was an American tradition for more than 50 years: two teams of four players each, who are read a toss-up question which anyone could answer alternating with a bonus question which only the team which got the toss-up question could answer. It was officially cancelled in 2008, due to a variety of factors. A strange new format dominates its successors: pyramidal quiz bowl.
I link to a lot of packet archives here: all the ftp-looking folders with numbered .doc or .pdf files are packets of questions, and are filled with same.
The term Quiz Bowl encompasses a variety of activities which have in common a lockout buzzer system which is used to answer questions about things: these things can be as narrow as the video games of the VAIN
video game tournament and as broad as the generality of the Academic Competition Federation Regional
s and Nationals
. There are slightly frightening middle school tournaments
and the frankly terrifying Chicago Open
. Usually, a round is played for 20 questions or 30 minutes, depending on the format of the tournament: the tournament then goes on all day.
The successors of the College Bowl include the Academic Competition Federation
and the National Academic Quiz Tournaments, LLC
, which is notable for also hosting competitions at the pre-college level. Some random man named Ken Jennings occasionally edits literature and mythology questions and occasionally reads questions to high-schoolers for them
. For high schoolers only are the High School Academic Pyramid Questions
. A sea-change in philosophy occurred during the change to "good" quizbowl: in addition to making you look smart by answering the questions, some thought began to go into making questions answerable and edifying.
(Nearly) every toss-up question in every one of those tournaments is pyramidal, meaning that they are designed to be interrupted mid-question by an answer. In deference to the differing abilities and knowledge of the participants, the clues inside the questions go from hard to easy, hence the name pyramidal. For example:
There were eight British soldiers not a casualty in this battle, out of fourteen hundred and eight. One side in this conflict was led to believe that the other side was fortifying Dusseldorf. Oscar Koch, however, correctly predicted a vast new offensive. In Operation Greif, Otto Skorzeny would cause confusion in Allied lines, and the command would be shifted from the Wolf’s Head to the Eagle’s Nest, along with Hitler. The Wehrmacht’s name for it was Watch on the Rhine and it was named for the shape it made in Allied defenses. FTP, name this German counteroffensive involving a siege in Bastogne.
ANSWER: Battle of the Bulge, accept Ardennes-Alsace Offensive, or the Von Runstedt offensive
The intended effect is to satisfy the trivia nut and the self-esteem-lacking dilettante alike and yet to differentiate people based on skill: skill at learning and skill at the game of quizbowl itself, a canon learned from by reading the packets of questions themselves.
All fields of human knowledge goes in most tournaments, pop culture (lovingly called "trash") sometimes included. And sometimes, tournaments are just about trash
. There's a wiki
. There's specialized statistics software
And if you do not care a whit about any of this, it may just be nice to know that such large amounts of information are stored so lovingly
in question form.