2021 High School National Championship Tournament Logistics Information

The 2021 High School National Championship Tournament (HSNCT), powered by LetterOne, was held online on May 29–30, 2021.

The HSNCT is NAQT’s overall championship tournament for high school teams. There is also a High School Individual Player National Championship Tournament for individuals on Sunday, April 10 and a Small School National Championship Tournament for teams from Small Schools.



    May 29–30, 2021 (Saturday–Sunday).

    The tournament’s preliminary games will take place on Saturday, and the playoff games will take place on Sunday.

    Presenting Sponsor

    NAQT is thrilled to have LetterOne as the presenting sponsor of the 2021 HSNCT (as well as the 2021 ICT). LetterOne is a partnership of successful entrepreneurs and former CEOs aiming to create one of the world’s pre-eminent international investment firms. LetterOne believes quiz bowl encourages the team-based, innovative thinking that is valuable to the next generation of business leaders in the face of a new industrial revolution in which social media, robotics, 3D manufacturing, artificial intelligence, and new trade corridors are altering the landscape.


    Online, via Zoom and in accordance with the rest of NAQT’s Online Tournament Guide.

    To promote confidence in the integrity of online competition, NAQT has established an Integrity Policy for Online National Championships that establishes requirements for players while they are active. All players and coaches should read the policy, and all players should be prepared to comply with it during gameplay.

    Technical Requirements

    Players should read and must follow the rules and procedures in NAQT’s Online Tournament Guide. This includes, but is not limited to, the requirements that players must…

    Furthermore, we very strongly recommend that players…

    In addition to the requirements of the Online Tournament Guide, for this tournament:


    This schedule is final.

    All times are listed in Central time.

    Saturday (Preliminary Rounds)

    Time Event
    8:00 – 8:50 a.m. Staff meeting
    8:30 – 8:50 a.m. Team meeting
    8:55 a.m. Be in your Round 1 Zoom room
    9:00 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. Rounds 1–4
    12:15 – 1:15 p.m. Lunch
    1:15 – 5:45 p.m. Rounds 5–10

    Sunday (Playoff Rounds)

    Time Event
    8:30 – 8:50 a.m. Staff meeting
    8:55 a.m. Be in your Round 11 Zoom room
    9:00 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. Rounds 11–14
    12:15 – 1:00 p.m. Lunch
    1:00 – 4:45 p.m. Rounds 15–19
    4:45 – 5:00 p.m. Break
    5:00 p.m. Finals

    Frequently Asked Questions

    NAQT has prepared answers to frequently asked questions about its national championships.

    Rules and Eligibility

    Gameplay will follow the Official NAQT Rules as modified for online play. Player eligibility is governed by the High School Eligibility Rules.

    Qualification and Registration

    Registration is limited to invited teams through Sunday, March 21. Beginning Monday, March 22 at midnight Central time, any high school may register, with a limit of two teams per school. Beginning Monday, April 4 at midnight Central time, the two-teams-per-school limit will be lifted and any high school may register any number of teams (subject to a cap on the total field size).

    Because of the open registration window, there is no wildcard process for this tournament. Teams who do not receive invitations based on their performance may register on or after March 22.


    These teams attended the tournament.


    The preliminary rounds (Rounds 1–10, the entirety of Saturday) will take place using power-matching, also known as “the card system.” That is, each team’s opponents (after their first game) will depend on their performance in previous rounds, and teams will always face opponents with the same record or as near to the same record as possible. In the preliminary rounds, each team will play eight games and have two byes. Because of the card system, it is not possible to know each team’s opponents or Zoom rooms in advance.

    Teams who finish with a winning record in the preliminary rounds (5–3 or better) will make double-elimination playoffs, which will occur on Sunday. The playoff bracket will be seeded by win-loss record followed by points per tossup heard. Depending on how many teams make the playoffs, some teams may receive byes.

    All teams eliminated in the same round of the playoffs will be considered tied. Teams who did not make the playoffs will be ranked (behind teams who made the playoffs) by win-loss record followed by points per tossup heard.

    Registration and Fees

    Registration has closed.

    The registration fee is $650 per team.

    The registration fee only covers participation in the tournament. It does not cover equipment or other expenses.


    Payment is due by the beginning of the tournament. NAQT strongly prefers payment prior to tournament check-in but also accepts payments at check-in. Schools that will be unable to pay by this time (typically for reasons related to school bureaucracies) should discuss their situation with NAQT well in advance.

