Dear National History Bee & Bowl, US History Bee, & US Geography Olympiad National Championships Participants!

Thank you for registering for the 2016 National History Bee & Bowl / US History Bee / US Geography Olympiad National Championships! We’re just a week away from the big weekend in Washington, DC and Arlington, VA on April 22-24, and I wanted to check in with a number of updates on various matters.

I apologize for the length of this email, but as there are no fewer than 7 events that constitute Nationals, it contains many important points and answers to questions we have been receiving, so please read it through in full! Well over 1000 students will be competing throughout the weekend, so your cooperation in making sure you understand how the tournament works is greatly appreciated!

A number of the points which are listed below require some degree of response from you, so when you are able to, please fill out the pre-tournament survey here which will help us keep track of your interest in various aspects of Nationals weekend. Please note that you may go back and fill in different parts of the survey at different times, if you don’t have all the information at once. Please do read through it though as soon as possible, so that you can obtain the requested answers as needed.

Also, one important general announcement for all individual events. We had previously stated that the scoring system for individual events would be updated for throughout his year’s National Championships. After discussion among our staff, however, we have decided to implement the new system solely for the playoffs due to the need to have dedicated scorekeepers in each room where the more complex scoring system is being used. In each of the playoff rooms for the individual events, there will be 2 official scorekeepers, and a third person who will update a computer monitor with each students’ scores so that all players can track their standings. Please see the attached files for updated rules on the preliminaries and finals; these will be posted to the respective websites shortly too. We regret any inconvenience caused here, but as we wish to ensure an optimal Nationals experience, this is what we feel is the best solution for 2016.

As always, if you have any questions, please contact (update 4/19), and we will do our best to respond quickly. Also, though it is not part of the survey, please email me if there are any other people you know who should be getting Nationals updates from your school/team/for your student. Please forward this email on to them, and let me know their name and email, so they can receive subsequent emails.

In no particular order, here are a bunch of important updates. Note that depending on which events you or your students are competing in, not all of this may apply to you directly:

1. National History Bowl – Filler, and Standby Teams / Rosters / Where to Report

Because of the way the National Championships is structured (more on specifics here next week once the draw is set), we need to have a multiple of 6 teams in each division (i.e. Varsity and JV). The Varsity field will have (updated 4/19) 162 teams; the JV field will be at 102.

Once we get our multiples of 6, we will then look for standby teams to enter the draw if a team drops at any point up until Saturday morning. Standby teams need to be able to be within 10 miles of Arlington, VA on Saturday, April 23 at 8am. Standby teams are given variable pricing depending on NHBB’s needs to fill the draw – these are worked out on a case by case basis with me.

A number of people have also been emailing me regarding changes to their rosters. We only need to know this when you check in at the Crystal Gateway Marriott on Friday, April 22 (more information on check in will follow in the next email), so please don’t worry about roster changes, or email me with information on this before then. Remember, there’s no need for students to have competed at regionals before they compete at Nationals – the only important rules are that JV teams must be all 10th graders and younger, no student can switch their affiliation once the official rosters have been submitted at check-in, and that teams at Nationals are not limited to a certain number of players (unlike at Regionals) so you can theoretically have 20 students on a team or whatever though of course only up to 4 play at once.

Finally, we have started to get questions in terms of where to report specifically for the Bowl. This will be conveyed in a subsequent email once the draw has been set on Thursday, 4/21, but all History Bowl teams should plan on being at the Crystal Gateway Marriott in Arlington by 7:45 am on Saturday, April 23! Some teams may need to report slightly later, but being there early is a good thing. Check in is required the night before unless you have cleared that with us first. There is a space on the survey to indicate you are requesting a Saturday morning check in.

Please check and make sure you have the right number of teams registered for the National History Bowl in both the Varsity and Junior Varsity Divisions by going to the Teams Coming to Nationals Page here.

2. National History Bee – Registration closes at 11:59pm EDT on Sat 4/16!

The National History Bee National Championships is still open for registrations through Saturday evening! Please sign up here as soon as you can if you haven’t yet done so. Please check here to see who qualified (you’ll need to click through on each event to see the full list of qualifiers; it’s not just the two winners listed for each tournament!). Don’t forget to sign up for the Consolation Bee too for any interested students who will be at Nationals already and would like to play, but who didn’t qualify or compete at Regionals. The Consolation Bee is open only to students who didn’t qualify. Everyone who is competing in the National History Bee or Consolation Bee needs to plan on being in their Round 1 room by 8:00am on Sunday, April 24. Room assignments will be conveyed to participants in a subsequent email. There is no official check in for the National History Bee.

