2014 High School National Championship

NAQT is pleased to announce that its 2014 High School National Championship Tournament will be held at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare hotel on May 30–June 1, 2014. This is the same hotel that hosted the tournament in 2009 and 2010.

Note that NAQT also runs a Small School National Championship Tournament for which some high schools are eligible. Please make sure you are looking at information for the proper tournament; this page concerns the HSNCT, which is NAQT’s overall championship for all high schools.

Online registration is now open.


May 30–June 1, 2014 (Friday to Sunday). This is the weekend after Memorial Day weekend.

Teams will check in on Friday, May 30, 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 Chicago 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 O’Hare. This building contains both the official hotel and all of the competition rooms. An online floorplan is available.

There is also an overflow hotel, but this is only for guest rooms; no competition will take place at the overflow hotel.


Friday (evening)
5:00 (or upon arrival)General staff check-inDFW (Entry Level)
6:00–10:00Team check-inConference Center (Lobby Level)
6:00–10:00Optional scrimmage roundsOrganized from the Conference Center (Entry Level)
7:00–8:30Late-arrival team check-inGrand Ballroom Foyer (Entry Level)
7:30Late-arrival staff check-inRosemont Ballroom B (Entry Level)
7:40All staff check-inRosemont Ballroom B (Entry Level)
8:00–8:15Players’ and coaches’ meetingGrand Ballroom (Entry Level)
8:00–8:45Staff meetingRosemont Ballroom B (Entry Level)
9:00–12:30Rounds 1–7Meeting rooms and parlors
12:30–2:00Lunch (not provided)
2:00–6:45Rounds 8–16Meeting rooms and parlors
7:00Playoff pairings postedInformation Desk (Lobby)
7:00–8:15Card pick-up (all playoff teams)Information Desk (Lobby)
8:00–8:30Playoff staff meetingRosemont Ballroom B (Entry Level)
8:00–8:30Consolation staff meetingMidway (Lobby Level)
8:30–12:00Rounds 17–22Meeting rooms
8:45–12:00Consolation roundsOrganized from the Conference Center (Lobby Level)
12:00–1:00Lunch (not provided)
1:00–2:20Rounds 23–24Meeting rooms
2:20Finals (1 or 2 games)Grand Ballroom (Entry Level)
After finalsAwardsGrand Ballroom (Entry Level)
After awardsBuzzer returnGrand Registration Desk
After awardsQuestion distributionGrand Registration Desk

Information Desk:

NAQT will be operating an Information Desk throughout the tournament in the main lobby of the hotel. 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. Teams may also request wildcard invitations beginning on February 1, 2014. Qualified teams may now register online. .


The field for the tournament is limited to 272 teams. The current field is listed here.

The field was originally capped at 256 teams, but it was expanded on March 6 to accommodate more qualifiers from later tournaments and state championships.


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 16 rounds will be played on Saturday, so each team will have exactly 6 byes. Either 9 or 10 rounds will be played on Sunday, depending on whether the champion finishes with a playoff loss or not.

All playoff teams must pick up their playoff cards at the Information Desk between 7:00 and 8:15 a.m. on Sunday. The first-round Sunday pairings and an overall bracket will be posted at the Information Desk by 7:00 a.m.

This is identical to last year’s format, except that it will involve 272 teams rather than 256.

The 2014 HSNCT Format Guide (PDF) will provide a more in-depth discussion of the format.

Consolation 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 Conference Center (Lobby Level) at 8:30 a.m. on Sunday. Consolation rounds are scheduled to being at 8:45 a.m.

Two kinds of consolation rounds will be offered:

  • Mini-tournaments will be three-, four-, or five-round power-matched events. These will run relatively efficiently, but they involve a commitment to stay for all of the rounds. Teams can sign up for these starting Saturday evening in the Conference Center (Lobby Level). Teams can also sign up Sunday morning, but the berths will be first-come, first-served, so teams that really care about getting a spot in one of the larger events should make a point of signing up on Saturday evening.

  • Ad hoc matches involve no commitment, but they will take longer to organize as available teams will be manually paired against each other as rooms, packets, and readers become available. If you only want one or two additional games, you want to go for this option. Teams may also play ad hoc matches after they are eliminated from the playoffs or after their mini-tournament finishes.

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 30, 2014. The fee is $615 per team on or after May 1. Schools whose first qualifying event occurred after April 4, 2014, have until May 5 to register at the lower rate. The deadline to accept an invitation is May 24, or when the field fills, whichever comes first.

Teams that cancel on or after April 12, 2014, will be liable for one-tenth of the base registration fee. Teams that cancel on or after April 26, 2014, will be liable for one-half of the base registration fee. Those cancellation-fee deadlines notwithstanding, teams that register after April 5, 2014, will have a one-week grace period after they register to cancel with no penalty.

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

Teams bringing a working lockout system to the tournament will be eligible for a $40 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 attending both the HSNCT and the SSNCT will receive a $100 discount on their HSNCT entrance fee.

Teams may supply one or more qualified staffers for the tournament to earn discounts on their registration fees. Teams will receive a $50 discount for each staffer on Saturday and a $50 discount for each staffer on Sunday (for a total of $100 if the staffer works both days). Team staffers may be assigned as scorekeepers, control room staff, scoresheet checkers, or other roles at NAQT’s discretion; they will not have a chance to watch their team’s matches. The transportation, lodging, and all other expenses of team-supplied staffers will be borne by the team, not by NAQT. In addition, a team claiming this discount must still have at least one adult coach/chaperone with each team at all matches.

