Saturday, 17th October 2020 saw the first major tournament of the 2020–21 student quizbowl season, with a mammoth 24 teams piling into a Zoom lobby to duke it out for ACF Fall, the first of four tournaments this season written by the US’s Academic Competition Federation, and ‘Briticised’ by many experienced British quizbowlers.
The question set is historically intended to introduce newer players to the style of quizbowl questions, and it was terrific to see so many new faces turn out even though university society recruitment has been heavily impacted by the ongoing pandemic.
The teams were divided into four preliminary groups of six teams each, and then into six brackets of four based on their performance in the morning. The A teams for Southampton, Oxford and Warwick remained undefeated through the morning session and advanced into the top bracket, along with Glasgow, whose narrow 200–190 loss to Oxford D upset their win streak in their bracket.
The afternoon saw Oxford A defeat all three opponents in the top bracket for a perfect 8-0 record, before dispatching Southampton A 395-205 in the first finals game to quash hopes of a comeback from the latter. Elsewhere, Warwick defeated Glasgow to take third place; UCL swept their afternoon bracket to finish fifth, and Imperial A pulled out a 325–310 victory to upset Cambridge in the sixth-place playoff.
The final standings, as well as more detailed statistics can be found here.
Congratulations again to Oxford A (Ali Izzatdust, Jonas Hackney-Davies, Alexander Gunasekera and Peter Devlin) for a commanding win, and on the individual side, congratulations to Koshiro Kiso (UCL) for top-scoring with 73.89 points-per-game, and to Andre Wong (Yale-NUS, 68.89 PPG), Niall Karunaratne (Edinburgh B, 66.43 PPG), Ned Williams (Southampton B, 51.11 PPG) and Andrew Corsini (Oxford Brookes C, 50.56 PPG) for also breaking the 50-point barrier.
Huge thanks to Frances Clark-Murray for serving as tournament director, and to the team of moderators who turned out through the day and kept the day running very much on schedule. Thanks also to the team of writers who worked hard to Briticise the question set in a short timeframe: James Carrigy, George Charlson, Oli Clarke, Andrew Frazer, Alex Hardwick, Theo Howe, Joseph Krol, and Ben Russell Jones. Special thanks to Alex, who wrote and edited the literature questions for the whole tournament alongside this.
The following week saw many of the UK’s top quizbowlers waking up early and logging onto Zoom for an intense day in the first of the four qualifying tournaments for BSQC, Will Alston’s IKEA (standing for In-depth Knowledge Excellent Answerlines) tournament. This was the first regular-minus difficulty tournament, and was this year hosted by Imperial College London who provided many of the moderators. An Open version of this tournament for non-university students had been played back in September, with the Broken Hearts team of Mark Grant, Ian Bayley, Tris Cole and Samuel Cook winning in a tough field.
The morning saw teams in three brackets named after the Legendary pokemon Articuno, Zapdos and Moltres, with Cambridge A, Southampton A and Oxford A all being undefeated in their respective brackets, though the first game saw Evan Lynch’s Southampton A team face a tiebreak in a game against the Oxford C team. Yet another upset came in the morning when stalwart quizzers on the Oxford B team saw a large lead crumble in the final few tossups to lose 245–275 against Oxford D, ensuring both teams would end up in the middle bracket in the afternoon.
After a rebracketing into a top, middle and bottom bracket of six teams named after Azumarill, Blissey and Charizard, Southampton B edged out the bottom bracket to finish a narrow first, while Oxford B rediscovered their groove to win the middle bracket 5–0, although Imperial gave them a close game at 265–225. The top bracket of Edinburgh, Oxford C and A, Cambridge A, Warwick A and Southampton A saw fierce game, with Oxford A prevailing over Cambridge A 270–255 and over the rest of a strong field with a 5–0 record.
This took Oxford A into an advantaged final against Cambridge A. A perhaps vaguely worded question had a protest upheld in Oxford’s favour, and saw a replacement question act as a tiebreaker, with Cambridge taking it too, ensuring a second final match. In an incredibly close final, Oli Clarke’s fast buzzing and four powers saw Cambridge’s narrow win the previous game become a narrow loss by the smallest of margins, seeing Oxford A take the tournament by 300 points to Cambridge A’s 295. Congratulations to Oli Clarke, Seoan Webb, Alex Hardwick and Alex Peplow on their win.
This tournament also saw strong performances from Warwick A, Edinburgh, Oxford C and Glasgow, who all qualify for BSQC this year. Congratulations also to the top six individual scorers who broke 50 points per game Joseph Krol (on 94.58 PPG), followed by Evan Lynch (91.5), Vitalijs Brejevs (64.8), Oli Clarke (54.17), Freddy Leo (52.5) and Dom Belcher (50.5). The full stats from the day are available here.
Many thanks to Conor McMeel at Imperial for acting as the tournament director and helping things run smoothly, and to all those who helped moderate. We at UKQB hope everyone had a great day, and we hope to see you at more of our events this year!