From QBWiki
(Redirected from Terrapin Open)
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Terrapin is a long-running series of quizbowl tournaments held at and primarily written by Maryland. It is named after the school's mascot, the terrapin.

It was formerly known as the Terrapin Invitational Tournament, sometimes abbreviated TIT or called Maryland Terrapin or The Terrapin, which ran mostly continuously for over 25 years. Terrapin may have the longest history of any extant quizbowl tournament.


The first Terrapin Invitational Tournament was held in 1987, when Emory defeated Georgia Tech in the final.

2005 (XIX)

The 2005 tournament was edited by Dan Greenstein, and directed by Brittany Clark and Ali Daniels. It was won by Chicago A.

A bonus answer in the Masters packet from this tournament incorrectly gave the philosopher Willard Van Orman Quine's name as "William Van Orman Quince," and repeatedly referred to "Quince" throughout the rest of the bonus. This mistake was mocked by "do not accept" answerline directives in many later question sets.

2007 (XX)

The 2007 tournament was edited by Jonathan Magin. Matt Weiner praised the tournament despite chiding teams that felt it was a "packet submission optional" tournament.[1]

It was the first Terrapin Invitational Tournament to not take place in its annual mid-fall slot, seemingly having been postponed from fall to January (and thus skipping 2006).

2008 (XXII)

The 2008 tournament was edited by Jonathan Magin, Mike Bentley, Ray Luo, Eric Mukherjee, Matt Weiner, and a few other contributors. It was intended to be a mirror of MLK. Brown went undefeated to win the Maryland tournament, directed by Mike Bentley. It was also mirrored by Georgia, UCLA, and Missouri S&T.

The writers of the January 2008 tournament inadvertently skipped the number XXI, calling their tournament Terrapin XXII. To compensate, the November 2009 collaboration with Illinois was occasionally referred to as Terrapin XXI.

Winter 2009 (XXIII)

This tournament was edited mainly by Chris Ray and hosted in January 2009.

A major debate on issues regarding better eligibility policies and community standards was split from the tournament announcement.[2]

Fall 2009 (XXI)

This tournament was edited by Chris Ray, Mike Sorice, and others as a combination with Illinois Open (called "TIT/IO") at "Regionals-plus" difficulty. It was generally well-received, though 10-line tossups and 3-line bonus parts were routine throughout the set.

Winter 2011 (XXIV)

The January 2011 iteration was edited by SteveJon Guth with help from the rest of the Maryland team. Mirrors were held at Toronto, Arizona, Texas, Washington, Yale, and Michigan.

A subsequent fall 2011 iteration was planned but never happened. It was originally to be held on December 3rd, however this proved to be a bad date. Therefore, no packets were submitted. Plans to turn the tournament into a spring or summer event quickly fell through.

2013 (XXV)

After a year's hiatus, a spring 2013 iteration was planned to be edited by an inexperienced leadership of Arun Chonai, Chris Manners, and Brian McPeak. After many logistics, scheduling, and packet-submission snafus[3], a tournament materialized around submitted packets edited by Ike Jose, with help from Brian and Isaac Hirsch. A 6-team main site occurred, which UVA-sans-Bollinger won over Penn; a few mirrors with relatively open eligibility rules were held at WashU, Michigan State, and on Skype (directed by Mike Bentley).

Accounts in the discussion forum noted the increasing difficulty of getting enough teams to engage in packet submission (and the low quality of those packets that were submitted), as well as the excessive number of common links.


Between 2014 and 2016, Terrapin was replaced by collaborations between Maryland and other schools, such as 2014's SUBMIT (with Berkeley), 2015's STIMPY (with Yale), and spring 2016's MYSTERIUM (also with Yale, and was the first tournament in the 28-year Terrapin lineage to not use packet submission).

Modern era

Since its return in 2016, the "Terrapin" brand has graced several celebrated tournaments at different difficulty levels. Terrapins of this "modern era" no longer use packet submission and feature mainstream eligibility policies.

In 2016, Terrapin discarded the "Invitational" moniker (and with it, the dated acronym), and in 2019, phased out the traditional Roman numerals (which had become erratic).

2016 (XXIX)

The fall 2016 iteration of Terrapin was head-edited by Jordan Brownstein and Billy Busse.[4] Writers included Ani Perumalla, Emma Stevens, Justin Hawkins, Ophir Lifshitz, Sam Rombro, Sarang Yeola, and Weijia Cheng.

It was widely praised as one of the best regular difficulty tournaments to date.[5] In particular, its question quality, difficulty control, and "fantastic editing team" were praised,[6][7] and it was called "genre-defining," a "masterpiece," and a "legendarily good set [held] in high regard."[8][9] Before long, 2016 Terrapin was considered to be a model for "regular difficulty" going forward,[10] although that term began to be deprecated in mid-2018; today it would correspond to "2½ dots" on the college quizbowl calendar scale. It was the reference difficulty for SGI and IKEA.

