2020 Individual Player National Championship Tournament Logistics Information

The 2020 Individual Player National Championship Tournament (IPNCT), powered by LetterOne, will be held at the Hyatt Regency O'Hare in Rosemont, Illinois (near Chicago), on April 5, 2020. The 2019 IPNCT was also held at this site.

The IPNCT is NAQT’s championship tournament for individual players. It is split into two divisions: one for high school students and one for middle school students.

The field is full (in both divisions), but waitlist registration is open. No commitment is involved in joining the waitlist, and players will be notified promptly if a spot opens up. Contact us for more information on the likelihood of waitlisted players making it into the field.



    April 5, 2020 (Sunday). This is the same weekend (and site) as NAQT’s 2020 Intercollegiate Championship Tournament, but the IPNCT is a completely separate event.

    Participants will check in on Saturday, April 4.

    All gameplay will occur on Sunday, April 5.

    Presenting Sponsor

    NAQT is thrilled to have LetterOne as the presenting sponsor of the 2020 IPNCT (as well as the 2020 ICT and the 2020 HSNCT). 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 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.


    The Hyatt Regency O'Hare hotel in Rosemont, Illinois (near Chicago). This building is the official hotel, and it contains all of the competition rooms. An online floor plan (PDF) is available.


    This schedule is tentative.

    Saturday Evening

    Time Event Location Area
    7:00 – 9:30 p.m. Player check-inAtrium Lobby Level
    7:00 – 9:30 p.m. Staff check-inAtrium Lobby Level


    Time Event Location Area
    7:00 – 7:55 a.m. Secondary player check-inGrand Ballroom Registration Desk Entry Level
    7:45 – 8:15 a.m. Staff meetingTBD
    8:00 – 8:15 a.m. Player meetingGrand Ballroom, sections ABC Entry Level
    8:30 – 11:15 a.m. Group matches (rounds 1–3)Meeting rooms
    11:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. High school lunchOn your own
    11:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. Middle school group match (round 4)Meeting rooms
    12:15 – 1:15 p.m. Middle school lunchOn your own
    12:15 – 1:15 p.m. High school group match (round 4)Meeting rooms
    1:15 – 2:15 p.m. Group matches (round 5)Meeting rooms
    2:15 – 4:05 p.m. Head-to-head matches (rounds 6–11)Meeting rooms
    4:10 – 4:35 p.m. Middle school finals (round 12)Grand Ballroom, sections ABC Entry Level
    4:40 – 4:55 p.m. High school finals (round 13)Grand Ballroom, sections ABC Entry Level
    After finals AwardsGrand Ballroom, sections ABC Entry Level

    NAQT will start the finals (and awards) as soon as possible; 4:05 p.m. is an estimate of when they will begin (but it might be earlier or later).

    During the tournament, participants may text 213‑279‑6278 (“NAQT”) with questions; tournament staff will answer incoming messages as quickly as they can. Standard messaging rates apply.

    Information Desk

    During check-in on Saturday evening, NAQT will operate an Information Desk near the check-in tables. On Sunday, during the tournament itself, the Information Desk will be in the International Level atrium. The Information Desk should be the first destination for any questions about or issues with the tournament (other than protests, which must be lodged within the game room). NAQT will also be selling practice material 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.

    Gameplay Rules

    The tournament will use NAQT’s standard rules with the IPNCT modifications. In brief:


    The high school division is open to all players eligible to compete for their school (or homeschool) team according to NAQT’s High School Eligibility Rules; the middle school division is open to all players eligible to compete for their school (or homeschool) team according to NAQT’s Middle School Eligibility Rules.

    In general terms, this tournament is open to all students in grade 12 or below from any kind of school anywhere in the world. Players with special eligibility circumstances may e-mail eligibility@naqt.com for a ruling on their situations.


    There is no qualification procedure for the Individual Player National Championship Tournament. NAQT welcomes all players who want to see how their knowledge, anticipation, and buzzer speed stack up against the very best.


    The field for the High School Division is limited to 150 players; these players have registered. NAQT may expand the field depending on the level of interest and the availability of facilities and staff.

    The field for the Middle School Division is limited to 80 players; these players have registered. NAQT may expand the field depending on the level of interest and the availability of facilities and staff.


    The final format for each division will depend on the number of competitors.

    The format will be similar to that used in 2019, with players beginning in “group matches” involving 8–10 players (and 48–72 tossups). The results of those matches will be used to seed an elimination tournament in which the top players compete head-to-head on 24-tossup packets.

    The IPNCT format is based on the Hillemann Singles Format pioneered by NAQT Member Emeritus Eric Hillemann in 1997.

    Registration and Fees

    The field is full (in both divisions), but waitlist registration is open. No commitment is involved in joining the waitlist, and players will be notified promptly if a spot opens up. Contact us for more information on the likelihood of waitlisted players making it into the field.

