British Student Quiz Championships

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The NAQT British Student Quiz Championships (BSQC) is an annual quizbowl tournament that determines the best quizbowl team in the United Kingdom. First held in 1998, the tournament was held for the fourteenth time in May 2018. The questions are provided by NAQT, but are modified to suit a British audience.

History

First incarnation (1998-2003)

The inaugural BSQC was held at Imperial College in London in 1998, although that tournament was called "QuizIC." Because they won the first series of the revived BBC2 quiz show University Challenge, Imperial had been invited to the 1997 ICT, which was the impetus for the creation of a quizbowl circuit in the United Kingdom. With Oxford and Cambridge colleges competing individually, the tournament drew eight teams and resulted in a 470-215 win for Balliol College, Oxford over Trinity College, Cambridge. (Note that the first three BSQCs used "British" scoring, by which each bonus is worth a total of 15 points rather than 30)

The 1999 BSQC was held at Oxford under the direction of Rob Linham at the Oxford Union Society. The tournament featured 11 teams from Oxford (Balliol, Oriel, St John's, Christ Church), Cambridge (Trinity, Selwyn), Imperial, Birkbeck, Manchester, Bristol, and the Open University. In a repeat of the previous year's final, Balliol College, Oxford defeated Trinity College, Cambridge by a score of 460-360.

The 2000 BSQC was held in Manchester and was attended by 8 teams from Oxford (Balliol, St. John's), Cambridge (Trinity, Darwin), Manchester, Imperial, Durham, and the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology. As in the previous two years, Balliol College, Oxford, defeated Trinity College, Cambridge, in the final, this time by a score of 490-265.

Cambridge hosted the 2001 BSQC, which featured 12 teams from Cambridge (Trinity, Clare, St. Catherine's), Imperial, Birkbeck, Bristol, Hull, UMIST, the Open University, Manchester, the University of East Anglia at Norwich, and Oxford. This tournament was controversial because Oxford played as a single university (and was consequently only allowed to field one team), rather than as individual colleges. The same Oxford team that had finished 9th at the 2001 ICT won the final by defeating Trinity College, Cambridge, 500-335. (Note that 2001 was the first BSQC to use standard "American" scoring with ten-point bonus parts)

The 2002 BSQC was also held in Cambridge, this time with a few changes to the format. Teams qualified to attend it by participating in regional "qualifying tournaments," one held at Manchester and the other at Oxford. Additionally, both Oxford and Cambridge now competed as single universities and both were allowed to field two teams. In all, 10 universities competed at the BSQC, representing Oxford (2 teams), Cambridge (2 teams), Manchester (2 teams), UMIST, Imperial, UCL, and Birkbeck. Oxford A finished the round robin undefeated at 9-0, one game ahead of Manchester, but Manchester won a one-game final 435-260 to win Manchester's only national title.

The 2003 BSQC, held at UCL, was by far the largest tournament ever held in the United Kingdom and featured 18 teams: Oxford (5 teams), Cambridge (5 teams), Manchester (3 teams), UCL (3 teams), Imperial, and Warwick. Three groups of six fed into three divisions of six, which resulted in a top bracket of Oxford A, Oxford B, Manchester A, Manchester B, Cambridge A, and Warwick. Oxford defeated Manchester in a final to repossess the dented plate that has remained ever since at the bottom of a box that is now in Edmund Dickinson's room.

Despite the large number of teams that attended the 2003 BSQC, there was too little interest to hold another tournament in 2004. One of the reasons was that fewer and fewer universities could field competent teams, even as the best universities fielded more teams than ever before. Manchester and Oxford were so much better than the rest of the field that the nascent British circuit atrophied. This problem was compounded by the fast decline of the Cambridge team after the graduation of its key leaders. At the same time, University Challenge was not helping new teams join the British quizbowl circuit, since it was accepting bad teams on the program as the result of a lottery and was so unpopular that it was nearly canceled. Oxford and Cambridge continued to play their annual varsity match after 2003, but for many years that was the only form of inter-university quizbowl played in the United Kingdom.

Revival (2011-present)

June 2011 saw the revival of the BSQC. The tournament used the 2011 HSNCT set which was Briticized by Kyle Haddad-Fonda. Oxford swept the tournament with Oxford A and B taking first and second respectively; however, teams from Cambridge, Manchester, and Imperial preformed well.

2012 saw the eighth BSQC take place at Imperial. The tournament ran on a version of the 2012 ICT-DII set whose Briticisation was led by Edmund Dickinson. An Oxford A team of Kyle Haddad-Fonda, Alison Hudson, Alex Bubb and Chris Savory went unbeaten to win the tournament.

