Tamara Vardomskaya

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Tamara Vardomskaya
Noted subjects Literature, math, arts
Current college refusing to be "retired"
Past colleges Ottawa (2004-2008)
High school Lisgar (2000-2003)
Stats HDWhite • NAQT

Tamara Vardomskaya is a former University of Chicago and Ottawa player and Lisgar alumna and coach.

High School

Vardomskaya began playing Reach for the Top at Lisgar in grade 9 while the school's program was still in its infancy. The following year, she helped the team win the Ottawa region (defeating eventual national champion Gloucester) and reach 3rd place in Ontario. She was captain of Lisgar's team for her remaining two years at the school.

Particularly in Ottawa, Vardomskaya developed a reputation of being overenthusiastic and snobbish to weaker teams. In 2003, Merivale's then-coach, fed up with her attitude, told Merivale to go on a crusade against her, which they did, defeating Lisgar three times in regionals. Apparently this rally was spurned from Vardomskaya saying that SmartAsk! wasn't a real championship (which, in retrospect, was true). At 2002 provincials, TV host Joe Motiki referred to Lisgar's opponent as "likeable" compared to "Tamara and her scrappy LCI crew" on his website [1]


Vardomskaya attended the University of Ottawa. She has won three tournaments in Canada, and was often the best Ottawa player in terms of individual scoring (unless Ben Smith played on a separate team with weak or no teammates). She won the 2006 Canadian QB Players' Poll, beating out Jonathan Klein and Andy Saunders.

She earned her PhD in Linguistics from Chicago between 2011 and 2017, playing on Chicago B from 2016 to 2018.


Vardomskaya coaches quizbowl aspects for Lisgar's Reach team, making Lisgar the only Canadian team that actually practices on quizbowl questions. Her guidance has led to Lisgar sweeping the field in NAQT tournaments held at Ottawa, and reaching the playoffs in two HSNCTs.

Reach for the Top

Vardomskaya currently writes questions for Reach for the Top, thus appearing on the writing credits for the Ontario and National TV shows.