Please verify who is registered from your school for the National History Bee and the Consolation Bee by checking the attached file and clicking on the “NH Bee” and “Consolation” tabs at the bottom of the Excel spreadsheet (not posted online, but see email) ! If you think someone should be listed and is not or is listed and shouldn’t be, please let me know asap!

3. US Geography Olympiad – Registration closes at 11:59pm EDT on Sat 4/16!

The US Geography Olympiad’s registration will close at the same time as the National History Bee on Monday. Please sign up here if you haven’t yet. Please check here to see who qualified – check with me if you have any questions. Everyone who is competing in the US Geography Olympiad needs to plan on being in their Exam room by 12:45 on Friday, April 22. Room assignments will be conveyed to participants in a subsequent email. There is no official check in for the US Geography Olympiad. As in past years, the exam room will be the same as the Round 1 room for the Quiz Bowl tournament.

Please verify who is registered from your school for the US Geography Olympiad by checking the attached file (not posted online, but see email) and clicking on the “USGO” tab at the bottom of the Excel spreadsheet! If you think someone should be listed and is not or is listed and shouldn’t be, please let me know asap!

4. United States History Bee – Registration closes at 11:59pm EDT on Sat 4/16.

Not to be confused with the National History Bee, the US History Bee will take place on Friday, April 22 during the day at the Crystal Gateway Marriott. Please sign up here if you haven’t yet. Please click here to see who qualified – check with me if you have any questions. Everyone who is competing in the US History Bee needs to plan on being in their Round 1 room by 7:45am on Friday, April 22. Room assignments will be conveyed to participants in a subsequent email. There is no official check in for the US History Bee.

Please verify who is registered from your school for the US History Bee by checking the attached file and clicking on the “USHB” tab at the bottom of the Excel spreadsheet (not posted online, but see email) ! If you think someone should be listed and is not or is listed and shouldn’t be, please let me know asap!

5. Play in Games for National History Bee – Thursday Evening 4/21
For anyone who has not yet competed on the B Set of questions or the A Set of questions, who would like a final chance of qualifying in the National History Bee, these students may compete in the Bee Play In Game at 8pm on Thursday evening, 4/21 at the Crystal Gateway Marriott. The play in game does not cost anything, and a student may compete in both B Set and A Set. The top 50% of students in each age division in the play in game for both B Set and A Set will qualify to compete on Sunday, 4/24 in the National History Bee. They must then pay the $105 registration fee at Nationals. You can sign up for the Play In Game on the Pre-Nationals survey, or, as space permits, on Thursday evening until 7pm.

6. National Sports and Entertainment History Bees

The National Sports and Entertainment History Bees are back again this year on Friday evening at Nationals from 8-10:30pm. This year there will be a separate Sports History Bee and a separate Entertainment History Bee – students may compete in one or the other, but not both! Please indicate on the pre-Nationals survey who would like to play in the Sports Bee, and who would like to play in the Entertainment Bee. Both the Sports and Entertainment Bees consist of 3 rounds of 25 questions followed by a final round for the top 10 students in both the Varsity and Junior Varsity Divisions.

Please sign up here by next Tuesday at 8pm EDT if you haven’t yet and are interested or have students who are. It MAY be possible to register for the Sports and Entertainment Bees on a limited basis at Nationals, but we request that you sign up as soon as you know that students are competing in it. If you didn’t include payment for the Sports and Entertainment Bee in the Nationals check, you can pay in cash ($20 per student) at Nationals.

Note that all students at Nationals (and even those who are there just to watch) are welcome to compete – no qualification is necessary. However, if students are also competing in the US Geography Olympiad Quizbowl tournament and make the final rounds, they will be required to compete in that and forego the Sports or Entertainment Bees, if they sign up for both. We can process a refund if needed here.

Question distributions for the Sports and Entertainment Bees can be found here.

7. Payments / Invoices / Receipts / Refund Policy / Clarifying Due Dates

The official payment due date is to have checks in to our address (see below) by April 20. We have said that late fees accrue at a rate of $25 per day. However, we will not impose penalty fees as long as your check is in the PO Box in Tenafly by 5pm on Wednesday April 27. So you have a week of a grace period, and a chance to send payments on Monday, April 25 if needed. Thereafter, we will charge a late fee of $25 per day for any school / affiliation that has not paid in full.

However, no one will be turned away at Nationals for lack of payment. You can verify if your payment has been received at the Nationals check in desk and at the Help Desk, but I cannot verify receipt of payments prior to Nationals.

