (BC).

There were house-reach tournament this season at Lisgar and UTS. I don't think stats or results were posted from those. I'm pretty sure they were won UTS teams or visiting Kennebecasis teams.

See also: our quizbowl results from 2005-14.

Saturday, 21 May 2016

Results from IHBB Nats and Reach Provs

IHBB and Reach for the Top aren't quizbowl, but they're still pretty competitive. Here are some results from their spring 2016 events.

International History Bowl Canadian Championship

Varsity (up to grade 12)
1. Lisgar
2. Bayview
3. UTS
4. Westmount

JV (up to grade 10)
1. UTS
2. Royal St. George
3. Lisgar

International History Bee Canadian Championship

1. Sheena from Lisgar
2. Josh from Lisgar
3. Alec from UTS

1. Ryan from Royal St. George
2. Gareth from UTS
3. Colin from Lisgar

IHBB Canada may post a results page soon. We don't have results yet for their middle school division or from their side-tournaments that weekend.

Reach for the Top Ontario Provincial Championship

Final Standings
1. Martingrove
2. Upper Canada College
3. Lisgar
4. London Central

Prelim Points (in 7 games)
1. Martingrove, 3100
2. Lisgar, 2830
3. Merivale, 2700
4. Upper Canada College, 2530
5. Waterloo CI, 2500
6. Hillfield Strathallan, 2460
7. Woburn, 2430
8. London Central, 2410
9. Centennial, 2330
9. Marc Garneau, 2330

Reach for the Top posted a PDF playoff results sheet showing that all their semifinal and final games were within 60 points. They updated their results live on their Facebook page.

Ben Smith tweeted a sheet ranking this year's Ontario teams against historical top teams. He controlled for PPG, win-loss record, and strength of schedule.

Ben also noted that a team from UTS could very possibly have won Reach provincials this year, if they'd managed to qualify. Reach's regional qualifiers create a bottleneck in the Toronto area, where UTS lost in a single-elimination game. Their results playing in house-reach tournaments this year suggest that they might have been stronger than any team actually at Provincials.

Saturday, 2 April 2016

Highlights from 2016 Provincials

A famous person.
Here's what I saw at quizbowl Provincials last week.

Lit Is Impossible

Teams did worse on lit than every other category. The low point was the two tossups on the same difficult British novelist. The best it got was with the one Canadian Lit question -- Patrick's common-link question on snow, which someone buzzed on a Robertson Davies snowball clue. I heard players predicting several Margaret Atwood questions, but those never arrived.

Every author question went to the end, so at one point, I went crazy and paused a game to endorse a Russian author I like. I hope people in next year's tournaments can buzz on my favourite author, even if they can't buzz on most authors.

(After the match, a player asked if I was an English teacher. I told him I was a bookkeeper. He said I was basically an English teacher, so he might not have known what "bookkeeper" meant. Bookkeepers can like literature sometimes!)

Jacky Li

Jacky from East Scarborough is somewhat well-known in Ontario for being obsessed with quizbowl. After last weekend, he clearly has every right to be obsessed with quizbowl. He powered a lot of history and current / general questions, leading the field in scoring. He also led his team to a very close loss against Lisgar -- that match went down to the final tossup, but Lisgar still won on an American lit buzz.

Jacky was also visibly invested in the games, celebrating or groaning depending how the questions broke. His aggressive play also won him the prize for most wrong answers, which was a plaque celebrating the 2004 Toronto Maple Leafs. Jacky said he couldn't take the plaque on TTC, so I got to keep the plaque and bring it back to Ottawa. I promise I will take good care of it.

A memento of the Kaberle / Belak era.


Merivale beat Lisgar! They are the only Canadian team to win a match against Lisgar A this year. The Merivale core are quizbowl enthusiasts, and they're all really good players by now. It was nice to see them beat Lisgar after having to grind tough matches against Lisgar all year in Ottawa tournaments.

Thilini 30'ed a bunch of lit bonuses, in a field where most teams sucked at lit. Joe claimed that Swagat always beat the Lisgar players at science. Ivan and Nathan were also buzzing early.

Merivale also revealed that they'd travelled to the event without parents, staying at a bed-and-breakfast that didn't check their ages. I hope for them that their parents were in on this plan, and I hope for myself that ONQBA could never be considered their legal guardians.

The best part of the tournament happened in a Merivale-Bayview match. Thilini got a tossup where the answer was something dirty, and then her teammates tried to high-five her but she refused. She complained that the question was too gross to celebrate.

A complaint

This man is not a bus!
Merivale knowingly travelled alone to the tournament and planned their trip. But another team travelled to the tournament in two cars, and then they were informed in the morning that they had only one car back.

This is, literally, a case where a coach drove minors to Toronto and then just abandoned them there. No one should ever do this. It would have been better to cancel the team that morning.

Aaron DR was the only staffer with a car, so he had to drive the players home himself. This cost him for gas, wear and tear on the car, and 2-3 hours of a trip out of town that he was forced into making. Without Aaron, I don't know if the players had the money or knowledge to coordinate their own (unsupervised) trip home.

Population of Heaven

I mistakenly told teams that Protestants think 144,000 people will go to heaven. I looked this up and I'm wrong -- the 144,000 quota is what Jehovah's Witnesses believe. (The number 144,000 is mentioned in Revelation -- 12,000 people descending from each of the 12 tribes of Israel.) Early Protestants believed that you were predestined into heaven or hell at birth, but they did not believe in a fixed population of heaven.