    NAQT may specify earlier payment deadlines for specific teams, especially those for which the school is not paying.

    NAQT will send invoices well in advance of the tournament. If you would like to pay or request an invoice earlier, once you have entered all the information that can affect costs (but not necessarily entered your roster), at the bottom of your registration page, click “View Cost.” Verify that the listed information is correct, and if so, follow the instructions to request an invoice so that we have the proper billing information. You will also be offered the opportunity to pay by credit card.

    Checks, payable to “NAQT,” should be sent to

    National Academic Quiz Tournaments, LLC
    11521 W 69th St
    Shawnee, KS 66203–3749

    Please send questions about billing to billing@naqt.com.


    Teams who cancel their registration between March 13 and May 16 (inclusive) will owe a cancellation fee of $325 (half of the registration fee). Teams who cancel their registration on or after May 17, or who fail to show up to the tournament, will owe a cancellation fee of $487.50 (75% of the registration fee). These deadlines notwithstanding, teams will always have a seven-day grace period after registering during which they can cancel without incurring a fee.

    Failure to submit participation agreements on time may be treated as a cancellation, including incurring a cancellation fee, at NAQT’s discretion.

    Participation Releases

    Every player’s parent or legal guardian will be required to sign a participation release covering expectations, media coverage, etc. All releases must be submitted to release@naqt.com by Saturday, May 22, 2021. Release forms will be made available via the registration process.

    If you’re not sure of your roster in advance, enter everyone who might play and submit releases for all of them. It’s fine to drop players, but if a player’s release is not submitted on time, they may not play. For the purposes of participation releases, it doesn’t matter which team from your school they’re on (if you enter multiple teams).

    Please be sure that the signer initials the first page in the lower-right corner!

    An example participation release is available.


    Every team must have a chaperone, subject to the following rules:

    All players’ parents/guardians must affirm (via the participation agreement) that they accept their child’s team’s chaperone and the chaperone’s role of responsibility.

    Teams who wish to request a variance from the chaperone policy should write to NAQT at hsnct@naqt.com well in advance of the tournament to discuss their situation.


    The top 30 teams will each receive one plaque, one medal for each player, and one medal for the coach. These will be sent to one address specified by the team.

    The top 30 scorers (by points per tossup heard in the preliminary rounds) will each receive a medal. For players on teams that receive plaques, the medals will be sent with the team awards. For players not on such teams, the medals will be shipped to the players.

    Advocate Program

    Because NAQT believes that quiz bowl is an activity for everybody, and in which all participants should feel welcome and respected, we have established the Advocate Program to make sure select tournament staff are available to hear reports about problematic behavior and comments by anyone at the tournament.

    Please send concerns to advocate@naqt.com, ideally as soon as practical after any incident.

    There are other suitable channels for reporting concerns, such as the Misconduct Reporting Form, but the Advocate Program is intended to allow for immediate reporting of sensitive complaints so they can be handled during the tournament.

    Reports are confidential to the extent permitted by law and NAQT’s agreements to share critical information with other quiz bowl organizations.

    Practice Material

    Participants may be interested in practicing on questions from previous years to prepare for the event. All of NAQT’s past regular-season sets are available, as are the sets from previous championships.

    Participants may also want to study frequency lists, Power Up study guides, and/or Thumbs Up! question anthologies. These are also available on our practice materials page.

    Finally, participants may 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.


    Spectators are welcome to attend any part of the tournament.

    Prospective spectators should read NAQT’s advice for spectators of online tournaments. To ensure the quality of the tournament experience for players, spectators may be removed from games if they are disruptive or if the moderator believes that their presence is degrading audio or video quality.

    No registration or tickets are required for spectators.

    Social Media

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

    Remember that question content for the championship cannot be posted online (or shared through other channels)! This means that players, 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).

    NAQT Nationals app logo

    Companion Mobile App

    NAQT has created a companion mobile app for attendees. The app includes the tournament schedule (with the ability to set reminders for various events), links to results, connections to social media, and other important documents related to the tournament.

    Download on the App Store Get it on Google Play

    Further Questions

    To ask specific questions about the HSNCT, write to hsnct@naqt.com.

    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 participants’ plans. If something’s not clear, let us know!

    2021 High School National Championship Tournament

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