National Quiz Bowl Championships


For various reasons (mostly historical), collegiate quiz bowl has multiple national championships each year.


The Intercollegiate Championship Tournament (ICT) is written and organized by NAQT, and is usually hosted in Chicago. Like other NAQT-produced tournaments, ICT tends to contain slightly more geography and pop culture and slightly less art than the typical collegiate question set. Teams qualify based on their performance at one of NAQT’s Sectional Championship Tournaments (SCTs).

Community colleges can also qualify for NAQT’s Community College Championship Tournament (CCCT).

ACF Nationals

ACF Nationals is organized annually by ACF and hosted at various colleges around the country. Unlike ICT, ACF Nationals is untimed, contains no pop culture or sports, and requires teams to submit a packet to the tournament editors. The tossups also tend to be slightly longer (though not necessarily harder) than those of ICT. Teams qualify based on their performance at the preceding ACF Regionals tournament.

Chicago Open

Although it is not technically a “collegiate” tournament, this page would be incomplete without a discussion of the Chicago Open. Held annually at either Northwestern or UChicago, the tournament is open to all players—college students, working adults, and even high schoolers (though the last case is rare). It is generally considered the most difficult tournament in all of quiz bowl. Any group of people may form a team, and packet submission is required.

High School

Like college quiz bowl, high school quiz bowl has several national tournaments.


The High School National Championship Tournament (HSNCT) is hosted by NAQT. HSNCT is the largest tournament in quiz bowl, with a field size of over 300 teams. The tournament uses timed rounds, and the distribution is similar to that of NAQT’s regular-season sets (though the questions are harder). Teams can qualify by placing in the top 15% of any tournament that uses NAQT questions.

In addition to HSNCT, schools that meet NAQT’s definition of a “small school” can qualify for the Small School National Championship Tournament (SSNCT). This can be accomplished by finishing in the top 30% of teams from small schools in any tournament using NAQT questions. Teams from small schools that qualify for HSNCT will also qualify for SSNCT.


The National Scholastic Championship (NSC) is hosted by PACE, and is to HSNCT what ACF Nationals is to ICT. Although the difficulty is comparable to that of HSCNT, the format and subject distribution have some slight differences. NSC packets have longer tossups, more questions on fine arts, mythology, and philosophy content than HSNCT, and no questions on pop culture or sports. In addition, NSC features untimed rounds, no negs, 20-point powers, and “bounceback” bonuses (if a team gets a bounus part wrong, their opponent has a chance to answer).

Rather than producing regular-season question sets, PACE certifies high school tournament that meet certain standards of question quality, fair competition, and results reporting (certification does not cost any money, and we encourage all hosts to ensure that their tournaments are certified). Teams can qualify for NSC by placing in the top 10-25% at a PACE-certified tournament, with the exact cutoff depending on the level of certification.


The National All-Star Academic Tournament (NASAT) was originally created by HSAPQ, but is now independently organized. Unlike HSNCT and NSC, teams are composed of the top 4 players from each state. It features very difficult questions (comparable to college regionals) and is considered the hardest tournament in high school quiz bowl. If you are interested in playing for Colorado, contact us!

Middle School


NAQT hosts the Middle School National Championship Tournament (MSNCT), the middle school equivalent of HSNCT. Teams can qualify by placing in the top 15% of any middle school tournament that uses NAQT questions.