Dear Students, Parents, Coaches, and Friends of The International History Olympiad!

I would like to thank you for having either registered for or expressed interest in the upcoming International History Olympiad, which is now just over a month away! I hope that your students are looking forward to joining us for an incredible week of competition and camaraderie with approximately 100 students from around the world likely to attend. Just as a reminder, the dates are July 9-15 at The College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, VA, though it is possible to arrive a night earlier or stay a night later if you wish for an added slight fee. The post-Olympiad tour of the Northeast USA will begin on July 15 after the Olympiad concludes and will end on the morning of July 23 in Boston.

In this email, I’d like to just discuss a few important points and updates. For those of you who have officially registered, there will be subsequent emails going out at a regular basis, especially after June 14 once our last pre-Olympiad event (the International History Bee and Bowl Asian Championships) concludes in Thailand. We will also look to have the official schedule of Olympiad events finalized by June 21, and then sign-ups for events will take place during the last ten days of June. Please note that you are not expected to compete in every individual event. Doing so would likely be exhausting and make it more difficult for you to contend for the medals podium in the events where you are most likely to excel.

Here are a few other additional announcements on some important points:

1. Deadline for Registration

While we will attempt to be as flexible as possible regarding registrations for the Olympiad, we can only guarantee registrations that are submitted by July 1.  If you do not officially register by July 1, there is no guarantee we will be able to accommodate you (though we are not going to say outright that we won’t take anyone after this date either). Please register at as soon as you know you’ll be able to join us!

2. Payment / Refund / Late Fee policy

Payments for the Olympiad are due by July 1. Payments submitted after that date are subject to a $50 per day penalty. In contrast with our flexibility on payments at certain other events, no student will be allowed to compete unless all payments and applicable late fees have been paid prior to July 9! As for refunds, we can refund payments in full, minus bank transaction fees until June 14. From June 15-July 1, we can issue a 50% refund for payment. After July 1, no refunds will be given for any reason.

3. Event Update / Policy Regarding Age Divisions

First, on one specific point, due to concerns regarding liability, trademark issues, and finding a suitable venue, we regret that we are unable to feature “Kno’dgeball” as one of the events (this was to be a History Bee / Dodgeball hybrid event). In its place, however, we are pleased to present “Table Combined” an event where students will play 5 points of Table Tennis on one table followed by 5 History Bee questions on another. They will alternate back and forth until a student wins by 2 points.

The broader announcement regards the age divisions and team formation at the Olympiad. In order to ensure that we have suitable numbers of students in all three age divisions, we will likely be adjusting the division definitions in order to ensure an optimal distribution of students throughout all 3 divisions. This will be done by birthdate, so that roughly the oldest 1/3 of attending students constitute the Varsity, the middle 1/3 the Junior Varsity and the youngest 1/3 the Middle School regardless of their divisions at IHBB/NHBB tournaments this year.

Additionally, as far as team formation is concerned for the team events, we are going to feature teams with a maximum of 3 students (not 4) at the Olympiad which will both help to increase the number of teams within each division and allow more students proportionally more buzzes on questions (as fewer students compete in each match). However, we are certain to not have exact multiples of 3 students in each division from each country / US state, so some flexibility will be needed.

For the team events only, students may indicate if they are willing to compete in an older age class if it helps round out the number of teams. Whether they actually do so will then be at our discretion, though – it’s not a guarantee they will. Some teams will consist of just 2 students but no student will play as a “Team” of 1, unless they explicitly consent to that (we will not pressure anyone to do this – it’s up to students if they wish to select that option). We will confirm with each registered student on these matters between June 21 and July 1 – please do not email us with your requests before then.

Teams of students from multiple countries / states will earn a fraction of medal points commensurate with the number of students on each team. Note that for individual events, students will be required to compete in their age division – “playing up” will not be permitted so as to preserve the competitive integrity of the younger divisions.

Please understand that these policies are being enacted so as to ensure an optimal Olympiad experience for as many students as possible. The International History Olympiad is completely unlike any other competition run by anyone, anywhere, ever, and we are trying to balance all sorts of factors in creating the best experience for all. We appreciate your cooperation and patience, as we continue to create an unforgettable week for all who participate.

4. Post-Olympiad Tour Update

We will be sending out an additional email on the post-Olympiad tour within the next several days. This will list the final cost of the tour, the activities that are confirmed, and some that are still possible, pending sufficient interest among students (e.g. visits to certain colleges and universities). Official registration will open by June 10 and remain open through July 1. After July 1, the tour will remain open on an as-available basis. Note that students who know they will be joining us for the tour are certainly able to already book travel home from Boston Logan Airport at any time on July 23 (morning departures are preferred, as no events are planned on July 23). The tour is confirmed to conclude in Boston the morning of July 23. If you wish to depart from Boston on the evening of July 22, this is almost certainly not a problem, but please confirm with us first at

5. Further Questions

Please email Nolwenn Madden at with any Olympiad-related questions, though it may be either she or I who responds to you. As we have our IHBB European Championships this coming weekend, and our Asian Championships the following weekend, we may be somewhat slow to respond prior to June 15, though we will do our best to get back to you as quickly as we can. After June 15, all emails will be answered within 24 hours. We will also post updates to as they become available, so check there for news too. A list of registered and expected students is being maintained here as well.

That’s all for now. Thanks for your interest and support of NHBB & IHBB, as you make history yourselves by planning to take part in the inaugural International History Olympiad next month!

Best regards,

David Madden