In 2013, the tournament again took place at Imperial. The tournament was notable for the participation of John Lawrence, who was completing his Masters Degree at King's College London. Lawrence's KCL team went undefeated through the 11-team round robin to take an advantage into the one-game final against Oxford A. However, Oxford A (Alex Bubb, Zachary Vermeer, Hasneen Karbalai, Ewan MacAulay) overturned the deficit with 505-295 and 625-275 victories to keep the trophy firmly in Oxonian hands.

BSQC 2014 saw the field size grow to 15 teams, necessitating two prelim brackets for the first time in the modern era of BSQC. Oxford A and Oxford B cruised to the top of each of their brackets with average winning margins of over 300 points. In the playoffs, Oxford B took a shock win over Oxford A but then dropped a game to the Open University, forcing a one-game final between the two Oxford teams. The final was close throughout, with Oxford A (Joey Goldman, Zachary Vermeer, Charlie Clegg, Hugh Binnie) ahead by 5 points going into the final tossup. However, Oxford B (Henry Edwards, Hasneen Karbalai, Ewan MacAulay, Nikil Venkatesh) snatched the final question in an 8-way buzzer race to win 410-385. This was the first time a non-Oxford A team had won the revived BSQC.

The two-bracket 15-team format remained for 2015, as BSQC was held for the first time as St. Paul's School in London. New universities also appeared, including Nottingham, a combined London team, as well as Edinburgh, marking the first appearance of a Scottish team at BSQC. The Oxford A team of Charlie Clegg, Joey Goldman, Ewan MacAulay and Zach Vermeer were undefeated in their group, while the other prelim bracket was led by Warwick A (James Leahy, Ashley Page, Sophie Rudd and Ben Salter) and London (Pietro Aronica, Jimmy Chen and Chris Savory) both with a 6-1 record. In the afternoon, Warwick were only able to win one game, while London took three wins, but suffered a crucial defeat at the hands of the ultimately undefeated Oxford A, who won yet another title and sealed every match by at least 260 points.

For 2016, the tournament was extended to an unprecedented 18 teams (including the only appearance by the School of Oriental and African Studies), prompting three six-team prelim brackets. Oxford A (Joey Goldman, George Corfield, Daoud Jackson, Spence Weinreich) and Cambridge A (Sam Cook, Evan Lynch, Ewan MacAulay, Oliver Sweetenham) both comfortably won their brackets undefeated, and while Oxford B (Charlie Clegg, Francis Clark-Murray, Chris Stern, Lucas Bertholdi-Saad) dominated most of their matches, an upset loss to Warwick A (Sophie Rudd, Ben Salter, Emily Stevenson, Thomas Van) kept them from the top spot. Cambridge A and Oxford A were the favourites to win, and a 415-370 Cambridge win over Oxford gave the Tabs the advantage going to a potential two-game final. Oxford comfortably won the first part 510-280, triggering the second match. Despite a terrific 65-point game from Ewan MaAulay, though, Oxford clinched the title by just five points, winning the match 385-380.

In 2017, the inability to find a suitable London venue led to the tournament's emergency relocation to Warwick, where St. Andrews joined Edinburgh as a second Scottish team, while an exhibition team, known as "The Corrs", featured students from Goldsmiths and Queen's University Belfast. Oxford A (Charlie Clegg, George Corfield, Daoud Jackson, Spence Weinreich) and Cambridge A (Sam Cook, Evan Lynch, Ewan MacAulay, Oliver Sweetenham) were once again undefeated in the morning, and the third prelim bracket was won by Cambridge B (Tom Hill, Joseph Krol, Julian Sutcliffe, Elysia Warner), also undefeated. In the afternoon, Cambridge beat Oxford comfortably 485-320 to secure the lead, but a shock 345-240 loss to Cambridge C (Vitalijs Brejevs, Daniel Chiverton, Richard Freeland, Carys Redman-White) put the two rivals on level pegging going to the final. The single-game end of the tournament saw a decidedly sub-optimal nine negs and three dead tossups, as superior bonus conversion allowed Oxford to secure an eleventh national title.

