2017 High School National Championship Tournament

NAQT is pleased to announce that its 2017 High School National Championship Tournament will be held at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis hotel in Atlanta, GA, on May 26–28, 2017.

Note that NAQT also runs a Small School National Championship Tournament for small high schools. 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. (Small schools are welcome to attend the HSNCT, even if they also attend the SSNCT!)

Registration has closed.


May 26–28, 2017 (Friday–Sunday). This is Memorial Day weekend.

Teams will check in on Friday, May 26, and have the opportunity to meet each other and play scrimmage matches on official NAQT questions. The tournament’s preliminary games will take place on Saturday, and its 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 Atlanta Marriott Marquis hotel in Atlanta, Georgia. This building is the official guest-room hotel, and it also contains most of the competition rooms (a few competition rooms are across a skyway in the adjacent Hilton Atlanta).


This schedule is final. It was last updated on May 24.

Friday (evening)
1:00 – 5:00 p.m.Early Buzzer Bonus intakeImperial Ballroom Registration Desk (Marquis Level)
5:00 p.m. (or upon arrival)Staff check-inRoom A601 (Atrium Level)
6:00 – 9:30 p.m.Team check-inMarquis Ballroom Foyer (Marquis Level)
6:00 – 9:30 p.m.Scrimmage organizationImperial Ballroom Registration Desk
7:00 – 8:00 a.m.Late-arrival team check-inMarquis Ballroom Foyer (Marquis Level)
7:30 a.m.Late-arrival staff check-inRoom A601 (Atrium Level)
7:40 a.m.All staff check-inRoom A601 (Atrium Level)
8:00 – 8:45 a.m.Staff meetingRoom A601 (Atrium Level)
8:15 – 8:35 a.m.Players’ and coaches’ meetingMarquis Ballroom (Marquis Level)
9:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.Rounds 1–7Throughout the hotel
12:30 – 2:00 p.m.Lunch (not provided)
2:00 – 7:00 p.m.Rounds 8–16Throughout the hotel
After Round 15Consolation mini-tournament sign-upInformation Desk (Marquis Registration Desk, Marquis Level)
8:00 p.m.QANTA demonstration matchMarquis Ballroom B
7:00 a.m.Playoff pairings postedInformation Desk (Marquis Registration Desk, Marquis Level)
7:00 – 8:15 a.m.Playoff card pick-upImperial Ballroom Registration Desk (Marquis Level)
8:00 – 8:30 a.m.Staff meetingRoom A601 (Atrium Level)
8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.Rounds 17–22Throughout the hotel
8:30 – 8:45 a.m.Consolation mini-tournament launchRegistration Desk near A708 (Atrium Level)
9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.Ad-hoc consolation organizationRegistration Desk near A708
12:00 – 1:00 p.m.Lunch (not provided)
1:00 p.m.Team lockout system return beginsImperial Ballroom Registration Desk
1:00 p.m.Question distribution beginsImperial Ballroom Registration Desk
1:00 – 2:20 p.m.Rounds 23–24Ballrooms
2:20 p.m.Finals (1 or 2 games)Marquis Ballroom A–C (Marquis Level)
After finalsAwardsMarquis Ballroom A–C
5:00 – 11:00 p.m.ACRONYMImperial Ballroom Foyer

On Saturday morning teams should be in the Marquis Ballroom by 8:10 a.m.

A printable Time and Place Guide is available.

Information Desk:

Starting Friday evening, NAQT will operate an Information Desk at the Marquis Registration Desk on the Marquis Level. The Information Desk will be in contact with all control rooms and the stat room throughout the day, and should be the first place teams go with any question about the tournament (with the exception of in-game protests). NAQT will also be selling practice questions and tournament T-shirts at the Information Desk. If teams pre-ordered T-shirts, they can be picked up at the Information Desk.

Participants may also text 213‑279‑6278 (“NAQT”) with questions if it is inconvenient for them to get to the Information Desk (standard messaging rates apply). Tournament staff will answer incoming messages as quickly as they can. This number is only for text messages, not calls. Call 888‑411‑6278 (“NAQT”) to speak to a member of tournament staff.

Note that one question the Information Desk cannot (easily) help with is “Where is my team currently playing?” As a result of the power-matched format, NAQT cannot quickly locate teams during the day faster than calling or texting the mobile number provided for the chaperone. We will, of course, do our utmost to find lost teams (or lost players), but it won’t be a quick process (and probably no quicker than just calling the chaperone directly). Make sure your players and chaperones ]have each others' numbers in their phones before the first round begins.


