2021 High School Individual Player National Championship Tournament Logistics Information

The 2021 High School Individual Player National Championship Tournament (HS IPNCT) was held online on April 11, 2021.

The HS IPNCT is NAQT’s championship tournament for individual high school players. There are also the team-based High School National Championship Tournament on May 29–30 and Small School National Championship Tournament on April 24–25 as well as a Middle School IPNCT on Sunday, April 25.

Tournament Atrium



    April 11, 2021 (Sunday). This is the same weekend (and, in large part, questions) as NAQT’s 2021 Intercollegiate Championship Tournament, but the HS IPNCT is a completely separate event; no player may play both.


    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.

    Time Event
    8:20 – 8:50 a.m. Staff meeting
    8:40 – 8:55 a.m. Player meeting
    8:55 a.m. Be in your Round 1 Zoom room
    9:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon Rounds 1–3
    12:00 noon – 1:00 p.m. Break (Lunch)
    1:00 – 4:00 p.m. Rounds 4–6
    4:00 – 4:20 p.m. Break
    4:20 – 5:20 p.m. Round 7 (Semifinals)
    5:20 – 6:45 p.m. Round 8 (Finals)

    Gameplay Rules

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


    The tournament is open to all players eligible to compete for their school (or homeschool) team according to NAQT’s High School Eligibility Rules.


    There is no qualification procedure for the High School Individual Player National Championship Tournament. NAQT welcomes all players who want to see how their knowledge stacks up against the very best.


    These players attended the tournament.


    The tournament will consist entirely of group matches, in which up to nine players compete in each room. (Unlike in previous years, there will be no head-to-head matches.) There are special gameplay rules for group matches (in addition to the rules modifications for online play).

    All players will compete in Rounds 1–6. The top thirty players from those matches will advance to the semifinals (Round 7), and the top eight players from those matches will advance to the finals (Round 8).

    Within each game, players will be ranked by the order in which they buzz out (by reaching a specified score), or if they do not buzz out, by other criteria, starting with points earned in that game. The threshold to buzz out is 60 points in Round 1 and 90 points in subsequent rounds (except the finals).

    Round 1: 44 tossups
    The players will be seeded and placed into fourteen game rooms of balanced strength.
    Round 2: 66 tossups
    The game rooms will be balanced in strength based on players’ Round 1 performances.
    Round 3: 66 tossups
    The game rooms will not be balanced in strength so as to make finer distinctions between players with similar performances thus far.
    Lunch is after Round 3.
    Round 4: 66 tossups (elimination matches)
    The game rooms will be balanced in strength based on players’ Round 3 performances. In each game, up to four players may buzz out; once four players have buzzed out, the remaining players will play for the rest of the game. The top five players in each game will remain in contention for the championship; the other players will have been eliminated from contention (but will continue playing in Rounds 5 and 6).
    If at the end of this round there is a tie among players who have not buzzed out, and the tie determines who will be eliminated from championship contention, the tie will be broken by further play (three tossups, followed by sudden death if the tie remains). Other than this, players will be ranked within each game the same way as they were in previous rounds.
    Round 5: 66 tossups (elimination matches in some rooms)
    Eight rooms will contain players who remain in contention for the championship. In each of these rooms, at most five players may buzz out, and the top six players will remain in contention for the championship.
    In the other rooms, there is no limit on how many players may buzz out.
    Round 6: 66 tossups (elimination matches in some rooms)
    Six rooms will contain players who remain in contention for the championship. In each of these rooms, at most four players may buzz out, and the top five players will remain in contention for the championship.
    In the other rooms, there is no limit on how many players may buzz out. The other rooms are split into two tiers, one of higher-scoring players and one of lower-scoring players (based on previous rounds).
    Round 7: 66 tossups (semifinals)
    At this point, 30 players remain in contention for the championship. They will be split into four rooms. In each game, at most one player may buzz out, and the top two players will advance to the finals.
    Round 8: 72 tossups (finals)
    At this point, eight players remain in contention for the championship and will play in a single game. There is no buzzing out.
    After 24 tossups, the player with the lowest score will be eliminated. Every 8 tossups after this, the remaining player with the lowest score will be eliminated. Other than after 72 tossups, if there is a tie for the lowest-scoring player, the standard statistical tiebreakers will be used. If after 72 tossups there is a tie, standard gameplay tiebreakers will be used (three tossups, followed by sudden death if the tie remains).

    The eight players in the finals will be ranked by their performance in that game. The 22 other players who made the semifinals will be ranked (starting at #9) based on their rank within their semifinal games, so there will be four-way ties for most of those positions. The 18 players who were eliminated from contention in Round 6 will be ranked (starting at #31) by their order of finish within their Round 6 games. The 28 players in the four upper-tier rooms in Round 6 will be ranked (starting at #49) by their rank within their Round 6 games. The 36 players in the four lower-tier rooms in Round 6 will be ranked (starting at #77) by their rank within their Round 6 games.

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

    Registration and Fees

    Registration has closed.

    The registration fee is $220 per player.

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


    Players who cancel their registration between March 8 and March 21 (inclusive) will owe a cancellation fee of $110 (half of the registration fee). Players who cancel their registration on or after March 22, or who fail to show up to the tournament, will owe a cancellation fee of $220 (the full amount of the registration fee). These deadlines notwithstanding, players 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.


    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, LLC
    11521 W 69th St
    Shawnee, KS 66203–3749

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


    The tournament will use the tossups from the Division II Intercollegiate Championship Tournament question set, plus perhaps additional (newly written) tossups. No bonuses will be used at this tournament. Players unfamiliar with college-level questions may see a sample of a past year’s set.

    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, April 3, 2021. Release forms will be made available via the registration process.

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

    An example participation release is available.


    Every player 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 chaperone and the chaperone’s role of responsibility.

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


    All players who have not been eliminated after the end of the first six group rounds will receive plaques. The top players in each subject area (history, literature, etc.) will also receive plaques.

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

    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 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.

    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 HS IPNCT, write to 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!