All team staffers must complete a short online training course (approximately 1 hour) provided by NAQT to receive the discount. This training must be completed by May 17 to receive the discount. Staffers that fail the training will be able to take it again; staffers that do not complete the training will lose their school’s discount (and potentially be subject to the staffer cancellation penalty). Team staffers who feel that the training requirement should be waived for them should e-mail hsnct@naqt.com with that request.

In addition to the above "trained" positions, NAQT needs a limited number of untrained "runners." These positions are Saturday-only, and they will earn their team a $50 discount. Runner positions are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Teams wishing to supply a runner must make this request on their registration and receive confirmation from NAQT; otherwise, all registered staff members must complete the online training to receive the discount.

A team may supply two different people to earn a single staff discount for Saturday; in such a case one must work all of the pre-lunch rounds and another all of the post-lunch rounds. Such an arrangement would earn a total discount of $50 for the two staffers’ work on Saturday.

The last day for a team to declare that it is bringing a staffer to the HSNCT is April 18, 2014. Team staffers suggested after that date may be accepted or rejected at NAQT’s discretion.

Teams that cancel a staffer (of any kind) after May 9, 2014, will not only forfeit the discount, but will be charged a $75 penalty to offset NAQT’s cost for finding a last-minute replacement.

In addition to earning discounts by bringing staffers to the HSNCT itself, schools may earn discounts on their HSNCT registration by staffing NAQT’s other national championships: the CCCT (completed), ICT (completed), SSNCT (Minneapolis), and MSNCT (Atlanta) according to the experimental cross-tournament discount program.

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 30. 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 to 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.


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-three teams will each receive a team trophy, and the members (and coach) of those teams will receive individual awards (up to six per team). 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 in eighth grade (or below) are not eligible for freshman Rising Star awards.

Players must have at least 120 tossups heard (approximately six games) to be eligible for individual awards.


Teams will want to fly into one of the two major Chicago airports, either O’Hare International (much more convenient; airport code ORD) or Midway International (much less convenient; code MDW). There is a free hotel shuttle that runs every 15 minutes to bring teams to and from O’Hare Airport (but not Midway).


The official hotel for the tournament has run out of double/double rooms. NAQT has established an overflow hotel for teams that need doubles/double rooms. Teams that want (single-bed) king rooms can still book at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare.

The official hotel for the tournament is the Hyatt Regency O’Hare itself. Quadruple-occupancy rooms (with two double beds) are available for $109 per night. To receive that rate, book online or mention "NAQT" when making a reservation over the phone. The last day to reserve rooms at this special price is May 10. Please note that there are two Hyatt hotels in Rosemont; the one hosting the tournament is the Regency O’Hare right next to the convention center.

Between the HSNCT and the other events scheduled for the Hyatt Regency O’Hare 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.

Parking is $5/day and includes in-and-out privileges. This includes buses.

As part of the contract negotiated by NAQT, the hotel will offer complimentary guest room Internet access to tournament participants and their families. This only applies to rooms booked using the NAQT group code.

The hotel has a complimentary shuttle to O’Hare. The cost of a taxi from Midway is approximately $35. For public transportation between Midway and the hotel (via the Orange and Blue ‘L’ train lines), the cost is $2.25 per person. Teams taking the ‘L’ should get off at the Rosemont exit, from which the hotel is easily walkable.

Hyatt Regency O’Hare
9300 Bryn Mawr Avenue
Rosemont, Illinois, USA 60018
Telephone: 847.696.1234
Fax: 847.698.0139

Overflow Hotel:

NAQT has arranged for the Crowne Plaza Chicago O’Hare to serve as an overflow hotel for this tournament.

The Crowne Plaza has king and (quadruple occupancy) queen/queen rooms available for $109/night. Parking is $5/day with in-and-out privileges and guest-room Internet access is complimentary. The hotel has a complimentary airport shuttle.

The Crowne Plaza is about one block south and one block west of the Main Entrance to the Hyatt Regency O’Hare. Here is a map showing the proper route to walk.

To make reservations at the overflow hotel, call 877.337.5793 and say that you are with the "NAQT" group. Teams can also make reservations online.

The last day to make reservations at the overflow hotel is May 20 (or when the block of rooms runs out, whichever comes first). Teams may cancel reservations without penalty more than 48 hours in advance.

The hotel’s address is:

Crowne Plaza Chicago O’Hare
5440 North River Road
Rosemont, Illinois 60018
Telephone: 877.337.5793 (reservations)
Fax: 847.671.5406


The Hyatt Regency O’Hare operates a complimentary shuttle between O’Hare airport and the hotel. Since the official hotel is also serving as the competition site, NAQT will not be providing additional shuttle or bus services.

Relationship to the SSNCT:

Small schools remain eligible and welcome to attend the HSNCT, but the HSNCT will no longer name a Top Small School as it did prior to 2014. The SSNCT and HSNCT will use different question sets, and a school that attends both will receive a $100 discount on its HSNCT registration fee.

Practice Questions:

Teams that have been invited to compete at the 2014 High School National Championship Tournament may be interested in purchasing the questions from previous years to prepare for the event. All 126 of NAQT’s past regular-season sets are available, as are the sets from all 15 past national championships.

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

Finally, teams may wish to look at the information contained in NAQT’s free You Gotta Know articles before the tournament. These detail important topics in a wide variety of areas.

Further Questions:

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

  • by e-mail at hsnct@naqt.com
  • by phone at 888‑411‑6278 (“NAQT”)
  • by fax at 413‑473‑1617
  • 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!