    The registration fee is $180 per player.

    Registration will definitely close no later than April 3, but the field may fill earlier.

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


    In addition, as of Saturday, February 29, registrations will be considered final. Players who cancel on or after March 1 but before March 15 will still be liable for 50% of the registration fee. Players who cancel on or after March 15 (including no-shows) will be liable for the entire registration fee. Those deadlines notwithstanding, every player will have a one-week grace period from the day on which they register, during which they may cancel with no penalty. Failure to submit participation releases on time may be treated as a cancellation, including incurring a cancellation fee, at NAQT’s discretion.


    Once you have finished registering, click “View Cost.” Follow the page’s instructions to request an invoice (so we have the proper billing information), and you will be offered the opportunity to pay by credit card. If the information is not correct, write to billing@naqt.com with the details.

    You can also pay by sending a check, payable to “NAQT,” to

    National Academic Quiz Tournaments
    11521 W 69th Street
    Shawnee, KS 66203

    Spots in the field are not guaranteed until payment is received.


    The high school division will use the tossups from the Division II ICT set, plus perhaps additional (newly written) tossups. No bonuses will be used at this tournament. High school players unfamiliar with college-level questions may see a sample of a past year’s Division II ICT set.

    The middle school division will use a set of tossups newly written for this tournament that are at approximately the level of NAQT’s regular Invitational Series. These questions will be harder than NAQT’s past Middle School National Championship Tournament sets (but similar in difficulty to the questions used for the playoff rounds at the 2020 MSNCT). Middle school players may check out NAQT’s sample regular Invitational Series packet to get an idea of the likely difficulty.

    Participation Releases

    Every participant’s parent or legal guardian will be required to sign a participation release covering expectations, media coverage, etc. All players’ releases must be submitted to release@naqt.com by Sunday, March 29, 2020. Releases will be made available via the registration process.

    An example participation release is available.


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

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

    Checking In

    The primary check-in period will be from 7:00 to 9:30 p.m. in the Conference Center (Lobby Level) on Saturday, April 4. During this period NAQT will be distributing information folders, answering questions, verifying rosters, and taking care of other administrative matters. There is a late check-in period on Sunday morning, but NAQT would prefer that as many players as possible check in on Saturday night.

    To check in, each player (or their chaperone) should come to the check-in area to receive their information folder.

    In past years there has been a long line just after check-in opens, so we encourage players to keep an eye on the line and check in when the line is short. There is no need to check in immediately.

    Players that don’t arrive at the hotel until after 9:30 p.m. on Saturday may check in between 7:00 and 8:00 a.m. outside the opening meeting. Players that checked in on Saturday do not need to check in again on Sunday.

    Since the Intercollegiate Championship Tournament (ICT) is using many of the same questions on Saturday at the same site, no competitor (or coach or spectator with ties to a competitor) in the IPNCT may watch any part of the ICT, including the awards ceremony. This applies to both divisions of the ICT and players (etc.) in both divisions of the IPNCT.

    Standby List

    Potential competitors willing to travel to the tournament site without a guaranteed spot may sign up for the standby list. Such players will only play if a spot opens up, and if they play, they will play for free.


    In each division, all players who survive the elimination group matches and qualify for the head-to-head rounds will receive plaques. In addition, the top players in each subject area (history, literature, etc.) will also receive plaques.

    Each plaque will be personalized with the name of the competitor and have a list of his or her overall finish and top subject performances. These plaques will be ordered by NAQT following the tournament and shipped to the players who earned them.

    Consolation Group Matches

    Starting in Round 5, once some players have been eliminated, NAQT will make surplus rooms, staff, and buzzer systems available for consolation group matches for interested players. These will be organized informally, and there may not be enough spaces to accommodate all interested players in each round.



    Participants are strongly encouraged to fly into Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD), which is extremely close to the hotel. They may also fly into Chicago Midway International Airport (MDW), but it is much less convenient.

    Ground Transportation

    The hotel runs a free shuttle every 15 minutes to transport people from O’Hare to the hotel (and vice versa). There is no such shuttle for Midway. A taxi between Midway and the hotel will cost $35 or more, or you can take the CTA’s Orange and Blue Lines for $2.75 per person (getting on at the Midway Orange Line station, transferring to the Blue Line downtown, and getting off at the Rosemont Blue Line station, which is about one block from the hotel).

    Driving Directions

    The hotel’s address is 9300 Bryn Mawr Avenue, Rosemont, Illinois.


    Parking standard vehicles at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare costs $15/day, including in-and-out privileges. Participants traveling to the tournament in buses should contact the hotel in advance to discuss parking options.

    To receive the discounted parking rate, participants staying at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare should mention when checking into their guest rooms (not the tournament) that they have parked at the hotel and validate their ticket. Participants not staying at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare should use the manual validator box to validate their parking ticket at NAQT’s check-in desk (Saturday) or at the Information Desk (Sunday). Do not use the manual validator box if you are an overnight guest of the hotel!


