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Saturday, June 30, 2007

Ninth annual


Fifth annual













It's over! See the results page for details.

The Vancouver Estival Trivia Open (VETO) is the nation's longest-running annual quiz bowl tournament. There will again be a mirror in Toronto, and a championship match between the site winners. This web page will be kept up to date with the most current information.

June 28:   In Vancouver, we're planning a double round-robin, and on Saturday morning we'll meet at 9:00 a.m. in room 1510 at Harbour Centre.

June 27:   Final list of teams. There will be 5 teams in Vancouver, supplying 3 packets. There will be 7 teams in Toronto, supplying 7 packets.

June 21:   More clarification of the list of teams, with a second team from UWO. So far, in Vancouver expect 5-6 teams with 3-5 packets, and in Toronto expect 7-8 teams with 7-9 packets.

June 18:   The initial deadline has passed. The initial list of teams is up. So far, in Vancouver expect 5-6 teams with 3-5 packets, and in Toronto expect 6-7 teams with 6-8 packets.

June 6:   The Toronto location has moved. It will be at the the Bahen Centre for Information Technology, which is about one block away from the originally announced location of Sidney Smith Hall.

Also check out the VETO weblog at http://veto.caql.org

VETO will be run "guerrilla" style, meaning:

Since there are two sites, every team must e-mail its packet to some assigned counterpart at the other site a couple of days before the tournament. Some teams will also be asked to bring copies of packets to be received through e-mail from the other site.

See the CAQL results page for links to full reports on previous VETOs and their mirrors in Ontario.

Who can play

VETO is an "open" tournament in the sense that we don't exclude anyone because of age, student status, degrees obtained or not obtained, nationality, etc.

However, recognizing that people come to VETO with vastly different levels of experience, we'd like to give priority to those who have a history of providing good questions in the tossup/bonus format.

So instead of accepting teams on a "first come, first served" basis until space fills up, this is what we'll do:

Don't feel intimidated by this application/invitation procedure. The point is to make sure that the people who will be writing the questions for VETO have experience writing questions. This is important because it's a guerrilla tournament, and nobody will be editing (except the people who wrote each packet). As for how high our standards are: the vast majority of the packets in the Stanford Archive would meet our criteria for acceptance.

Even if your team doesn't write questions, we expect you to have enough familiarity with the quiz bowl format to be able to staff games during your bye rounds.

A team can have any number of players, but no more than four can play at a time. If you don't have a full team of four, we can match you up with other players. Solo teams are OK, too: we'll set the schedule so that other teams will have byes and you won't have to staff more than one room by yourself.

In VANCOUVER, the size of the field is capped at 8 teams, but a ninth team may be possible if it has players to rotate into staffing duties in every round. We'll post more details on how a 9th team will need to work if we appear close to reaching our cap.

In TORONTO, the size of the field is capped at 12 teams.


VANCOUVER: no charge to any team.

TORONTO: $20 per team that brings an original packet, or $40 if no packet.


VANCOUVER teams as of June 27:
  1. FARSIDE (VETO champions in 1999, 2000, 2001):   Peter (2 packets)
  2. SFU Junta (VETO champions in 2002):   Carlos, Hanson, Mike, ... (no packet)
  3. UBC (VETO champions in 2004, 2005):   Mike, ... (1 packet)
  4. UBC Pseudo (VETO champions in 2006):   Daniel, Brendan, Robert, Maggie (no packet)
  5. JMTR:   Joanne, Mischa, Tara, Ross (no packet)
TORONTO teams as of June 27:
  1. Toronto 1:   Eric, Jason, Chris, Anirudh (1 packet)
  2. Toronto 2:   Rick "The Rhino", Jessica, Lev, Tim (1 packet)
  3. Toronto 3:   John, Steven, Bobby (1 packet)
  4. Consolation prize for furthest-traveled team: Ben, Tamara, Shauna, Jordan (2 packets)
  5. UWO 1:   Raffi, Dilini, Gary (1 packet, shared with UWO 2)
  6. UWO 2:   Shimi, Bryant, Natalia (1 packet, shared with UWO 1)
  7. B2B: Brock, Bruce, Zhan, ... (1 packet)


Saturday, June 30, 2007, starting at 9:00 a.m. local time at both sites, and ending around 6 p.m. After both sites are finished, there will be a Trans-Canada Championship Match on a packet by Andy Saunders, read by Patrick Kachurek.

June 30 is, of course, the day before Canada Day, which is on a Sunday this year; most Canadians get Monday off work.

VETO will be on the same day as the unrelated Sun n' Fun VIII and a 1/2 tournament at the University of South Florida in Tampa, and also the NAQT HSNCT mirror at the University of Maryland in College Park.

Here is how VETO fits into the North American summer quiz calendar:

If you would like to participate in VETO, please notify us by June 16, 2007: that is, two weeks before the tournament.

VANCOUVER location

In the heart of downtown Vancouver, B.C., Canada: Simon Fraser University at Harbour Centre, 515 West Hastings St., in room 1510. This attractive, intelligent, and extremely convenient location is directly across the street from the Waterfront SkyTrain station, the SeaBus terminal, and, for those who really want to arrive in style on a Sikorsky S-76, the Harbour Heliport.