A record 20 teams from 12 different institutions were present at the 2018 tournament, which returned to its initial home of Imperial 20 years after its first iteration. New teams for this tournament included Queen Mary's University, London (or QMUL) and Leicester, as well as a returning all-London team. The four five-team prelim groups were won by Oxford A (George Charlson, Daoud Jackson, Alex Peplow, Jacob Robertson), Cambridge A (Sam Cook, Jason Golfinos, Elysia Warner, Yanbo Yin), Cambridge B (Richard Freeland, Joseph Krol, Ephraim Jacob Jacobus Levinson) and Cambridge C (James Devine-Stoneman, Daniel Lawson, Rosie McKeown, Oliver Sweetenham), with Cambridge A showing an advantage on PPB. Despite a spirited attempt by Southampton (James Carrigy, Josh Holland, Niall Jones, Evan Lynch), Cambridge A and Oxford A trusted the top spots, and this time Oxford had the advantage thanks to an earlier 200-point win over Cambridge. After Oxford Brookes won a middle bracket tiebreaker against Manchester A, the final began. Solid 50-point games from Jason Golfinos and Elysia Warner drew Cambridge level with Oxford for the final game. The encouraging form exploded as Golfinos and Yanbo Yin powered three tossups each and Cambridge recorded a bonus conversion of 23.33 PPB to storm to victory, 515-225. This was the first BSQC victory for Cambridge, and the first for a non-Oxford university since Manchester in 2002.

Results

Year Champion Second Place Third Place Fourth Place Stats Top Individual Scorer Other Top-10 Scorers Host
1998 Oxford Balliol Cambridge Trinity Durham Oxford Oriel No stats available Imperial
1999 Oxford Balliol Cambridge Trinity Open University Oxford St. John's Stats Ian Bayley
Oxford Balliol
David Goode (Open University) • David Stainer (Oxford Oriel) • Christian Lloyd (Manchester) • Sean Blanchflower (Cambridge Trinity) • Oliver Johnson (Cambridge Trinity) • Dominic Mills (Oxford Christ Church) • Robert Dougans (Oxford, Oriel) • Roderick Kennedy (Oxford Christ Church) • John Burke (Open University) Oxford
2000 Oxford Balliol Cambridge Trinity Oxford St. John's UMIST Stats Ian Bayley
Oxford Balliol
Alexander Campbell (Imperial) • Robin Bhattacharyya (Cambridge Trinity) • Rob Linham (Oxford St. John's) • Michael Hoenig (Cambridge Darwin) • Andrew Hickey (UMIST) • Sean Blanchflower (Cambridge Trinity) • Paul Vallet (Cambridge Darwin) • James Crump (Durham) • David Cadwallader (UMIST) Manchester
2001 Oxford Cambridge Trinity Manchester Birkbeck Stats Ian Bayley
Oxford
Stephen Pearson (Manchester) • Ken Brown (Birkbeck) • Robin Bhattacharyya (Cambridge Trinity) • Lloyd Kilford (Imperial) • Christian Lloyd (UEA) • James Bench-Capon (Cambridge Clare) • Lance Haward (Open University) • Coulter George (Cambridge Trinity) • Pete Marshall (Cambridge Clare) Cambridge
2002 Manchester A Oxford A Oxford B Manchester B No stats available Cambridge
2003 Oxford A Manchester A Manchester B Oxford B Stats Stephen Pearson
Manchester A
Gordon Hunter (UCL A) • Darren Khodaverdi (Cambridge A) • Luke Pitcher (Oxford A) • Laura Campbell (Oxford B) • Ben Heller (UCL B) • Jon Shonk (Oxford D) • Ben Fletcher (Oxford A) • Maziyar Hariri (Cambridge United) • Laura Pfuntner (Oxford D) University College London
2011 Oxford A Oxford B Cambridge Oxford UG Stats Edmund Dickinson
Oxford A
Tristram Cole (Sheffield) • Ciaran Healy (Imperial) • George Woudhuysen (Oxford A) • Peter Sloman (Oxford G) • Tom Whyman (Manchester A) • Alex Bubb (Oxford B) • Hasneen Karbalai (Oxford G) • Mahdi Malik (Oxford UG) • Tom Speller (Oxford B) Imperial
2012 Oxford A Oxford C Sheffield Imperial A Stats Kyle Haddad-Fonda
Oxford A
Tristram Cole (Sheffield) • Andrew Shaw (Warwick) • Ciaran Healy (Imperial A) • Hasneen Karbalai (Oxford G) • Alex Bubb (Oxford B) • Adam Barr (Manchester) • Peter Sloman (Oxford B) • Hugh Binnie (Oxford C) • Jonathan Elliott (Sheffield) Imperial
2013 Oxford A King's College London Manchester Oxford C Stats John Lawrence
KCL
Tristram Cole (Open University) • Alex Bubb (Oxford A) • Zachary Vermeer (Oxford A) • Samuel Cook (Cambridge) • Filip Drnovsek-Zorko (Cambridge) • Adam Steiger (Sheffield) • Jonathan Elliott (Sheffield) • Adam Barr (Manchester) • James Leahy (Warwick) Imperial
2014 Oxford B Oxford A Warwick A Oxford C Stats Hugh Bennett
Open University
Tristram Cole (Open University) • Jonathan Elliott (Sheffield) • Ewan MacAulay (Oxford B) • Zachary Vermeer (Oxford A) • Jimmy Chen (LSE) • James Leahy (Warwick A) • Ryan Wilkinson (Warwick A) • Chris Savory (Oxford C) • Pietro Aronica (Imperial) Oxford
2015 Oxford A London Cambridge A Warwick A/Oxford B* Stats Jonathan Elliott
Sheffield
Bob de Caux (Southampton A) • Joey Goldman (Oxford A) • Ewan MacAulay (Oxford A) • Evan Lynch (Cambridge A) • Chris Savory (London) • James Leahy (Warwick A) • Jay Bhasin (Oxford C) • Daoud Jackson (Oxford B) • Nolan Dannels (Edinburgh) St. Paul's School
2016 Oxford A Cambridge A Southampton A/Manchester/Warwick A* Stats Henry Edwards
SOAS
Charlie Clegg (Oxford B) • Bob de Caux (Southampton A) • Joey Goldman (Oxford A) • Tristan Burke (Manchester) • Thomas De Bock (Oxford Brookes) • Pietro Aronica (Imperial) • Ewan MacAulay (Cambridge A) • Jonathan Foxwell (Oxford C) • Spence Weinreich (Oxford A) St. Paul's School
2017 Oxford A Cambridge A Cambridge B Oxford B/Warwick A/Cambridge C* Stats Evan Lynch
Cambridge A
Thomas De Bock (Oxford Brookes) • Adam Barr (Manchester) • George Davies (St. Andrews A) • Alex Peplow (Oxford C) • Francis Clark-Murray (Oxford B) • Charlie Clegg (Oxford A) • Joe Crowther (Warwick A) • Spence Weinreich (Oxford A) • Richard Freeland (Cambridge C) Warwick
2018 Cambridge A Oxford A Southampton/Cambridge B* Stats Evan Lynch
Southampton
Oliver Clarke (St. Andrews A) • Daoud Jackson (Oxford A) • Jason Golfinos (Cambridge A) • Joseph Krol (Cambridge B) • Max Fitz-James (Edinburgh) • Thomas De Bock (Oxford Brookes) • Joe Crowther (Warwick A) • Adam Barr (Manchester A) • Chris Savory (London) Imperial