Schools qualify to send teams to the HSNCT through their performance at tournaments using NAQT questions that are held throughout the year.

Registration has closed.


The field for the tournament is limited to 304 teams.

Online registration has opened; the current field is listed here.


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 Imperial Ballroom Registration 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.

The 2017 HSNCT Format Guide (PDF) provides a more in-depth discussion of the format. There are slight changes from last year in how the final, cross-bracket games in the playoffs will be handled.

Teams whose travel schedules put them in danger of missing the beginning of the first round on Saturday morning may request a first-round bye by e-mailing NAQT. There is no guarantee that NAQT will be able to honor such requests, and NAQT strongly recommends that teams make travel plans that will get them to the tournament site by 7:30 a.m. on Saturday.


Registration has closed.

The registration fee is $675 per team if payment is received on or before May 5, 2017. The fee is $695 per team on or after May 6. Schools that did not qualify until after April 1 have until May 12 to register at the lower rate. The deadline to accept an invitation is May 19, or when the field fills, whichever comes first.

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. The field for the 2016 HSNCT filled around March 1 (though a number of teams were promoted from the waitlist after that).

One week after the field closes (and the waitlist starts), teams that withdraw from the tournament will be liable for 50% of the base registration fee as a cancellation penalty. In addition, even if the field has not closed, teams that cancel on or after April 15 will be liable for one-tenth of the base registration fee; teams that cancel on or after May 1 will be liable for one-half of the base registration fee; and teams that cancel on or after May 20 will be liable for 75% of the base registration fee. Those deadlines notwithstanding, every team will have a one-week grace period from the time of its registration during which it may cancel with no penalty.

The registration fee only covers participation in 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 $20 discount on the registration fee if it meets NAQT’s national-championship standards. There may be some surprises in that policy! Please read it in advance to make sure your system qualifies. Each team may claim up to two such discounts. NAQT will only award the discount for lockout systems that it can keep from check-in until 1:00 p.m. Sunday. If a team anticipates leaving before that, we would prefer to use (and discount) a different system to avoid inconveniencing that team and ourselves.

NAQT will also be paying a $20 cash “Early Buzzer Bonus” for every buzzer system dropped off between 1:00 and 5:00 p.m. Friday at the Imperial Ballroom Registration Desk. It is valuable for us to get buzzers early (so we can test them and have them ready for scrimmage rounds), and we are willing to pay for that. A team can thus get a total of $40 for each of its buzzers ($20 discount, $20 Early Buzzer Bonus), assuming it lists them on its registration form and drops them off between 1:00 and 5:00 on Friday. The bonus will be paid immediately, in cash, to whomever drops the buzzer off. Early Buzzer Bonus payments will stop sharply at 5:00 p.m.

NAQT will begin returning team lockout systems at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday (and not before, except in emergencies). As mentioned above, this might make it impractical for teams planning to leave as soon as they are eliminated to receive lockout-system discounts (as their systems will not have been returned at that point). Teams should plan on picking up their systems prior to 4:30 p.m. on Sunday. If a team is unable to do that, it should make prior arrangements with NAQT for the disposition of the system. Lockout systems will be returned from the Imperial Ballroom Registration Desk.

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 12 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.

Teams cannot “split” a single staff discount across two people: Each daily staff discount must be earned by a single staffer. (But it is perfectly fine to have one person earn a discount for working (all of) Saturday and another person earn a discount for working (all of) Sunday.)

The last day for a team to declare that it is bringing a staffer to the HSNCT is April 10. Team staffers suggested after that date may be accepted or rejected at NAQT’s discretion.

Teams that cancel a staffer (of any kind) after April 24, will not only forfeit the discount, but will be charged a $75 penalty to offset NAQT’s cost for finding a 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 (Minneapolis), ICT (Chicago), SSNCT (Chicago), and MSNCT (Dallas) according to our cross-tournament discount program.

As of May 19, the tournament is fully staffed and NAQT is no longer offering additional discounts for team staffers (who had not been added to registration forms prior to May 19).

The registration fee includes the right for each team to pick up most of the competition set to use as practice material in future years. Teams can pick up their copies of the first 22 packets of the competition set starting at 1:00 p.m. at the Imperial Ballroom Registration Desk. Teams that want the remaining packets can pay $5 to have them shipped after the tournament completes. Teams that don’t pick up packets on-site can pay $10 to have the entire set shipped. At previous championships, no packets were available until after the final match had been completed; NAQT hopes that most teams will be able to pick up the bulk of their questions before leaving the tournament site.