    The Hyatt Regency O’Hare (9300 Bryn Mawr Avenue, Rosemont, Illinois) is both the official hotel and the competition site for the tournament.

    Rooms with one king bed are available for $117 per night; rooms with two double beds are available for $125 per night. To receive this rate, rooms must be booked using NAQT’s group reservation link before March 16, 2020 (and before the room block fills).

    You may book online or mention “NAQT” when making a reservation over the phone. Please note that there are two Hyatt hotels in Rosemont; the one hosting the tournament is the Hyatt Regency O’Hare next to the convention center.

    Note that the hotel has only a single room block for both the ICT and the IPNCT; you should not be concerned by the fact that you are booking as part of a guest-room block named for the ICT.)

    Participants that book rooms as part of NAQT’s official block are guaranteed to have free wireless Internet access in their guest rooms and in the public areas (but not in the meeting rooms).


    The hotel’s O’H American Grill serves most meals, often with an all-you-can-eat buffet.

    There is a food court with a variety of typical food-court-style restaurants at the Fashion Outlets of Chicago mall at 5220 Fashion Outlets Way. To get to the Fashion Outlets from the hotel, walk west on Bryn Mawr, turn left onto River Road, then turn right onto Balmoral Avenue until you get to Fashion Outlets Way. The food court is a 15-minute walk from the hotel.

    There are also several restaurants offering more formal dining at the Parkway Bank Park at Rosemont (formerly MB Financial Park). These are more suited for evening meals and are a twelve-minute walk away.

    Participants can also order carry-out or delivery from local restaurants.

    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 tournament staff are available to hear reports about problematic behavior and comments by anyone at the tournament.

    Staff wearing blue ribbons that say “Advocate” have been specifically selected to receive reports about inappropriate behavior (as opposed to run-of-the-mill questions about the quiz bowl aspects of the tournament). At least one such staff member will generally be available at the Information Desk during tournament hours; if no such person is available (e.g., due to being on a break), the other Information Desk staff can be asked to have a senior tournament official come to the Information Desk to hear the report. Additional Advocate Program staff will be available in many places around the tournament site.

    Feedback about problematic behavior can, of course, always be sent to NAQT by e-mail (advocate@naqt.com) or other channels such as the Misconduct Reporting Form, but the Advocate Program is intended to allow for in-person reporting of sensitive complaints on-site so they can be handled immediately.

    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 purchasing 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 purchase 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 and all parts of the tournament. No registration or tickets are required.


    Chicago has a variety of world-class attractions that should appeal to anybody, especially to quiz bowlers!

    The easiest way to reach most of Chicago’s downtown attractions is to ride the Chicago Transit Authority’s (CTA’s) ‘L’ trains, for which there is a stop within easy walking distance of the hotel: Exit the hotel and walk west on Bryn Mawr; turn right on River Road and pass under I-190 and the CTA tracks. The entrance to Rosemont station on the CTA Blue Line will be on your right. Board trains bound for “Loop” or “Forest Park” (not for O’Hare!) for the 35-minute ride into downtown Chicago.

    Once you’re downtown, the Art Institute of Chicago (Blue Line to Monroe, walk 1 block south to Adams and 3 blocks west) features dozens of tossup-worthy works, including Nighthawks and American Gothic, and adjoins both Millennium Park and Grant Park, home to Cloud Gate (“The Bean”) and Buckingham Fountain. Just a bit further south is the Museum Campus (Blue Line to Jackson, walk 1 block east to State Street and Jackson and catch bus 146 toward Museum Campus), which is home to three major institutions: the Shedd Aquarium, the Field Museum of Natural History, and the historic Adler Planetarium, which was the first planetarium in the Americas.

    The Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower; Blue Line to Jackson, walk 4 blocks west) offers stunning views of the Chicago skyline; so does 875 North Michigan Avenue (formerly the John Hancock Center; Blue Line to Chicago station, bus 66 toward Navy Pier), located on Michigan Avenue in the heart of famed Magnificent Mile. Further afield are the Lincoln Park Zoo (Blue Line to Western, bus 73 to Clark/North), the Chicago History Museum (5 minutes walk from the zoo), and the Museum of Science and Industry (Blue Line to Jackson, walk 1 block east to State Street and Jackson and catch bus 6 toward 79th/South Shore), which is housed in a structure originally built for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition.

    Social Media

    The official hashtag for the tournament is ipnct; 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 anyone else at all.

    We will post highlights from the tournament on NAQT’s social media, especially Twitter (@NAQTLive) and Instagram (@NAQTqb).

    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, maps of the venue, help reaching the Information Desk, 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 IPNCT, e-mail ipnct@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!