* Since 2014, ties between teams with similar win-loss records have not been broken.

Participants

Institution Number of participations Years Best result Notes
Oxford 14 1998-2003, 2011-2018 1st (12x: 1998-2001, 2003, 2011-2017) Includes entries by individual colleges from 1998 to 2000: Balliol, Christ Church, Oriel, St. John's
Cambridge 14 1998-2003, 2011-2018 1st (2018) Includes entries by individual colleges from 1998 to 2003: Trinity, Christ's, St. Catharine's, Selwyn, Darwin, Clare, Downing
Manchester 14 1998-2003, 2011-2018 1st (2002) n/a
Imperial College London 12 1998-2003, 2011-2014, 2016, 2018 4th (2012) Included in London team in 2015
Warwick 8 2003, 2012-2018 3rd (2x: 2014, 2017) n/a
Southampton 7 2011, 2013-2018 3rd (2x: 2016, 2018) n/a
Sheffield 5 2011-2015 3rd (2012) n/a
Oxford Brookes 5 2011, 2014, 2016-2018 11th (2x: 2011, 2017) n/a
Bristol 4 1999, 2001, 2016-2017 7th (1999) n/a
Open University 4 1999, 2001, 2013-2014 3rd (1999) n/a
Edinburgh 4 2015-2018 9th (2018) n/a
Birkbeck College London 3 1999, 2001-2002 4th (2001) n/a
University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology 3 2000-2002 4th (2000) Merged with University of Manchester in 2004
University College London 3 2002-2003, 2014 8th (2x: 2002-2003) Included in London team in 2015 and 2018
Nottingham 3 2015-2017 9th (2016) n/a
University of London 2 2015, 2018 2nd (2015) Includes students from UCL, KCL, Imperial, LSE and Goldsmiths
St. Andrews 2 2017-2018 14th (2018) n/a
Durham 2 1998, 2000 3rd (1998) n/a
Hull 1 2001 10th (2001) n/a
University of East Anglia 1 2001 5th (2001) n/a
King's College London 1 2013 2nd (2013) Included in London team in 2018
London School of Economics 1 2014 11th (2014) Included in London team in 2015
School of Oriental and African Studies 1 2016 10th (2016) n/a
Queen Mary's University, London 1 2018 19th (2018) n/a
Leicester 1 2018 20th (2018) n/a