Exhibition Game

The low bracket was scheduled for a full 14 rounds, but players were tired late in the day and the Waterloo team dropped early. For a game between the two Westmount teams, half the players just took a break outside, and the other half tried to mount an exhibition game in my room. Before it fell apart, the game consisted mostly of Emaan answering history questions -- I was impressed when he knew who William Van Horne was.

By the end of the "round," Peter had joined the game as his own team, and we'd only got through about eight tossups and no bonuses.

Canada Questions

The great Patrick directed the tournament and made the Canadian edition of the question sets. He used some of my writing for this.

I wrote a history tossup on Gordie Howe for the tournament, claiming that he'd crossed over from pop culture into "cultural history." Patrick did not fall for this against -- he turned it into a "name three Howes" bonus, asking for Gordie Howe and two historical politicians. I would have liked to see him ask for Gordie Howe, Mark Howe, and Marty Howe.

Teams whiffed on Patrick's long hockey bonus. One part of the bonus celebrated the great Ottawa Senators for their ability to score short-handed goals. Another part ended with the phrase "name all three teams." On another hockey question, one team guessed "Steven Crosby."

Patrick wrote a tossup on Alberta with clues about Eddie the Eagle -- a British ski jumper who got mock-famous for how much he sucked at the Calgary Olympics. As it happened, there were posters and TV commercials around Canada for an Eddie the Eagle movie last week, so players all recognized him but couldn't buzz with a province. Lisgar buzzed on the next clue about Moraine Lake, before we got to the clues about the Jamaican bobsled team.

Someone got my George Brown tossup really early. The South-Ontario players were strong on Patrick's question about museums in Ottawa.

Lisgar Wins

Lisgar won the tournament.

Lisgar showed up as heavy favourites (going by some past results and their spot in the HSQB rankings). They lost one match all day, and their 21.92 PPB was a full 3.53 ahead of the field. (This is, Lisgar converted 73% of their bonus parts, and the next-highest team got only 61%.) Lisgar has now come 4th in Ithaca and won all their other tournaments this year.

A Lisgar team has now won Provincials in 5 of the 7 years it's been held. We're grateful that two Lisgar coaches were able to bring a strong team this weekend, but they have ruined the what-if scenario!-- who would have won Provincials if Lisgar couldn't attend? Bayview had 50 powers and had a strong B team. East Scarborough might have had the strongest player in the field. Merivale swept the top-bracket playoffs. White Oaks played without their top player and still managed a winning record.

Some players smiling in gratitude to their chaperones.

Heroic Staff
- Patrick ran the tournament, which means he did hours of prep to book the venue and prizes, coordinate the teams and staff, and fix up the question set. He also did all the announcements and made sweet nametags for the readers and scorekeepers.
- Rick, Anthony, Jay, Britney, Peter, Isaac, and Nick all staffed the tournament and did a great job. (I think they got through more questions than I did most rounds.)
- Aaron staffed the tournament and also hosted Patrick and me for the weekend. He is a great friend, even though he made me watch Fear Factor.
- Joe made the schedules, printed the questions, and did a lot of control room work. Joe's family also drove Patrick and me to Toronto last weekend.
- A number of coaches and parents drove and chaperoned the teams and even watched all the games.

This gets me through any door anywhere.

Other Highlights
- Chinese players missed some points because I tried too hard to pronounce the Chinese names in the questions.
- Teams correctly answered all bonus parts that asked for equations or formulas. Those are awkward to read and awkward to answer, but they're math and science questions that map well to classroom learning. I was glad to see that the players were good at those.
- Two strong teams missed a tossup on a very famous concept from Judaism.
- A player buzzed a clue about the US Federal Reserve.
- Westmount players first-lined a comp-sci tossup and a tossup on a very bad musical.
- Players earnestly attempted to answer the Civil War questions that we had failed to replace.
- A grade-nine player won a giant buzzer race on a TV character.
- Players all knew everything about gay rights history.
- One bonus part asked "how many hours per day" and the team guessed "40 hours."
- Teams did well on the classic music and opera all day, but the White Oaks coach was amazed when none of his players knew about classic rock.

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

ONQBA Provincials Reminder

The Ontario Quizbowl Association would like to remind everyone that in just over a month, we plan to host the 2016 ONQBA Provincial Championship. It will take place at the University of Toronto, St. George Campus in Sidney Smith Hall (100 George Street, Toronto, ON) on Saturday, March 26th, 2016. Teams that participate in this tournament have the opportunity to qualify for the NAQT High School National Championship Tournament (HSNCT) and the PACE National Scholastic Championship (NSC).

Teams from Ontario are welcome and encouraged to attend. Many different discounts are available to teams, including new participation discounts to encourage more activity in the high school circuit. No prior qualification or experience is necessary, although it is recommended that teams have played on quizbowl packets before and are familiar with NAQT rules. More information regarding this event, including how to sign-up, and additional details about the costs and discounts available can be found here. The following list shows the teams that have officially registered.

Current Field

Bayview A
Bayview B
"East Scarborough"
Waterloo Collegiate Institute
Westmount A
Westmount B
White Oaks

Interested Schools (That Have Not Registered)

Bloor Collegiate Institute
Dr. Norman Bethune Collegiate Institute
Notre Dame
Toronto Montessori School