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Saturday, July 15, 2006

Eighth annual


Fourth annual













It's over! See the results in Vancouver and Toronto, and the Trans-Canada Championship Match.

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 we're also hoping to have a championship match between the site winners. This web page will be kept up to date with the most current information.

In Vancouver, meet at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday, July 15, at 515 West Hastings St., room 1510. See schedule below.

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 someone at the other site. Some teams will also be asked to bring packets to be received through e-mail from the other site.

As always, this event is FREE of charge.

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, inability or unwillingness to pay us money, etc.

The following is for the VANCOUVER site only:

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 in Vancouver, 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 else will be editing. As for how high our standards are: the vast majority of the packets in the Stanford Archive would meet our criteria for acceptance.

The following is for the TORONTO site only:

Teams will be entered on a first-come, first-served basis; however, if your team does not have players that have combined to write 24 tossups and 24 bonuses (24/24) for a quiz bowl tournament using tossups and bonuses, your team will be given a conditional entry until July 1st, contingent on there still being room in the tournament at that point. If your team has submitted 24/24 combined to any of VETO, BC/Ontario/Quebec Bowl, and the Ottawa Hybrid Tournament, you do not have to worry about showing me your 24/24. If your 24/24 comes from tournaments other than the above three, you must provide the submitted questions along with your entry.

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.

The size of the field is capped at 8 teams at each site, but a 9th team is possible in Vancouver under the following circumstances: during every round the 9th team must provide at least three surplus players to moderate games instead of playing. So typically a 9th team will have six or seven or eight players who rotate between staffing and playing. If you're on such a team, you'll get to play only about half as many games as players on other teams, but viewed more positively, you can think of this team as a group of volunteer tournament staff -- who actually get to play a few games. A 9th team will not have to write questions.


VANCOUVER teams as of July 13:
  1. FARSIDE (VETO champions in 1999, 2000, 2001):   Peter (2 packets)
  2. SFU Junta (VETO champions in 2002):   Carlos, Hanson, Mike, Shaun (1 packet)
  3. B2B (VETO champions in 2003):   Brock, Bruce, Victoria, Zhan (1 packet, plus part of Daniel's packet)
  4. Daniel, Brendan, Ciarán Llachlan, Angus (1 packet, with contributions from B2B + bringing a Toronto packet)
  5. Joanne, Mischa, Paulman, Ross (bringing a Toronto packet)
  6. Brittany, Geoff, Tariq, Jason (bringing a Toronto packet)
  7. University of British Columbia (VETO champions in 2004 and 2005): Mike, Fred, Lavan, Paul   (chance of 1 packet; bringing a Toronto packet otherwise)

TORONTO teams as of July 11:

  1. Andy Saunders, Jordan Stopciati, et al. (1 packet)
  2. Ottawa: Ben Smith et al. (1 packet)
  3. Toronto: Eric Smith, Bobby Hsu, et al. (1 packet)
  4. Western: Raffi et al. (no packet)
  5. McMaster (1 packet)
  6. Zarya Cynader et al. (1 packet)
  7. Western alumni: Adam Bishop et al. (1 packet)


Saturday, July 15, 2006, from 8 a.m. (yes, be there at 8 in the morning) to 6 p.m. in Vancouver; or from 9 a.m. in Toronto. The night before, on Friday, July 14, regular VETO participant Bruce Lin will make his first appearance as a contestant on the TV show Jeopardy!

This is the same weekend as the Game Show Congress in Burbank, Calif. It is two weeks before the Chicago Open with its mirror, the San Francisco Bay Area Summer Quiz Extravaganza.

If you would like to participate in VETO, please notify us by July 1, 2006. This date should be easy to remember because it's Canada Day, a day when the media give us more than the usual amount of Canadian trivia — which may become useful question material.

VANCOUVER location

In the heart of downtown Vancouver, B.C., Canada: Simon Fraser University at Harbour Centre, 515 West Hastings St. 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 anyone with a Canadian driver's licence is not permitted to do so. 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 another airline directly to Vancouver.

Take a QuickTime Virtual Reality tour of actual VETO 2006 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 University of Toronto's St. George campus in downtown Toronto, Ontario. The tournament will take place at Hart House near Queen's Park. This is the same location as last year.

For those coming from out of town, Toronto is easily accessible by airplane, train, bus, and car.


VETO 2006 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).

Here is the schedule in Vancouver:

    room 1500  room 1520  room 1525   bringing packet  other staff
    ---------  ---------  ---------   ---------------  -----------
1.  FrSd-JMPR  UBC.-DBCA  BGT.-SFUJ | B2B. (authors)   none
2.  FrSd-BGT.  UBC.-B2B.  DBCA-JMPR | SFUJ (authors)   none
3.  BGT.-UBC.  SFUJ-B2B.  FrSd-DBCA | JMPR (Toronto)   none
4.  UBC.-JMPR  DBCA-SFUJ            | FrSd (authors)   BGT.  B2B.
5.  BGT.-JMPR  UBC.-SFUJ            | DBCA (authors)   FrSd  B2B.
6.  BGT.-B2B.  SFUJ-JMPR            | FrSd (authors)   UBC.  DBCA
7.  FrSd-B2B.  BGT.-DBCA            | UBC. (authors)   SFUJ  JMPR
8.  FrSd-UBC.  DBCA-B2B.            | BGT. (Toronto)   SFUJ  JMPR
9.  FrSd-SFUJ  JMPR-B2B.            | DBCA (Toronto)   BGT.  UBC.
FrSd: (FARSIDE) Peter - rounds 4 (author), 6 (author)
BGT.: Brittany/Geoff/Tariq/Jason - round 8 (Toronto)
UBC.: Mike/Fred/Lavan/Paul - round 7 (author)
DBCA: (UBC Pseudo) Daniel/Brendan/Ciarán Llachlan/Angus - rounds 5 (author), 9 (Toronto)
SFUJ: (Junta) Carlos/Hanson/Mike/Shaun - round 2 (author)
JMPR: Joanne/Mischa/Paulman/Ross - round 3 (Toronto)
B2B.: Brock/Bruce/Victoria/Zhan - rounds 1 (author), 5 (contributor)

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..."

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. Last year, for example, in one round, every tossup answer was also the name of a school that had participated in the SmartAsk TV game show; in another round, every answer contained the name of an animal.

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, and 2005. You might note that some writers did not follow all of the guidelines. :)


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.

Anyone may sponsor a prize and select a winner according to any criteria. Last year, there were 11 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, made in B.C. 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, 2006) both concluded that Vancouver offers a higher quality of life than any other 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:

You will also enjoy spotting the artistically painted life-size fiberglass Spirit Bears on display this summer in prominent public spaces in the city.

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 July 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 July, Vancouver has more hours of daylight than any American city outside of Alaska. On VETO day, sunset will occur at 9:12 p.m.

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.

Unfortunately for American visitors, the Canadian dollar has risen in value by 45% against the U.S. dollar over the past four years. (Blame the economic policies of our recently deposed Liberal government, which built up recklessly large budgetary and trade surpluses.) But according to the Economist's latest Big Mac Index (May 25, 2006), a Big Mac costs only 1% more in Canada than in the U.S.


For questions, etc., contact the appropriate site coordinator. Updates will be posted on the web page http://caql.org/events/veto06.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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