Jonathan Magin

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Jonathan Magin
Noted subjects Literature, Social Science, Arts, African-American Studies, American Drama
Past colleges Maryland (2006-2008)
High school Montgomery Blair (to 2004)
HSQB profile magin
Stats HDWhite • NAQT

Jonathan Magin is a former player for the University of Maryland who now plays open tournaments and writes questions. Jonathan is largely considered the second best literature player in the history of the game after Andrew Yaphe.


Jonathan grew to became one of the most feared players in college quizbowl during his brief career at Maryland, and remains a formidable, frequent presence at open tournaments. With Maryland, Magin remarkably won a national championship at the 2008 ICT with Charles Meigs despite Chris Ray's dubious strategy of negging five times in the championship game against Chicago, and placed 3rd at the 2008 ACF Nationals. His most notable open tournament finishes include winning 2008 Chicago Open with Matt Weiner, Eric Mukherjee, and Jerry Vinokurov, and winning the 2009 Chicago Open Literature Tournament essentially playing solo averaging 162.50 ppg and leading the tournaments in powers by a large margin. His other notable achievements include being the high scorer while playing on the second place team at the 2010 Minnesota Open and being the top scorer at both the 2009 Chicago Open and 2010 Chicago Open.


Jonathan is an acclaimed writer and editor; his collegiate editing experiences inclued TIT in 2008 and 2007, and he served as an editor for the 2007 ACF Fall tournament, though he came to prominence as a writer with his wildly successful Literature Doubles at the 2007 Chicago Open. Since that time he edited the brilliant 2008 Chicago Open Literature Tournament and both iterations of the William Gaddis Experimental Tournament in 2008 and 2009. At the high school level he also worked as an editor for HSAPQ (including as the chief editor for the first HSAPQ NASAT) and a writer/editor for PACE (writer 2008-10, Auditory Fine Arts editor 2012).

Magin is a member of ACF, in which capacity he served as humanities editor for 2009 ACF Regionals with Eric Mukherjee and a lit/arts editor for 2011 ACF Nationals. He served as Head Editor for the highly-acclaimed 2012 and 2013 iterations of ACF Nationals.

Magin's subject tournaments have also included two incarnations of Imaginary Landscape, an auditory arts tournament in which each "tossup" consists of about a minute of audio clips identifying a composer, work, nation, etc. in pyramidal order.


Jonathan's contributions to quizbowl theory include Magin's Law, Magin's Formula, and Magin's tossup difficulty scale. He is also a consistent advocate for civility in quizbowl discourse.

Carper Award
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Andrew Hart
Mike Bentley