Three Keys to Winning NYC

As a has-been and an almost at NYC, I thought that it would be beneficial to give out some advice for those teams preparing to make a run for the top spot at my favorite tournament of the year.

1. Know Your Verses

This one may seem pretty obvious, but I want to explain a bit. My team placed 7th at the New Year’s Classic my junior year even though we had two people who knew the whole section. My senior year, I knew probably 15-17 out of 21 chapters with a couple others who knew 10-12. However, we were much better the second year. Besides being more experienced, I think what made us a lot better was how we knew our stuff. I could quote every verse the first time. The second time, I couldn’t achieve the same feat but the chapters that I knew were solid. What I mean is that, when there was a question from a particular verse, I didn’t have to spend any time trying to remember what verse it was, I already had it in my head and could spend my whole 10 seconds thinking about what the answer was. If you can get to that point, you will find that you can jump very fast and remain as accurate as before.

If all that was confusing, I thought of a good way to put it. Everybody has chapters that they’re confident in – the chapter that you expect to be the first one up on, and if somebody else gets up before you do you’re bummed about. Make all your chapters like that.

I’ve heard stories about people memorizing large chunks of the section the night before or several days before. There were several of us who could pull off the memorize several chapters in the week before an event, and Mr. Bamford would be impressed, etc. But in a tournament that lasts all day, you can tell the people who have known their chapters for months and have been reviewing versus those who have just recently memorized theirs. When you get tired, you’ll forget the stuff that’s in your short term memory. Or, at the very least, won’t be as good at it as those who’ve known their stuff forever.

2. Quiz Intelligently

Here again is another general Bible Quiz rule. For those great teams out there, the winner of the day isn’t measured by total score. There will be quizzes that you make a lot of errors or just can’t seem to get one right. I think a big part of surviving close quizzes is luck, but there are several ways that you can at least make yourself a little luckier than other teams.

First, I know that it’s not liked by many teams out there, but I say make frequent use of the challenge. At NYC, it doesn’t hurt you to challenge every question besides that the quizmaster may stop listening to even your good challenges after a while. I don’t know if I’m giving away quizmaster secrets because I may be the only one who has ever done this, but there have been times when I’ve accepted an answer and pretty much thought that if anyone challenges, I’ll throw the question out. Although many of the quizmasters have supreme Biblical knowledge, I would guess that many quizzers know much more about the specifics of Matthew than the quizmasters do. Don’t assume that they’ve already considered what you’re going to challenge on. I see challenging as giving the quizmaster a second opportunity for him to get the call right. Oh, one more thing, a lot of the quizmasters at NYC are young and can be easily swayed and manipulated.

Make good use of your errors. I’m sure most all of the top teams already know are aware of this, but you have three free errors before question 16. Make sure you get your money’s worth. I think if you have made 0 errors at question 16, you’d better have a big lead, or else you have done yourself a disservice by jumping more wildly at several more questions.

3. Give Good Teams Lows Early

Whenever your team is ahead big in a quiz, try to give your main competition a low. This is not a dirty move at all. I’ve heard stories about teams quizzing against two Woodside teams or two Athens teams where they helped their younger teams to get the middle. I think this is just part of the game. If I had quizzed and thought the other Athens team was better than mine and I had an opportunity to put them out, I probably would have done it, but if I’ve practiced against them all year long and know that we have the 5 best quizzers at our school, I’ll try my best to get them to the next round.

Now I think there is a little bit of interesting twist that we can add to this. You’ll have to comment on the message board to tell me what you think of this. I think it may be possible that you shouldn’t always help the weaker team to get the middle win. We always had several teams that we had “alliances” with. Now, this idea was probably mostly in my imagination, but if you have a team that you can count on to give you a hand in a difficult spot and vice versa it might be worth it. Also, you might not want to knock out a mid range team that you’re confident that you can beat later on in favor of a really weak team because you might be able to hold off on your strategy until you can use them to knock off a bigger fish.

After all that, I kind of feel like this article could be called Dirty Secrets of Bible Quiz or something, but before you get after me too much for that, remember how hard all of you have worked already. It would be a shame to lose a tournament because you didn’t follow some tips that might give you a slight edge on the competition.

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