Payments for the National History Bee, National History Bowl and US Geography Olympiad all need to be sent to:

NHBB / USGO Nationals

PO Box 875

Tenafly, NJ 07670

with NHBB (including Sports & Entertainment History Bee & US History Bee) payments made out to “National History Bee and Bowl” and USGO payments made out to “US Geography Olympiad”. Bee and Bowl payments may be combined, but USGO payments must be separate. Please indicate on a note with the check exactly whom the payments are for. Please do not bring payment to Nationals for any events with the sole exception of those who sign up for the Sports or Entertainment Bees on the spot, those who qualify for the National History Bee through the play in game, or for scrimmage matches!

We have also received a number of requests for updated invoices. Due to time constraints, it is much easier if you just fill in an updated registration on the usual Nationals registration page. This will then generate an automated invoice. Please do indicate the names of students competing in each event if you do this, so we can ensure who is competing in which event.

Requests for receipts will be dealt with either at the Nationals help desk or in the week after Nationals, but not beforehand.

As for refunds, effective immediately, no refunds are given for dropped teams in the Bowl. If a team drops and has not submitted payment, they are still liable to pay for it. For all individual events, refunds will be provided in full only through the close of the registration deadline at 11:59pm EDT on Saturday except for the Sports and Entertainment Bee, for which we will provide refunds in full for cancelled students through Tuesday at 8pm EDT, and no refunds thereafter. Thereafter, for any dropped students, no refunds will be provided and teams are still liable for payments for these students!

8. Scrimmage Matches

Scrimmage matches will run from 2pm-6pm on Friday. Each team playing a scrimmage match must pay $10 in cash at the scrimmage desk. The entire A Set and B Set and Rounds 9 and 10 of C Set will be available for scrimmages. Pending staff availability, we may open the scrimmage desk earlier, and reopen it on Friday evening after the Opening Ceremonies. There is no need to sign up in advance; just come to the scrimmage desk (at the top of the escalator in the lobby), and we’ll match you up with a team. Or you can come together if you want to play a particular team. Or you can scrimmage yourself. Scrimmages are open to anyone; including those not playing in the Bowl. It’s also possible to scrimmage as a group of students from different schools – you don’t need to all be on the same team.

9. Small School Eligibility

If your team is eligible to compete for our Small School National Championship titles, you need to indicate this on the survey. Our small school definition is (taken from defined as a non-magnet, non-selective public school with 1000 or fewer students in 9-12 or 800 in 10-12.

10. Prizes / International History Olympiad
With the exception of the US Geography Olympiad, the Lorenz Cup, and the Sports & Entertainment History Bee, prizes at Nationals this year largely consist of discounted or free admission to the 2016 International History Olympiad in Hawaii this summer. Of course we will also have plaques, trophies, and medals (and the eponymous History Bowls) to win as well. A list of prizes can be found here.

Note that to qualify for the International History Olympiad, you need to either finish as a 3rd place team in your morning National History Bowl group, make the US History Bee playoffs, finish in the top half of students in either division for the National History Bee, be on a team that wins a Consolation Group, finish in first or second place in the Consolation Bee, have been on a team that won a State or Regional National History Bowl competition, have been a player who won a State or Regional National History Bee competition or have accomplished any of these things during the 2014-15 school year as well.

11. Large Number of Spectators
On the survey, we are asking teams to list how many spectators they anticipate bringing. Certain rooms have more spectator capacity than others, so this will help us facilitate room assignments if you are bringing a large group with you to watch your team’s matches. All matches are open to the general public to the extent that space is available, though in practice, it’s very rare for anyone to watch preliminary matches (through Saturday afternoon) who is not affiliated with either team in some capacity (parent, coach, substitute player, etc.)

12. Arrival at the Hotel / Parking
On the survey, we will ask you to provide your method of transit to Nationals, and what time you expect to arrive. We will not hold you to this though – it’s more to try and help you if you run into trouble. See here for further details on how to reach the hotel:
If you are flying into Reagan National Airport, there is a free shuttle to the hotel – it’s about 5 minutes away.
If you are taking the train, you can use the Metro (the DC subway) to reach the hotel. Then get off at the Crystal City station – it’s a 5-10 minute walk from there.
Parking is available free of charge in the garages at the Crystal City underground complex after 5pm on Friday through Sunday evening. You can leave a car there overnight. Otherwise, you can park at the hotel, though it costs about $27 a day.

13. Rooms at the Hotel

At this point, all the hotel rooms at the Crystal Gateway Marriott have been booked. If you still need help with your booking at this point, contact me and I will do my best to sort things out. Since the official group rate has now expired, this will be more helpful than going through the hotel directly.

