January and February 2021 tournaments: report

January saw two very different Zoom tournaments take place, the Winter Novice tournament, and the ACF Regionals, one of the hardest events which UKQB will run this year. In addition to the hotly anticipated and much lauded Cambridge and Oxford Open Tournament on February 13th, Oxford Brookes also hosted the Last Chance Saloon on 20th February that confirmed the lineup for BSQC 2021, which we will preview shortly.

Oxford hosted Winter Novice (a Briticised mirror of IO Saturnalia) on the 23rd of January, which was particularly notable for having multiple universities entering a team for the first time. We were excited to welcome neighbouring Aston and Birmingham, as well as Huddersfield and York. This also saw several University Challenge teams try their hands at quizbowl, such as London rivals UCL and Imperial who won one match against each other throughout the day. However, it was a tense 310–270 win for Warwick A (Ben Lock, Aidan Tee, Thomas Hart and Gerad Carter) in their final against Glasgow A which saw them remain undefeated to win the tournament. We hope to see many of these teams at future events and will be running a second novice event at the end of the term. Full statistics can be found here, but particular congratulations go to the following who all broke 65 points per game (ppg) in their first tournament: Eoin O’Reilly (York), Conrad Freison (Warwick B) and Felix Roberts (Imperial B).

A week after Winter Novice saw Imperial host one of the season’s harder tournaments, ACF Regionals, notable for including more difficult answerlines in many games and having much more of a focus on American content. An unexpected upside to all quizbowl tournaments being on Zoom was that Oxford and Cambridge A were both invited to the inaugural invitation-only run of this tournament against some of the US’s top teams, and both held their own against other incredibly strong teams. In the UK Mirror, Southampton A faced Oxford A in the final, having lost to them 355–250 earlier in the day. That tense game saw a strong fight back for Southampton A following a storming Oxford A start, and ended 255–295, meaning that Oxford A, consisting of Seoan Webb, Alex Gunasekera, Laura Cooper and Freddy Leo went undefeated throughout the day. The day also saw strong performances for Oxford B and Edinburgh, while Cambridge A triumphed in the lower bracket. Congratulations to Evan Lynch for a combined 101.25 ppg, with Nicholas Winter of Edinburgh A and Seoan Webb claiming second and third respectively, both scoring over 45 ppg.

In contrast to the very American ACF set, the Cambridge and Oxford Open Tournament focused much more on in-depth British content. The perks of it being a “housewrite” of current and former Oxford and Cambridge quizzers, head edited by Joseph Krol and Oli Clarke, allowed for really interesting questions on current affairs and films in particular. Being an Open tournament, this event attracted some of the finest quizzers in the country, including top Quiz League of London teams Pericardium and Broken Hearts. Two top brackets saw an American team playing at ridiculous hours beat Joey Goldman’s Sunn O-O-O))), while the aforementioned Broken Hearts lost their semifinal to quizbowl stalwarts George Charlson, Evan Lynch, Claire Jones and Frances Clark-Murray. Despite being down their best player in the final, it was the American team of Reverse Beatles that took the final by 330 to 285. Richard Freeland, Edmund Dickinson, Evan Lynch, Iain Thoms and Joey Goldman were the top five individual scorers.

At the previously mentioned ACF Regionals, it was the turn of Cambridge B and C, Oxford Brookes and Warwick B to qualify for BSQC, leaving 4 places (and the wildcards) available from the mirror of the US Southeast–Midwest Housewrite known as Last Chance Saloon, which was also the first major quizbowl tournament for the newly formed Strathclyde Quiz Society. A brutal afternoon draw in the two winners brackets saw the powerhouses of Southampton A and Cambridge A fight for a place in the final, with three powers for Ethan Lyon making all the difference to secure an agonising 370–365 victory for Southampton, where they would face Imperial A. In what was described as “one of the biggest quizbowl upsets in UK Quizbowl history”, a run of questions in Imperial A’s favour saw their 115–215 half time score turn to a 385–270 win for the team of Felix Roberts, Enoch Yuen, Michael Kohn and Richard Brooks. Evan Lynch took home an astonishing 113 ppg, followed closely by Joseph Krol of Cambridge A on 109, with Andrew Rout (Warwick A), Alex Hardwick (Brox) and Vitalijs Brejevs (Glasgow A) rounding out the top five individuals. Strong performances from the new University Challenge teams of UCL, Imperial B and York, in addition to a strong Warwick C side saw them take the final qualification places for BSQC 2021.

We are also pleased to announce that the wildcard allocations for BSQC were as follows: Birmingham, Queen Mary University of London, Glasgow B and Manchester. Look out for a blog post previewing the teams coming soon…

UK Quizbowl

Student buzzer quiz tournaments in the UK.