Team rosters may be changed at any time prior to the start of the HSNCT, so it is neither necessary nor desirable to wait to register until a team’s composition has been definitively decided. Register as soon as possible and, if necessary, update the registration when the composition of a team changes.

Checking In:

NAQT will be checking teams in, disbursing information folders, answering questions, and handling outstanding administrative matters between 6:00 and 9:30 p.m. in the Marquis Foyer (on the Marquis Level) on Friday, May 26. After teams arrive at the hotel on Friday night, one coach or chaperone should go to the check-in area. That representative will be given the team’s information folder. Team members are encouraged to take advantage of the social and practice opportunities on Friday night.

Check-in will start at 6:00. Historically, there is a long line just after the check-in desk opens, so we encourage chaperones to glance at the line every 20-30 minutes and to come (without their team!) to check in when it is short. There is no good reason to check in immediately! In particular, teams can play scrimmage rounds even if they have not checked in. There is no problem with a team arriving at the hotel at 6:40, playing a scrimmage game, grabbing dinner, playing another scrimmage game, and then checking in at 9:10 when there is nobody in line.

Remember that NAQT is paying an additional “Early Buzzer Bonus” of $20 for lockout systems that are dropped off between 1:00 and 5:00 p.m. Regardless of when you choose to check in, please consider dropping off your systems during this window to earn yourself a little extra cash and to help us make sure we have everything ready for scrimmages to begin at 6:00.

Team-provided staffers should check-in in Room A601 (Atrium Level) at 5:00 p.m. (or as soon as possible after they arrive, assuming they arrive before 9:30 p.m.).

Teams that don’t arrive at the hotel until after 9:30 p.m. on Friday may check in between 7:00 and 8:00 a.m. in the Marquis Ballroom Foyer (Marquis Level). Teams that checked in on Friday do not need to check in again on Saturday.


Between 6:00 and 9:30 p.m. on Friday night, game rooms will be set up for teams to scrimmage against each other on questions from previous championships. 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.

Teams that want to participate in the scrimmages should go to the Imperial Ballroom Registration Desk. Note that a team does not need to have checked in to be allowed to scrimmage.

Scrimmages will be organized by means of “scrimmage tickets”: When a team shows up to the scrimmage desk, it will be given a ticket listing a room and a time; that team should go to that room and be prepared to play at that time. The majority of tickets will be for games that start within 5-15 minutes, but it is possible that there could be a 30-to-45-minute wait during the busiest periods. If a team wants to play another match, it should return to the scrimmage desk to get another ticket after its game finishes.

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.

QANTA Demonstration Match:

In 2015 the artificial intelligence QANTA and a team of quiz-show champions put on a thrilling contest that ended in disappointment for everyone—a draw! The 2016 contest was a resounding victory for humanity, but we’re putting it on the line again for another rematch at 8:00 on Saturday evening in the Marquis Ballroom, section B.


The top 40 teams will each receive a team trophy, and the members and coach of those teams will receive individual awards (up to five per team).

The top 36 individual scorers will receive All-Star awards, the top 8 freshmen will receive Rising Star Awards, and the top 8 sophomores will receive Rising Star Awards. These awards will be determined by points per tossup heard, in the preliminary rounds only, among players who heard at least 120 tossups (approximately six games’ worth). Players in eighth grade and below are not eligible for Rising Star awards.

Team trophies (and the individual trophies for their members) for teams that finished tied for 15th place or below will be handed out immediately following the game in which the team is eliminated (in the game room, by the moderators). The trophies for the top 14 teams and for the All-Stars and Rising Stars will be given out at the Awards Ceremony.

If a team needs to leave prior to the award ceremony, it can pick up All-Star or Rising Star awards earned by its members at the Information Desk.

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 moderated by tournament staff. 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 registration desk near Room A708 (Marquis Level) at 8:30 a.m. on Sunday.

Two kinds of consolation rounds will be offered:

  • Mini-tournaments. These will be three-, four-, or five-round power-matched events that run relatively efficiently, but they involve a commitment to stay for all of the rounds. Teams can sign up for on Saturday evening (starting as soon as Round 15 ends) at the Information Desk. 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 Saturday. Teams in mini-tournaments should arrive at the registration desk outside Room A708 by 8:30 a.m. on Sunday to ensure that their events start on time.
  • Ad hoc matches. These 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. Ad hoc matches will be organized at the registration desk outside Room A708 after the mini-tournaments have been launched. Teams interested in ad hoc matches should also show up by 8:30 a.m.

