2018 General Education Middle School Tournament Offering Neverending Edification

Burnsville High School is pleased to announce that it is working with the Minnesota Quiz Bowl Alliance to host the 2018 General Education Middle School Tournament Offering Neverending Edification (GEMSTONE), a middle school quiz bowl tournament, on January 27, 2018. The top finishers will qualify for the NAQT Middle School National Championship Tournament (MSNCT) to be held May 11–13, 2018 in Chicago.

We would love to see a local school bring home the national championship!

The Organizers:

R. Robert Hentzel and the Minnesota Quiz Bowl Alliance have been running middle school tournaments in the Twin Cities since 2011; if you are new to quiz bowl and would like reassurance that attending GEMSTONE would be a wise investment of time and money, we are happy to provide references from active coaches!

28 teams attended last year's event.

National Academic Quiz Tournaments has been in business since 1996 and runs the nation's largest middle school (160 teams), college (64 teams), community college (24 teams), and high school (304 teams) national championships. It also provides questions to nearly one thousand regular-season tournaments during the year.


The tournament will be held at Burnsville High School in Burnsville.


Teams can park anywhere in the main lot that is not explicitly marked as reserved. As expected at a high school, bus parking is available.


Teams should use the main entrance to the school (the one directly on the front traffic circle).


Teams may check in between 8:30 and 9:00 on Saturday, January 27. If they haven't mailed a check, they can pay at this time. They'll also pick up their match schedule and other tournament paperwork at this time.

From 9:00 to 9:30 there will be an introductory meeting to go over the rules, format, and schedule. Coaches, players, and parents will have an opportunity to ask questions. Teams are also encouraged to ask questions in advance, over e-mail, to make the meeting go as smoothly as possible.

From 9:30 to 12:30 each team will play six preliminary rounds. The teams with the best overall records will advance to the playoffs.

From 12:30 to 1:30 teams will have a lunch break. Teams that have been eliminated may depart, or they may stay to watch the playoffs. Lunch is not included in the tournament registration fee, but Burnsville's booster club will be taking orders for large, single-topping pizzas ($10 each) at check-in for delivery at lunch time. In addition, candy, chips, water, and pop will be available for $1 throughout the tournament. Teams may also bring their own food to Burnsville or leave the school's campus to eat.

From 1:30 to 3:30 the top teams from the preliminary rounds will meet each other in the playoffs.

At 3:30 there will be an awards presentation. This will be kept brief and teams will be able to leave immediately thereafter.

Eligibility and Qualification:

All middle schools (public, private, magnet, charter, religious, online, etc.) are eligible to compete in this event and no prior qualification is necessary; the tournament is open to all players that have not yet completed 8th grade, though the questions are targeted at 7th and 8th graders. (That is, elementary school teams are welcome, but may be overwhelmed.) Teams from home school collectives are also welcome. If you have a special situation, feel free to e-mail the eligibility committee in advance for a ruling.

Schools are encouraged to enter multiple teams, but please note that players must play for the same team throughout the tournament.

NAQT's Middle School Eligibility Rules are available online.

Nationals Berths:

According to NAQT's qualification policy, the top 15% of the field will qualify for the Middle School National Championship Tournament.


The tournament will be staffed entirely by quiz bowl players at Burnsville High School, its quiz bowl alumni/ae, local volunteers, and collegiate players. Coaches will not be required to assist with the running of the tournament and will be able to watch their team(s) throughout the event (or grade papers, etc.).


The pairing method for the tournament will be determined by the number of teams that register, but all participants are guaranteed at least six preliminary games. The playoffs will be single elimination.


Teams should register online. If you have problems using the online form, contact R. Robert Hentzel for assistance.

The base registration fee is $90 per team. There is a $10 discount for a bringing a working quiz bowl lockout system (one discount per team). There is a $10 per-team penalty for waiting to register until after January 24, 2018. The registration fee includes one printed copy of the questions used at the tournament.

Teams may pay at the tournament site or they may send a check in advance to:

R. Robert Hentzel
Minnesota Quiz Bowl Alliance
10333 Oak Grove Circle
Bloomington, MN 55431

Please make checks out to "Minnesota Quiz Bowl Alliance."


The top four teams overall will receive team trophies. The top eight individual scorers will receive All-Star awards, as will the top sixth- and seventh-grade scorers (who are not also overall All-Stars).

Note that players must play at least three complete games' worth of tossups (i.e., 60 tossups) to be eligible for individual prizes.

Question Security:

Short version: If your school does not plan on playing quiz bowl outside of Minnesota, then you have nothing to worry about in terms of question security. You can skip the long version in the next paragraph.

Long version: This tournament will use questions provided by National Academic Quiz Tournaments, LLC. We are using Middle School Series #24 and have purchased geographic exclusivity for Minnesota. It is the responsibility of participating teams to make sure that they have not attended (and do not plan to attend) another tournament anywhere in the country that is using the same packet set. Teams can find explanations of geographic exclusivity and their responsibility in maintaining question security on NAQT's website. Teams can also look up the sets assigned to past and future tournaments. Teams with questions about exclusivity or security should contact NAQT at naqt@naqt.com.

Preparing for the Tournament:

The NAQT format is a tossup-bonus format similar to the old "GE College Bowl" television show. This is the dominant quiz bowl format in Minnesota, so if your players enjoy the game and would like to continue playing in high school, familiarity with it will stand them in good stead.

We recommend reading the brief rules (and then maybe the full rules), but the basics of gameplay are as follows:

Teams may be interested in purchasing NAQT's New Middle School Package ($119) which contains study guides and over 2,400 practice questions.

Teams may also be interested in checking out the free You Gotta Know articles that give brief overviews of answers that come up very frequently (for example, "You gotta know these French kings."). They may also be interested in NAQT's frequency list and Power Up study guides.

Further Questions:

If you have any further questions, please don't hesitate to contact R. Robert Hentzel by e-mail or phone (952.888.2277).

Created 2017 December 1 by R. Robert Hentzel