2012 High School National Championship

NAQT is pleased to announce that its 2012 High School National Championship Tournament will be held at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta hotel on Memorial Day weekend, May 25-27, 2012.

Online registration is now open.


May 25-27, 2012 (Friday to Sunday). This is Memorial Day weekend.

Teams will check in on Friday, May 25, and have the opportunity to meet each other and play practice matches on official NAQT questions from previous years. The tournament’s preliminary games will take place on Saturday, and the playoff games will take place on Sunday. Teams may stay through Monday (or longer!) to explore Atlanta at the discounted hotel rates negotiated by NAQT. Teams that cannot arrive on Friday night will have a chance to check in on Saturday morning if they notify NAQT of the situation in advance.


The Hyatt Regency Atlanta. This hotel will hold the guest room block as well as the competition rooms. The tournament will be spread over most of the hotel; a floorplan is available online.


This schedule is tentative.

Friday (evening)
4:30-10:00Staff Check-InHanover A (Exhibit Level)
6:00-10:00Team Check-InCentennial Foyer (Ballroom Level)
6:00-10:00Scrimmage RoundsGrand Prefunction Area (Exhibit Level)
7:15-8:00Late-Arrival Staff Check-InInternational Ballroom
7:30-8:30Late-Arrival Team Check-InCentennial Foyer (Ballroom Level)
8:00-8:45Staff MeetingInternational Ballroom
8:30-8:45Players’ and Coaches’ MeetingCentennial Ballroom (Ballroom Level)
9:00-12:00Rounds 1-6Meeting rooms and parlors
12:00-1:30Lunch (not provided)-
1:30-6:15Rounds 7-15Meeting rooms and parlors
7:00Playoff Pairings PostedInformation Desk (Ballroom Level)
7:00Small School Playoff Pairings PostedInformation Desk (Ballroom Level)
8:00-8:30Overall Playoff Staff MeetingRoswell (ACC Level)
8:00-8:30Small School Playoff Staff MeetingEmbassy F
8:00-8:30Consolation Staff MeetingLearning Center (Ballroom Level)
8:30-12:00Rounds 16-21Meeting rooms
9:00-12:00Consolation Rounds(Centennial Foyer (Exhibit Level)
12:00-1:00Lunch (not provided)-
1:00-2:20Rounds 22-23Meeting rooms
2:20Finals (1 or 2 games)Centennial Ballroom (Ballroom Level)
After finalsAwardsCentennial Ballroom (Ballroom Level)
After awardsBuzzer Return/Question PickupNear Information Desk (Ballroom Level)

On Saturday morning teams should be in the Centennial Ballroom (on the Ballroom Level) by 8:30 a.m. Moderators and other staff should go to the International Ballroom (below the International Tower) to review game procedures and hear any last-minute announcements.

Information Desk:

NAQT will be operating an Information Desk throughout the tournament near the Permanent Registration Area on the Ballroom Level. This should be teams’ first resort for any sort of question at all. The Information Desk will be in contact with all control rooms and the stat room throughout the day.


Schools qualify to send teams to the HSNCT through their performance at NAQT invitational events and NAQT State Championships held throughout the year. Qualified teams may now register online.


The field for the tournament is limited to 240 teams. The current field is listed here.

The 2012 field was originally capped at 224 teams, but was expanded to 240 on March 28, 2012, to accommodate additional qualifiers from state championship tournaments.


Teams are guaranteed exactly ten preliminary matches on Saturday. Those matches will be determined by power-matching, so that teams with similar records will be playing each other in every round. Every team with a winning record (6-4 or better) will advance to the playoffs. The elimination playoffs will be held on Sunday; teams that finished Saturday 7-3 or better can lose twice before being eliminated; teams that finished 6-4 on Saturday will be eliminated after a single loss.

A total of 15 rounds will be played on Saturday, so each team will have exactly 5 byes. Either 9 or 10 rounds will be played on Sunday, depending on whether the champion finishes with a playoff loss or not.

This is identical to last year’s format, except that it will involve 240 teams rather than 224.

The first-round Sunday pairings will be posted at 8:00 a.m. at the Information Desk.


As in past years, an overall high school title and a Top Small School title will be awarded.

The top three small school teams and all small school teams that finish 4-6 or better on Saturday are guaranteed spots in the small school playoffs, the exact format of which will be determined based on the number of such teams and the presence or absence of small schools in the overall playoffs.

The small school playoff format will be posted at 8:00 a.m. at the Information Desk.

In addition, if there are at least five Canadian schools in attendance, a Top Canadian Team title will be awarded after a final; if at least ten are in attendance, a parallel playoff for the Canadian title will be held (similar to what is done to determine the Top Small School). The exact format of that playoff will be determined by the overall finish of the Canadian teams.