The Ohio State mirror was held on Sunday, December 4.[11] Despite being a small young club – led by experienced arrival Chris Ray – hosting a large competitive tournament of 16 teams, OSU fielded three full teams at its own event and only supplied a couple staff, including a first-time TD (although Chris acted as a de facto TD in yet another instance of him both playing in and directing a tournament). Early on Sunday morning, Ophir Lifshitz drove 420 miles from College Park to Columbus to help staff, also hoping to make Terrapin the first-ever college tournament to capture full detailed stats. However, after the scorekeeping system had already been set up and explained at the staff meeting, Chris resisted it and had the solo staffers use paper instead. In major narrow upsets,[12] the OSU A team (Chris Ray, Clark Smith, Sayeef Moyen, and Amol Gandhi) defeated Michigan A in the prelims 390–360, and in disadvantaged finals moderated by editor Billy Busse, triumphed twice over Chicago A (Chris's former team) 410–360 and 340–330, even though OSU A scored 3.3 PPB less than Chicago A. Chris was the top individual scorer, with 120.00 PPG and a statline of 71/46/17.[13]

Although Terrapin was a closed tournament, two non-students played on the UCSD A team at the UCLA mirror: Will Alston, who used the pseudonym "Isaac Biggerstaff" and in a daft bluff tried to hide that he got special dispensation to play from his friend the head-editor, and Eddie Kim, who played as "Klaus Fuchs." After Naveed Chowdhury brought attention to the artifice, significant discussion ensued concerning the circumstances, eligibility rules, whether information about quizbowl tournaments should be public knowledge, and the unusual practices of the relatively isolated Southern California college circuit, particularly the question of how much of an "open secret" they are.[14][15][16]

In the discussion forum, several people reported enjoying the linguistics questions.

A limited display of detailed stats from the Maryland site was cited several months later in a productive and skeptical discussion about tossup length and lead-ins called "The Case for Short Questions."[17] This topic was picked up again in the thread "What is the purpose of a first line?" two years later.[18]


Terrapin returned in spring 2019, for a slightly easier tournament head-edited by Weijia Cheng. It targeted a "medium" difficulty similar to EFT, corresponding to "2 dots" on the college quizbowl calendar scale. Editors included Jordan Brownstein, Caleb Kendrick, Graham Reid, and Ophir Lifshitz, and writers included Alex Echikson, Ani Perumalla, Justin Hawkins, Jason Shi, Vishwa Shanmugam, Jack Lewis, Jack Nolan, Sarang Yeola, and Naveed Chowdhury.[19]

The set was well received and hit its target difficulty. Weijia's philosophy focused on craftsmanship and fundamental playability.[20]

The practice of placing "outlier" questions in later packets (consciously or not) was discussed in reaction to the question set's finals packets being perceived as harder.[21][22]

2020 (Terrapin Open)

In spring 2020, a Maryland-led crew wrote Terrapin Open (sometimes unofficially abbreviated TO), a "pre-nationals" open tournament. Its target difficulty was between ACF Regionals and ACF Nationals, corresponding to "3½ dots" on the college quizbowl calendar scale. Caleb Kendrick head-edited and Alex Echikson directed logistics. Editors included Emmett Laurie, Joelle Smart, Ewan MacAulay, Graham Reid, Vishwa Shanmugam, Naveed Chowdhury, Ophir Lifshitz, and Ethan Strombeck, with help from Ani Perumalla and Caroline Mao. Writers included Anson Berns, Justin Hawkins, Kai Smith, Jack Lewis, and Jakobi Deslouches.

The set was very well received. In the discussion forum, several people reported enjoying the linguistics questions. There was debate about the high proportion of the analytic philosophy subdistribution and how much it should reflect an American university curriculum.

A dispute occurred when Columbia's approval to host a mirror was rescinded due to a logistical mistake and concerns such as New York's proximity to the College Park main site. The Northeast mirror was held at Brown instead.[23]

A competitive, geographically diverse field of 16 teams attended the main site in College Park. It was decisively won by the team "Sheep Go to Heaven, GOATs Go to College Park," consisting of Matt Bollinger and three Maryland alumni: Jordan Brownstein, Chris Manners, and Weijia Cheng. This tournament would turn out to be the last major national-scale gathering of college quizbowl teams before the pandemic.

Originally there was no plan for an online mirror due to concerns over low in-person turnout and integrity. After the pandemic forced the cancellation of several March mirrors and boosted demand, a well-run 14-team round-robin online mirror took place on March 28 and 29, 2020. Rumors of cheating accusations and public posts with vague insinuations led to 10 days of disappointing acrimonious discourse and unconvincing statistical analysis attempts.[24] Several weeks after the tournament, after throwing his teammate and friend Chris Ray under the bus and continuing to play online tournaments, Eric Mukherjee admitted that he cheated.[25][26]

