Canadian History Bee & Bowl

For when players are stuck in the past.

Four regional tournaments are being played today for the Canadian division of the International History Bee & Bowl. Edmonton, Ottawa, Toronto, and Vancouver all have events today, with Montreal and Saint John scheduled later.

The IHBB is the international branch of History Bee & Bowl in the US. It was established by former Jeopardy! champion David Madden, and holds competitions in several countries. The Canadian regional sites lead to a national championship (held in Montreal for 2017), and many top participants qualify for a History Olympiad in the summer.

The team event is the History Bowl. Two teams face off to compete in a four-round game. Three of the rounds are variations on quizbowl’s tossups. The third round is a unique lightning round where each team selects a category they prefer, then get exclusive access to answer as many snapper-style questions (up to 10) that they can in one minute.

The individual event is the History Bee. Usually, 4-8 players compete on the same buzzer set, with multiple rooms occurring simultaneously to accommodate everyone. Everyone competes individually to answer from 30 multi-clue tossups worth one point each. If a player reaches 8 points, they step aside (“shootout” style) and get some bonus points based on how quickly they reached 8 points. The preliminary phase usually has several rounds, with players shuffling between rooms to vary the competition, and the players with the highest combined point totals proceed to playoff games.

Canadian History Bowl has hit off best in the GTA, bringing in the biggest fields and attracting teams that don’t even play SchoolReach or quizbowl. Other cities still struggle for attendance, but get by.

For today, Lisgar should win the senior division in Ottawa. They will probably also get the JV title, but few teams are competing for it. Toronto will be a clash between UTS, Royal St. George’s, and Westmount. I will respect player anonymity, but the Toronto Bee will likely preview two top contenders for the 2018 Reach for the Top national title.

Good luck to the participating teams!

Disclosure: I received money from IHBB for tournament directing services in 2015. I no longer participate in IHBB events.

Reach Scores Audio #6

2017 Lisgar tournament, Lisgar B vs Glebe

Everyone talks about playing when the chips are down, but what about when they are up… at your mouth? From the 2017 Lisgar Reach-style tournament, this round 6 match has Lisgar CI “B” against Glebe CI. Moderating and production by Ben Smith.

Here is the link to the episode.

Notes:

  • A pretty sloppy round, production wise. The buzzer reset button was definitely on the fritz, everyone (except me) was eating from crinkly bags of chips, and I was slowing down through a combination of sleepiness and anticipating lunch.
  • The team question about movie remakes was poorly worded. Michelle Pfeiffer played Catwoman in Batman Returns, for example. The answers were implying the common character, but the questions were looking for a film title.
  • I’m no birthstone expert, but to clarify the error that was raised: February’s stone (the question) is amethyst; garnet (the answer on paper) is for January. Neither team answered any combination of those, though, so the score wasn’t affected.
  • Dunkirk is at 51° N. Saint Boniface (Winnipeg) is at 50°N. I guess Dunkirk is a more northerly francophone city. It is also more northerly than Hearst and Sept-Iles.

Thanks for listening!

Reach Scores Audio #5

2017 Lisgar tournament, UTS vs Merivale

From the 2017 Lisgar Reach-style tournament, this round 5 match has University of Toronto Schools against Merivale HS. Moderating and production by Ben Smith.

Here is the link to the episode.

Notes:

  • Bad phrasing in the 20-point special and a Harry Potter question. Thankfully, no team got hosed (possibly because they could detect something was up from my preemptive hesitation). Both questions started by suggesting a list, then naming a few items and requiring the player to answer the rest. If anyone buzzed and gave the (arbitrarily-chosen) answers already listed in the question, they would be burned. This practice is unnecessary in trivia and is either sloppy writing, a nefarious attempt to penalize strong teams, or both. Both questions needed a re-phrasing.

Thanks for listening!

Reach Scores Audio #4

2017 Lisgar tournament, Colonel By vs Merivale

Squeezed this one in today. From the 2017 Lisgar Reach-style tournament, this round 4 match has Colonel By SS against Merivale HS. Moderating and production by Ben Smith.

Here is the link to the episode.

Notes:

  • Unfortunately, a fair bit of dead air in this episode, through a combination of counting down time, doing my own scorekeeping, and having sleepiness start to kick in. The last “what am I?” took one and a half minutes (partly due to clarifying what was sought)!
  • In case the sarcasm wasn’t obvious, I am not a fan of J.M.W. Turner’s works. The frequent use of clouds and coloured skies don’t appeal to me, but it makes him famous, such as in Rain, Steam and Speed.

Thanks for listening!

Reach Scores Audio #3

2017 Lisgar tournament, Almonte vs UTS

Now with extra page-turning noises! From the 2017 Lisgar Reach-style tournament, this round 3 match has Almonte DHS against UTS. Moderating and production by Ben Smith.

Here is the link to the episode.

Notes:

  • Once again, I don’t think anything was left unresolved after the game. Makes the write-up easier.
  • In this round, I started noticing that the reset button on my buzzer system was causing trouble. At this point, I still had the box resting on a sweater (to muffle the speaker), so I assumed the fabric was absorbing the force of the button press. Not the case – it will get worse as the day goes on.

Thanks for listening!

Reach Scores Audio #2

2017 Lisgar tournament, Glebe vs LCI A

Another day, another recording! From the 2017 Lisgar Reach-style tournament, this round 2 match has Glebe CI against Lisgar CI “A”. Moderating and production by Ben Smith.

Here is the link to the episode.

Notes:

  • This was fairly straightforward, editing-wise. No post-production clarifying of questions.
  • It becomes noticeable in this round, and will happen more later on: I give 5 seconds of time via the display of opening my fingers one at a time. Silent gaps with “clicking” will appear, and I can’t cut audio very well.
  • Apparently I count out loud when tallying scores.

Thanks for listening!

Reach Scores Audio #1

2017 Lisgar tournament, KVHS vs LCI B

The first “episode” of Reach Scores Audio is up! From the 2017 Lisgar Reach-style tournament, this round 1 match pits Kennebecasis Valley HS against Lisgar CI “B”. Moderating and audio production by me, Ben Smith.

Here is the link to the episode.

Notes:

  • The game room was a high-ceiling science lab. There was significant echo, but normalizing the audio helped, especially for the buzzer tone.
  • Hector Berlioz’ symphonies are not often referred to by number. Symphonie Fantastique is his first, anyway.
  • The Himalaya and Karakoram are, indeed, separate ranges. The name “K2” came about from being the second surveyed peak in the Karakoram.

Thanks for listening! The remaining rounds will be uploaded as quickly as I can finish them (hopefully by the end of the week).