14. Buzzers and Staff

If you signed up to bring buzzers, and/or staff the tournament, please note that we are counting on you to do this! You can check the number you registered in the attached registration file. Our buzzer czars will be in touch with you regarding further reminders, but if you know you signed up systems you won’t be able to bring, please let me know asap. Likewise, if you signed up to staff, but won’t be able to, I need to know that asap too. Our Staff Director Brad Fischer will be in touch with further information on staffing, including mandatory staff meetings.

15. Requests on Playing at the Hotel (or not…)

The National History Bowl National Championships is a unique event which takes place both at a host hotel, and at several sites in Washington, DC. This year, most matches will take place at the Crystal Gateway Marriott in Arlington, VA.
If someone on your team has limited mobility, and thus it is important for you to play all your matches at the Crystal Gateway Marriott, you can indicate this on the survey.

If you have a strong preference to either a) play all your games at the hotel or b) ensure that you will get a chance to play at a site of historic or cultural importance (though note that Varsity upper bracket teams will be at the hotel no matter what all day), then please indicate this on the survey.


We will once again be covering the tournament through our online Youtube channel which will feature coverage of selected matches as well as tournament reports and interviews with students. If your students are interested in being interviewed for NHBB TV while at Nationals, please indicate this on the survey. While we call it NHBB TV, students coming for the US History Bee and/or the US Geography Olympiad are welcome to do interviews as well.

17. Dress Code

This always gets asked about. In contrast with some academic competitions, the wider world of quiz bowl (of which NHBB/USGO is certainly a part) is casual. You are welcome to wear t-shirts and jeans at all times, though if you would like to dress up, feel free (there are always many teams who do, so you won’t look out of place if you go that route). Basically, wear whatever will give you the greatest confidence in your matches.

18. C Set for Practice
I have attached bowl rounds 1-8, as well as all the Bee Rounds of our 2015-16 Regional C Set for practice here. Other practice materials can be found on the website.

19. Birthdays

If you or anyone on your team has a birthday while at Nationals (from April 22-24 as long as whoever’s celebrating is physically present), let us know and our staff will show up with a small gift. This is an item to indicate on the survey.

20. Opening Ceremonies

This year our official Opening Ceremonies on Friday evening (we know that quite a few events take place before then) will last slightly shorter than last year’s, as we wish to get everyone competing in the Sports and Entertainment Bees started with their rounds by 8:15pm sharp.
At our Opening Ceremonies this year, we will not have a keynote speaker, but we will have an opportunity for those present to ask us questions about all aspects of NHBB / USGO. You can also submit questions in advance on the survey. The Opening Ceremonies will also feature a review of our season, recognition of several outstanding coaches and staffers, a preview of the 2016 International History Olympiad, the final match of the US History Bee Varsity Division, and of course, the “Opening Buzz” featuring last year’s Varsity History Bowl Champion, Saratoga A, and their Round 1 opponent from Saturday (TBD). Attendance at the Opening Ceremonies is by no means mandatory, but we have a great program in store and hope that you will be able to join us. Doors will open to the Opening Ceremonies at 6:00pm while the program will begin at 7pm and run until just before 8pm.

21. Slideshow

If your students won awards at regionals, and would like to be included in our Nationals slideshow showcasing teams from around the country, email photos of your students with their awards to We’ll run the slideshow before the Opening Ceremonies, and at various points during Nationals weekend.

22. Food / Dining

Some people have asked if the Nationals price includes food – the answer is no, but we do have a reception with food and drinks for coaches and parents on Friday evening just after the Opening Ceremonies until 10:30pm. Additional emails will contain recommendations for food options at various points during the weekend, though there is a food court in the Crystal Gateway Mall just below the hotel which is open on Friday and Saturday, and to a limited extent on Sunday morning.

23. Special Requests / Suggestions / Next Emails…

If you have any special requests for the weekend, please let us know on the survey, and we’ll do our best to accommodate them. Also, particularly if you have been to Nationals before, but even if this is your first time, we welcome your suggestions and feedback. If you have any words of advice, please let us know as we prepare for our largest tournament ever. We have a great team of experienced staff working to give you and your team a great experience, and hope that you’re getting as excited as we are! Expect additional updates to follow between now and next Thursday, though if you are on staff, you may hear from us earlier.

Finally, again a reminder that if you have other people from your teams who should be receiving these emails (particularly, say, if you signed up your team, but someone else will be bringing them to Nationals), please forward this email to them and let me know their name and email too so I can include them on our list for subsequent emails.

Thanks for reading through, and I look forward to seeing you and your students soon!
Best regards,
David Madden