Due to insufficient Canadian registrations, there will not be a Top Canadian Team title awarded this year.

Consolation Scrimmage Rounds:

Teams that do not qualify for the playoffs are encouraged to return on Sunday to play against any other teams they want (or to mix-and-match from across the country) on the playoff questions. These consolation rounds will be held in various game rooms of the hotel and will be moderated by NAQT staff and other volunteers. Please note that all students, even alternates or observers, are welcome to take part. Teams that have been eliminated from the playoffs may also take part.

Teams that want to participate in the consolation rounds should go to the Centennial Prefunction Area on the Ballroom Level after 9:00 a.m. on Sunday.

As in 2011, NAQT will also be offering consolation "mini-tournaments" of three games (eight teams) each. Teams may still play ad hoc games against opponents of their choosing, however.

The consolation rounds (whether mini-tournaments or not) have no effect on a team’s overall standing in the tournament. They are played solely for fun.


Online registration is now open.

The registration fee is $595 per team if payment is received on or before April 27, 2012. The fee is $615 per team on or after April 28. Schools whose first qualifying event occurred after April 1, 2012, have until May 7 to register at the lower rate. The deadline to accept an invitation is May 21, or when the field fills, whichever comes first.

In addition, as of 23:59:59 ET on April 27, 2012, the acceptance of invitations will be considered final. Should a team cancel after that date, it will still be liable for one-half of its base registration fee.

The registration fee only covers entrance to the tournament. It does not cover transportation, lodging, food, or other expenses.

Please note that the field has historically filled; qualifying for the tournament does not guarantee a spot in the field, it merely enables your team to register for one of the spots. Once you have qualified, you should register as soon as you can to ensure your team a berth in the tournament.

Teams bringing a working lockout system to the tournament will be eligible for a $50 discount on the registration fee. Each team may claim up to two such discounts. Lockout systems will be tested at check-in, and those that don’t have at least eight functioning buzzers will be denied the discount. NAQT will only award the discount for lockout systems that it can keep from check-in until the Sunday lunch break. If a team anticipates leaving before that, we would prefer to use (and discount) a different system to avoid inconveniencing that team and ourselves.

Teams supplying a qualified, experienced scorekeeper for the tournament will be eligible for a $75 discount on the registration fees. This scorekeeper will not necessarily scorekeep for his or her school’s matches; he or she will be assigned as NAQT sees fit. The transportation, lodging, and all other expenses of team-supplied scorekeepers will be borne by the team, not by NAQT. Also, a team claiming this discount must still have at least one adult coach/chaperone with the team at all matches.

The above scorekeeper discount may be filled by a team alternate (or combination of alternates). For instance, if a team brought five players to the tournament, one player could keep score for the morning rounds on Saturday and another for the afternoon rounds. In aggregate, their work would earn the team the $75 discount.

In addition, NAQT needs a limited number of "runners" for the tournament. There is no experience necessary to fill this role. Teams supplying such runners will also receive a $75 discount.

Teams that cancel a staffer (of any kind) after May 11 will not only forfeit the $75 discount, but will be charged a $100 penalty to offset NAQT’s cost for finding a last-minute replacement.

Every competing school will receive a complete copy of the question set used at this tournament. Please note that teams that do not pick up their questions at the tournament itself will be charged a shipping fee ($10) by NAQT to mail them. Questions will not be distributed until the end of the tournament.

Checking In:

NAQT will be checking teams in, disbursing information folders, answering questions, and handling outstanding administrative matters between 6:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. on Friday, May 25. When teams arrive at the hotel on Friday night, one coach or chaperone should go to the check-in area. That representative will receive a folder containing a copy of the official rules, the schedule for the tournament, and information on local attractions. Team members are encouraged to take advantage of the social and practice opportunities on Friday night.

To streamline check-in, we are requesting that schools try to follow this schedule based on the first letter of the name of their state/province:

First Letter Preferred Check-in Window
A-I 6:00 to 7:00
J-M 7:00 to 8:00
N-Z 8:00 to 9:00

This is not mandatory; don’t rearrange your schedule or accept inconvenience to adhere to it. However, if you are planning to be at the hotel all evening anyway, please come at the appropriate time and it should reduce the total time spent waiting.

NAQT would greatly appreciate it if teams that choose to check in later still bring their lockout systems to the check-in desk around 6:00 p.m. so we can use them for scrimmage rounds. In the past few years we haven’t been able to open up scrimmage rounds as quickly as we would have liked due to a lack of buzzers.

Teams that don’t arrive at the hotel until Saturday morning can check in between 7:30 and 8:30. Teams that checked in on Friday do not need to check in again on Saturday.


