AGazine, March 2012

The Online Magazine of the Academic Games Leagues of America

& Notes
A Score
Lord Speaks
Down Memory Lane Past AGazines


Colorado Comes to Nationals!

Nearly 360 fourth and fifth grade students from the St. Vrain (CO) school district participated in the Equations Game Day in Longmont on February 17. Play was conducted at three levels: basic, some variations, and Nationals variations. The event was sponsored by the district’s Gifted and Talented Program under the direction of Michelle Frey.

The previous evening, 30 students interested in qualifying for the national tournament played their final Equations rounds. As a result, five Elementary and five Middle players will attend Nationals next month in West Virginia. This marks the first participation from students that far west in AGLOA history.

As a result of the superintendent’s visit to the Equations competition, St. Vrain will conduct a summer program for children wishing to learn Equations and Propaganda.

Equations Tournament Basic Division - Longmont, CO (2/17/12)

Equations Tournament Basic Division – Longmont, CO (2/17/12)

Academic Challenge Cup Equations Tournament

This annual competition was held March 12-15 at Washington University in St. Louis, MO. The Gifted Resource Council sponsors the tournament as well as an annual LinguiSHTIK tournament.

The competition followed some interesting rules which are different from the AGLOA National Tournament rules.

  • Play is conducted in five divisions: third grade, fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh/eighth. A team or individual may play up at a more advanced level.
  • Students play in groups of up to five per table.
  • Timers are used only in certain situations:
    • Rolling the cubes
    • When a Goal-setter has declared No Goal
    • A challenge has been made.
    • All but two Resources have been “qualified” (played to the mat).
    • At the end of a round if a challenge is not in progress (called “Cleanup” to mark the end of the five extra minutes to complete the final shake).
  • Other rules:
    • Only five cubes of each color are used.
    • The 2 must be explicitly used before the radical sign for square root.
    • Each Goal must be an integer (and positive or zero for third grade).
    • The Goal may be a three-digit integer (with no operation signs).
    • A correct Challenger scores 2 points. The player siding correctly with a Challenger scores 1.
    • A correct Mover scores 1 point as does the player siding with the correct Mover.
    • A player with a correct Solution after a forceout scores 1.
    • Players’ scores are not converted to a 6-4-2 or other 1st-2nd-3rd point system. Instead, the total of the shake scores are used.

Events across the AGLOA leagues during the next month:

14-16 MLAG Super Tournament Mid/Jr/Sr @ Crown Plaza Hotel — Grand Rapids, MI
17 Deadline for submitting registration numbers for Nationals
23 Deadline for T-shirt Order Form for Nationals
30 Louisiana Invitational Tournament @ Brother Martin High School — New Orleans
Cost Sheet, Rooming List and Adult Master List, and Volunteer Form for Nationals due to AGLOA
6 Individual and Team Registration Forms and Cube Games Seeding Form for Nationals due to AGLOA

If your league’s events are not listed, please send us your schedule.

Palm Beach County (FL) Middle/High School Equations Tournament at Forest Hill HS

Palm Beach County (FL) Middle/High School Equations Tournament at Forest Hill HS


A Score Lord Speaks

Jim Davis was a mere pup when he began coaching Academic Games. A former metal shop teacher got him involved. Jim was in his second year of teaching out of Indiana University of Pennsylvania. The principal (and former shop teacher) at Springdale Junior High just north of Pittsburgh disappeared for a week. Turns out he was at a workshop learning how to play the games.

He came back and approached me. “I’ve got this great chance for you.” That’s how they suck you in. “It’ll look great on your resumé.” (Appeal to Prestige) I started with Equations in 1966.

The founder of the National Academic Games Project, Bob Allen, identified ten school systems in the Pittsburgh area and conducted the workshop that began what became the Western Pennsylvania Academic Games League (WPAGL). Bob would come to Pittsburgh to conduct the one-day competitions in each game.

Jim’s first Nationals was in 1968 in Fort Lauderdale, FL.

Our league chartered an airplane. That was unique and unheard of. We stayed at a motel on the beach. The kids stayed in the homes of people from Fort Lauderdale. As we were riding in a van from the airport to the motel, I heard an appeal on the radio for families to take these kids in. It was a great experience, a lot of fun. Little did I know that I would attend 44 more in a row [through 2011].

Jim was a member of the first Mathematics Rules Committee for the National Academic Games Project. Mr. Davis is remembered most as the long time Nationals chief scorekeeper, a position he created.

I got involved after the 1971 tournament in New Orleans. The scorekeepers there were not nice and bordered on rude. When I questioned one of my students’ scores, they told me to go away. When I got home, I thought, “Someone has to do scorekeeping who’s concerned about the kids and will respond to coaches.” So I went to Bob Allen and volunteered to take over the scorekeeping.

I got involved with some great people like Stu White and Dave Campbell. Every year they’d come back and keep score. It was all done by hand, of course. During the breaks between rounds, we had a great time. I never regretted taking over scorekeeping.

Jim with the immortal Bear Bryant at the 1975 Nationals in Tuscaloosa, AL

Jim with the immortal Bear Bryant at the 1975 Nationals in Tuscaloosa, AL

Jim and Stu became the “Score Lords” who presided over the “Throne Zone”, which was the room at Rock Eagle 4H Center (GA) where scoring was done. The dynamic duo also entertained the adults the final night of the tournament with their takeoff on Johnny Carson’s Carnac the Magnificent routine.

Jim was honored in 1975 when Bob Allen established the Jim Davis Award for Outstanding Coordinators, making Jim the first recipient. AGLOA has continued the award without Jim’s name on it since he is one of the founders of the organization. He is also a member of the AGLOA Hall of Fame as a coach whose teams won 24 national championships in all three areas, Mathematics, Social Studies, and Language Arts.

Jim has been retired from teaching since 1998.

The school board put in a retirement incentive program. They said it was the last year we could take advantage of the program, and they were never offering it again. I wasn’t ready to go since I was only 55. But I thought it was my last chance to take the incentive program. Those liars have offered it every year since!

After retirement, Jim continued to teach math classes at the local junior college, although he is now retired from that role as well. He and his wife Sandy keep busy as baby sitters for their son’s and daughter’s children.

It’s amazing how exhausting it is to watch your grandchildren all day.

Jim continues to help run the national tournament, although he is no longer involved in scorekeeping. He will welcome you with a smile and a cheerful greeting when you arrive at the registration table. Look for him.


Down Memory Lane

Jim Davis recalls “one of my proudest moments.”James Davis

With one tournament left in local competition in 1969, one of the elementary schools in the Springdale (PA) District had yet to qualify a team for Nationals. Unfortunately, the final game was Wff’N Proof, which the coach, Carolyn Pugh, knew nothing about.

I told her I’d coach them. Send them to me (two blocks up the hill) after school. I taught them enough Wff’N Proof that they won the final tournament and qualified for Nationals. At the Nationals in Fort Lauderdale (FL), they not only won Wff’N Proof but the overall Elementary sweepstakes trophy.

The players, some of whom eventually played for Jim, were Mario Berasi, Sandy Eckert, Joe Leftwich, Janet Marchek, Cheri Stanisky, and Barbara Takach.

Comments are closed.