By road, using Yahoo!'s directions but more realistic (longer) times, Vancouver is about:
3 hours from Seattle;
9 hours from Eugene, Oregon;
18 hours from Berkeley, California;
24 hours from Los Angeles, California, or Las Vegas, Nevada;
39 hours from Tulsa, Oklahoma, or Chicago;
60 hours from Fairbanks.
All-day parking on Saturday runs up to about $5 at Harbour Centre.

Vancouver International Airport is a premier global gateway served by more than 40 airlines with scheduled direct flights from 31 communities in British Columbia, another 33 locations elsewhere in North America, 12 cities in Asia/Pacific, and 3 cities in Europe.

Devotees of Southwest Airlines or JetBlue may prefer to fly to Seattle/Tacoma and then take the Quick Shuttle or rent a car. Non-residents of Canada should have no problem driving an American rental car across the border, but Canadian residents aren't allowed to do this. Also keep in mind that even if it's cheaper to fly to Sea-Tac, if you factor in the time and money you spend on the 3—4 hours ground transportation each way, it may work out to be more worthwhile to take Air Canada or WestJet or another airline directly to Vancouver.

Take a QuickTime Virtual Reality tour of actual VETO 2007 game room 1510!

For lunch, you won't even have to leave the building. The Harbour Centre Food Court downstairs contains A & W, Amazing Wok, Arabella Mediterranean Cuisine, Bali Thai, Bronco Belle, Carmelo Pastry Café, Cinnamon City, Curry Express, Fusion Wraps & Yogurt, Harbour Deli, Kamakura Japanese food, L'Orange Eurodog, Little Japan, Mr. Spud, Orange Julius, Phoenix Dim Sum, Quizno's, Salad Loop, Soupspoons, and Vana Vietnamese Cuisine. At the same level there are a Pharmasave drugstore with a full-service post office, and shops selling books, clothes, flowers, etc.

See below for other stuff to do in Vancouver, and places to stay.

TORONTO location

VETO's Eastern Trivia Open will be held at the Bahen Centre for Information Technology (40 St. George St, immediately south of Russell St.) at the University of Toronto's downtown St. George campus. It is easily accessible from West of the city (Gardiner Expressway, exit at Spadina) or East/West on the 401 (exit at Avenue Road). On-campus parking is available either at the Rotman Building (second driveway north of Harbord St.) or along St. George, though many off-campus and nearby alternatives are possible. Located in the downtown core of Canada's largest city, the Bahen Centre is surrounded by Bloor, Spadina, and College Streets, all of which offer food and shopping for every taste and a wealth of other attractions. A quick drive to either Yonge or Queen St. W will yield more popular stops and diverse cuisine. For any additional directions or details contact the site coordinator.


VETO will be run "guerrilla" style (term coined by Caltech), without central editing and will be staffed by players. We'll play at least a full round-robin, as many rounds as packets from the two sites, likely ending in a site final (which some may consider an unfair format).

Games will be conducted according to NAQT rules, except that:

It is to your advantage to print out and bring a copy of the rules. If some discrepancy occurred in a game and you want to protest it, it's a lot easier to convince a judge if you can point at the text that justifies your case, rather than to point into the air and say "I think the rules say..."

In Vancouver, plans are to have a double round-robin. Here is the tentative schedule (thanks, Daniel):

First round-robin:
  1500          1520        Bye    Packet
---------     ---------     ----   ------
FRSD-Pseu     JMTR-SFUJ     UBC.   UBC
UBC.-SFUJ     FRSD-JMTR     Pseu   B2B
FRSD-SFUJ     UBC.-Pseu     JMTR   UT 1 (Eric)
Pseu-JMTR     FRSD-UBC.     SFUJ   Jordan

Second round-robin:
  1500          1520        Bye    Packet
---------     ---------     ----   ------
FRSD-SFUJ     Pseu-JMTR     UBC.   UWO
FRSD-JMTR     UBC.-SFUJ     Pseu   UT 3 (Bobby)
Pseu-SFUJ     FRSD-UBC.     JMTR   UT 2 (Rico)
UBC.-JMTR     FRSD-Pseu     SFUJ   Ben
SFU Junta will supply a moderator during FARSIDE's byes. Since the round-robin uses all ten packets, we won't have any left for playoffs.

What follows is no longer valid for the Vancouver site, unless something unforeseen happens and we can't do a double round-robin.

After the round-robin, the teams will be ranked on their performance, first by win-loss record, and in the case of a tied win-loss record, then by average normalized points per game (ANPPG). ANPPG is computed as follows: In each round, find the mean total score of all games played during that round. Then, for every team in every game in every round, compute the normalized score by dividing the actual score by the mean total score in the round. A team's ANPPG is the mean of the normalized scores over all of the games it played.

The top two teams will advance to the finals, which will consist of one or two rounds. This will be a best-of-three series in which the round-robin game between the two teams will count retroactively as the first game of the series. These rounds will be played on packets from the other site.