Between 6:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. on Friday night, rooms will be set up in the hotel for teams to scrimmage against each other on questions from previous NAQT HSNCTs. This scrimmaging is free and will be moderated by tournament staff. We encourage all teams to come by to play a practice game or two.

Scrimmages are open to all players, including alternates and standby teams. Ineligible players (e.g., parents or coaches) may compete if both teams are amenable to their participation, but the purpose of the scrimmages is to let actual teams experience actual tournament conditions. A more appropriate time for parents and coaches to partake of quiz bowl is during the Sunday consolation rounds.


The top thirty-two teams will each receive a team trophy, and the members (and coach) of those teams will receive individual awards (up to six per team). In addition, the top three small schools (by NAQT’s definition) will receive a team trophy and individual awards. The top thirty individual scorers will receive All-Star awards. In addition, the top six freshmen and the top six sophomores who are not overall All-Stars will receive freshman or sophomore Rising Star awards. All individual awards will be based on the results of the preliminary rounds. Players must have at least 120 tossups heard (approximately six games) to be eligible for individual awards.


Teams will want to fly into Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport (airport code ATL).


The official hotel for the tournament is the Hyatt Regency Atlanta itself. Quadruple-occupancy rooms (with two double beds) are available for $85 per night. The last day to reserve rooms at this special price is May 9. Please note that there are other Hyatt hotels in Atlanta; make reservations at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta.

Between the HSNCT and the other events scheduled for the Hyatt Regency Atlanta on that weekend, it is expected that the hotel will fill to near capacity. NAQT strongly recommends that teams book their rooms as early as possible, particularly if they want quadruple-occupancy rooms (with two double beds). We have a room block that is calculated to cover the entire tournament, but it can’t hurt for our attendees to make their reservations at the earliest possible moment.

Teams can book their stay online.

Parking is $15/day, which includes in-and-out privileges. All parking is valet parking, so teams should expect a slight delay in retrieving their cars at busy times. Bus parking is available for $30/day at a nearby site. The hotel will provide complimentary transportation to and from the bus lot for drivers.

As part of the contract negotiated by NAQT, the hotel will offer complimentary guest room Internet access to tournament participants and their families.

The hotel does not have an airport shuttle. Teams will need to take the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) (recommended), a taxi, or use a commercial shuttle service.

Hyatt Regency Atlanta
265 Peachtree Street NE
Atlanta, Georgia, USA 30303
Telephone: 404.577.1234


The Hyatt Regency Atlanta is connected by a short (50-foot) skyway to a 60-restaurant food court at which any kind of inexpensive food (sandwiches, Thai, pizza, Chinese, cheesesteaks, etc.) may be obtained. There are also additional restaurants in the hotel itself and within walking distance that should satisfy any combination of appetite and price range. The hotel will be offering discounted breakfast and lunch options for participants as well.


The hotel does not operate a shuttle (complimentary or otherwise) to the airport.

NAQT recommends that teams take the MARTA train to reach the tournament. Teams can catch either the red or gold line (it doesn’t matter which) at the airport and get off at the Peachtree Center. This is a 20-minute trip that costs about $2.50 (per person) each direction. From the Peachtree Center it is about a two-minute, indoor walk though the food court to the Hyatt Regency. NAQT’s members have ridden MARTA and found it to be safe and convenient; there are also taxi and shuttle options, but MARTA will probably be the easiest and cheapest way to travel.


The Hyatt Regency Atlanta is downtown and within walking distance (10-15 minutes) of Atlanta’s major attractions including the Georgia Aquarium, the High Museum, Centennial Olympic Park, and the World of Coca-Cola.

Practice Questions:

Teams that have been invited to compete at the 2012 High School National Championship Tournament may be interested in purchasing the questions from previous years to prepare for the event. All 105 of NAQT’s past regular-season sets are available as are the sets from all 13 past national championships.

Teams may also want to purchase NAQT study guides listing the works of literature, art, music, and non-fiction (and their creators) that have been mentioned most frequently in NAQT questions from 1996 to the present. These are also available on our practice questions page.

Finally, teams will want to look at the information contained in NAQT’s free You Gotta Know articles before the tournament. These detail the most frequently asked about question topics in a wide variety of areas.

Further Questions:

To ask specific questions about the HSNCT, please contact us:

  1. by e-mail at hsnct@naqt.com
  2. by phone at 888‑411‑6278 (“NAQT”)
  3. by fax at 413‑473‑1617
  4. by postal mail at:
    11521 W 69th Street
    Shawnee, KS 66203

We look forward to answering any and all questions, no matter how expansive or trivial, in the hopes of eliminating any possible confusion or mistakes in teams’ plans. If something’s not clear, let us know!