If rooms, buzzers, or staffers run short, consolation mini-tournaments will be given priority over ad hoc matches.

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.

ACRONYM Popular Culture Side Event:

NAQT has arranged with Erik Nelson of Play Quiz Bowl to host a mirror of its ACRONYM popular culture tournament as a “side event” on Sunday evening. This event is not part of the official championship and is entirely optional.

The mirror is open to all people at the national championship including players, coaches, parents, and staffers (assuming they haven’t played the ACRONYM X question set at a prior tournament!). People affiliated with schools may mix-and-match to form chimera teams. There is a separate registration fee ($90) for the ACRONYM mirror. Most side events have a lenient registration policy that allows teams to sign up immediately prior to an event’s start, but NAQT suspects that the ACRONYM field will fill (and thus encourages teams to register as soon as they can commit).

The tournament will have two divisions, one for teams composed entirely of high schoolers and another that is open to all competitors (of any age).

More information about the side event has been posted on hsquizbowl.org and questions can be directed to Erik Nelson.

Registration for ACRONYM closed on May 23.


Teams should fly into Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport (airport code ATL).

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. More information about taking MARTA is available below.


The official hotel for the tournament is completely full.

The official hotel for the tournament is the Atlanta Marriott Marquis hotel. 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 15. Note that there are several Marriott hotels in the Atlanta area; make sure you are reserving rooms at the Marriott Marquis in downtown Atlanta!

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 $16/day and includes in-and-out privileges. The hotel only offers valet parking, so teams should be prepared to hand over their keys in exchange for a valet ticket when they reach the hotel. You will need this ticket (and your room number) to retrieve your car. Note that parked cars will not be easily accessible, so teams should remove everything they will need before parking.

Teams parking at the Marriott Marquis but not staying overnight can follow the same procedure, except that they will need to pay when retrieving their car (as they have no room to which the charge can be billed). They will also need to verbally identify themselves as "with NAQT" to get the discounted rate. If they are planning to return that same day, they can request a "sticker" from the valet staff to prevent them from having to pay a second time on the same day.

Buses cannot be parked in the hotel lot. The hotel has provided a list of nearby lots that allow bus parking. Buses can drop off at the hotel, but they will need to park elsewhere.

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 standard check-out time at the Marriot Marquis is 11:00 a.m. Teams that are not staying Sunday night should make sure to check out of their rooms prior to the beginning of their playoff games or consolation mini-tournaments on Sunday morning.

Atlanta Marriott Marquis
265 Peachtree Center Avenue
Atlanta, GA 30303
Telephone: 404-521-0000
Fax: 404-586-6128

Food Options:

The Atlanta Marriott Marquis is connected by a skyway to a 60-restaurant food court at the Peachtree Center at which any kind of inexpensive meal (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.

Airport Transportation:

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. 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. It is a 20-minute trip.

Taking the MARTA train costs $5 per person round trip (plus $2 per person for a re-usable Breeze Card). To reach the Marriott Marquis, take a northbound Red Line or Gold Line train (it doesn't matter which one) from the airport to Peachtree Center Station (one stop north of the Five Points transfer station). After getting off the train, take the escalator labeled "Harris Street" to the mezzanine, then follow the signs to "Peachtree Street East" after walking through the fare gate. At street level, turn right (north) on Peachtree Street then right (east) on Harris Street/John Portman Blvd. The hotel is one block down at the intersection of Harris Street/John Portman Blvd. and Peachtree Center Ave. Here is a map of the walking directions. Between roughly 8 a.m. and 6 p.m., you can also walk through the Peachtree Center and cross the skyway to the Marriott Marquis.


The Atlanta Marriott Marquis 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.

Social Media

The official hashtag for the tournament is #hsnct; please use this tag for all messages about the tournament.

Remember that question content for the championship cannot be posted online (or shared through other channels)! This means that team members, coaches, spectators, and moderators should not discuss clues, answers, or even overall themes (e.g., “Lots of opera”) with people on other teams (even those from the same school).

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 2017 High School National Championship Tournament may be interested in purchasing the questions from previous years to prepare for the event. All 156 of NAQT’s past regular-season sets are available, as are the sets from all 18 past national championships.

Teams may also want to purchase frequency list or Power Up study guides from NAQT. 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.


Registration fees and discounts are listed above. Make checks payable to “NAQT” and send them to Chad Kubicek, 11521 W 69th Street, Shawnee, KS 66203. If you wish to pay by credit card, call us at 888‑411‑6278 (“NAQT”).

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!