Question Packets

Detailed question guidelines are on a separate web page, which includes a section with useful links categorized by subject.

Rounds will be untimed, with 20 tossups played in each. But you will have to write more than 20 tossups and 20 bonuses, because:

So your packet should include (at least): Use the following subject distribution for both tossups and bonuses:
Science, Math, Technology 3 — 4
History 3 — 4
Literature 3 — 4
Geography 2 — 3
Current Events 2 — 3
Fine Arts 1 — 2
Religion, Philosophy, Mythology      1 — 2
Social Science 1 — 2
Popular Culture, Games, Sports 1 — 2
General Knowledge 0 — 3

Canadian content quota:
Of the first 20 tossups, at least 4 must refer to Canadian people, places, things, events, and created works. The same goes for the first 20 bonuses. But overall, don't exceed 50% Canadian content in your packet. Your Canadian questions should also cover diverse subject areas and not be clustered in Geography or Literature, etc.

Tossups should include at least two separate clues, preferably at least four. Multiple-choice bonuses should be used sparingly, if at all, and should provide at least four choices.

In order that we can keep to a reasonable schedule, questions must not be too long:

To promote fun and variety, teams are encouraged to bring multimedia questions (visual, auditory, tactile, olfactory, gustatory). These tend to work better as bonuses than as tossups. In Vancouver, cassette tape players will be available for auditory questions in every room. Every packet must contain at least one multimedia question: It can be as simple as presenting a printout of a picture you found through http://images.google.com and asking a few questions about the picture.

For our further amusement, we encourage rounds with hidden themes. In the past two years, we've had:

Aim for a difficulty level approximating that of Division I NAQT sectionals.

Please do read the separate packet guidelines page, because it offers many helpful tips. If you can't think of what to write about, we have loads of categorized links to websites you can browse to find possible material for questions.

The Stanford archive contains most of the question packets used at VETO in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2006. You might note that some writers did not follow all of the guidelines. :) We've taken the list of answers that have come up in VETO in 2005 and 2006 and categorized them by subject. Try to write about things that are not on this list.


There are titles to be won by the leading individual scorer: the West Coast Dominatrix of Relevant Knowledge (WC-DORK) in Vancouver, and Nerd of the East (NOTE) in Toronto. Part of the entry fees in Toronto will be used to pay for prizes.

Anyone may sponsor a prize and select a winner according to any criteria. Last year, there were at least seven prizes awarded to individuals and teams in Vancouver. Contact us if you're sponsoring a prize that you want listed on this web page. If you want to encourage others to write questions of your favourite type or on your favourite (broadly defined) topic, then announcing a prize here is a good way to do so. Here is the list so far of prizes in Vancouver:

Award criteria Prize Sponsor
Worst repeat a broken record Peter of FARSIDE
Best question on food from non-animal sources a gluten-free, fat-free, GMO-free, vegan ReBAR 100% organic energy bar Peter

VANCOUVER: Other stuff to do, and places to stay

Separate studies released by the U.K.-based Economist Intelligence Unit (October, 2005) and the U.S.-based Mercer Human Resource Consulting (April, 2007) both concluded that Vancouver offers the highest quality of life of any city in the entire world (or the world outside Switzerland, according to Mercer). We are not exaggerating; check the links yourself.

Special events to entice you:

See http://www.tourismvancouver.com for more information about Vancouver, including links to special promotions.

While Vancouver has a reputation for heavy rainfall, it does not rain much in the summer. Average precipitation during June is below that of seven of the 10 largest United States cities (by 2000 census population), the exceptions being the desert or semi-desert cities of Los Angeles, Phoenix, and San Diego. And of course, during June, Vancouver has more hours of daylight than any American city outside of Alaska. On VETO day, sunset will occur at 9:20 p.m. It doesn't get any later than that. Twilight in these northern latitudes doesn't begin until after 10 p.m., and to top it off, there will be a full moon that night.

There are quite a few reasonably priced hotels in downtown Vancouver, within walking distance of the tournament location. Try findinghotel.com for looking up accommodation online, but do not be tempted by cheap rates in the East Hastings neighbourhood. This is identified by the V6A postal prefix area, which has the lowest median income in all of Canada.

You may also want to consider staying near a SkyTrain station, since trains on the main stretch from New Westminster to Waterfront run every 3—4 minutes all day on weekends. Weekend fares are $2.25 per person for 90 minutes of travel anywhere on the transit system, including buses and SeaBus.

A cheap option is a dorm bed at the HI Vancouver Downtown hostel, which we've checked out and found is pretty good as hostels go. It is in a nice neighbourhood 2.1 km from the tournament.


For questions, etc., contact the appropriate site coordinator. Updates will be posted on the web page http://caql.org/events/veto07.html which you're looking at right now.
Also check out the VETO weblog at http://veto.caql.org .

"A lot of Imperialist ladies asked me to tea to meet schoolmasters from New Zealand and editors from Vancouver, and that was the dismalest business of all."
- John Buchan, The Thirty-Nine Steps

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