Table of results

Terrapin Date Champion Runner-up Editor(s) Field size Notes
Terrapin I Fall 1987 Emory Georgia Tech
Terrapin II Fall 1988
Terrapin III Fall 1989 College Bowl's attempt to threaten Maryland into canceling this tournament led directly to the formation of ACF.
Terrapin IV Fall 1990
Terrapin V Fall 1991
Terrapin VI Fall 1992 Chicago
Terrapin VII November 12–13, 1993 Georgia Tech A
Terrapin VIII November 11–12, 1994 Georgia Tech A South Carolina Vishnu Jejjala, Jesse Molesworth 18 Stats
Terrapin IX November 3–4, 1995 Harvard Georgia Tech A Matt Colvin, Arthur Fleming 19 Stats
Terrapin X November 1, 1996 Virginia A Illinois 13 Stats
Terrapin XI October 31–November 1, 1997 Virginia A Chicago A 13 Stats
Terrapin XII October 30–31, 1998 Chicago A South Carolina 18 Stats
Terrapin XIII November 5–6, 1999 Maryland A Chicago John Nam, Jessie Stevens 14 Stats
Terrapin XIV October 28, 2000 Michigan A (Division I), Rutgers (Division II) Virginia A (Division I), Swarthmore B (Division II) Shaun Hayeslip 23 Stats
Terrapin XV October 27, 2001 Princeton Swarthmore 9 Stats
Terrapin XVI October 26, 2002 Michigan Rutgers Adam Fine 12 Stats
Terrapin XVII October 25, 2003 Chicago Rochester 11 Stats
Terrapin XVIII October 23, 2004 VCU Princeton Casey Retterer, Dan Goff, et al. 11 Brief results blurb
Terrapin XIX October 23, 2005 Chicago A Michigan Ezequiel Berdichevsky, Dan Greenstein 13 Stats
Pre-modern era
Terrapin XX January 27, 2007 VCU Virginia A Jonathan Magin, Mike Bentley, Casey Retterer, Chris Ray, et al. 9 Stats
Terrapin XXII January 19, 2008 Brown Princeton Jonathan Magin, Mike Bentley, Ray Luo, Eric Mukherjee, Matt Weiner, Jeremy Eaton, Greg Peterson, et al. 9 Stats

Mirrored at Michigan as the MLK, and also at Missouri S&T, UCLA, and Georgia.

Terrapin XXIII January 31, 2009 Brown VCU Chris Ray, Jeremy Eaton, Jeff Amoros 16 Stats

Mirrored at Northwestern and Mississippi State.

TIT/IO ("Terrapin XXI") November 14, 2009 Carnegie Mellon Penn Chris Ray and Mike Sorice 14 Stats
Terrapin XXIV January 22, 2011 State College Virginia SteveJon Guth with help from Chris Ray et al. 11 Stats
Terrapin XXV March 24, 2013 Virginia Penn Ike Jose with help from Brian McPeak, Isaac Hirsch et al. 6 Stats

Mirrored at Michigan State and WUSTL.

Modern era
Terrapin XXIX November 19, 2016 Penn Duke Jordan Brownstein and Billy Busse 19 Stats

Results from other mirrors available here.

2019 Terrapin March 2, 2019 Virginia Johns Hopkins A Weijia Cheng et al. 16 Stats
2020 Terrapin Open February 22, 2020 Jordan Brownstein, Matt Bollinger, Chris Manners, Weijia Cheng BHSU Caleb Kendrick et al. 16 Stats

See also

Terrapin is not to be confused with TERP, a series of two trash tournaments written by Maryland and edited by Logan Anbinder in 2010 and 2012.[27][28]


  1. https://www.hsquizbowl.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=21&t=3563
  2. https://www.hsquizbowl.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=6991
  3. http://hsquizbowl.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=21&t=13786
  4. https://hsquizbowl.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=21&t=18768
  5. https://hsquizbowl.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=63&t=21566&hilit=terrapin
  6. https://hsquizbowl.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=21&t=19463
  7. https://hsquizbowl.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=21&t=19166
  8. https://discord.com/channels/275279348855209984/275279348855209984/445003059463061527
  9. https://discord.com/channels/275279348855209984/275279348855209984/448663057019961346
  10. https://hsquizbowl.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=21&t=19317&p=323261#p323261
  11. https://hsquizbowl.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=21&t=19166
  12. https://hsquizbowl.org/forums/viewtopic.php?p=324136#p324136
  13. https://hsquizbowl.org/db/tournaments/3977/stats/combined_stats_%28%2Bfinals%29/teamdetail/#t8
  14. https://hsquizbowl.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=19402
  15. https://hsquizbowl.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=23452
  16. https://hsquizbowl.org/forums/viewtopic.php?p=324176#p324176
  17. https://hsquizbowl.org/forums/viewtopic.php?p=333583#p333583
  18. https://hsquizbowl.org/forums/viewtopic.php?t=22477
  19. https://hsquizbowl.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=21274
  20. https://hsquizbowl.org/forums/viewtopic.php?p=354890#p354890
  21. https://hsquizbowl.org/forums/viewtopic.php?p=355511#p355511
  22. https://hsquizbowl.org/forums/viewtopic.php?t=22519
  23. https://hsquizbowl.org/forums/viewtopic.php?p=364724#p364724
  24. https://hsquizbowl.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=23994
  25. https://hsquizbowl.org/forums/viewtopic.php?p=369700#p369700
  26. https://hsquizbowl.org/db/tournaments/6452/stats/full_round_robin/
  27. https://hsquizbowl.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=21&t=10438
  28. https://hsquizbowl.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=21&t=12154