WUDC 2013: Break rules revised

Datum: Dec 29th, 2012
By
Category: international

The break is now bigger than ever! 48 instead of 32 teams do break after nine preliminary rounds at this World Universities Debating Championship (WUDC or Worlds). That is twelve percent of all teams breaking instead of only eight percent. “Thus, the system we have now is fairer than any of the other proposed systems for the WUDC break,” Marcus Ewald, president of the EUDC Council, is sure.

“Huh?” you may go, “how, mathematically speaking, can 48 teams break to octo-finals? How do they fit into eight rooms?” Well, with the new system, the first 16 teams break save to octo-finals. The other 32 teams of the 48 have to compete in so-called “partial double octo-finals”, or mockto-finals, as vernacular has it – the then 16 first teams fill the residual team slots in the regular octos.

Ex-EUDC-Präsident Jens Fischer und aktueller EUDC-Präsident Marcus Ewald im Gespräch in Belgrad. (Foto: Henrik Maedler)

Former president of the EUDC Council Jens Fischer (left) and current president Marcus Ewald at Euros in Belgrade. (Picture: Henrik Maedler)

So far, the old WUDC break rules said that the first 32 teams simply broke to octo-finals. At a competition with 400 teams that meant only eight percent of participants who got the chance to make it to the out-rounds. Hence, many cried for a break expansion: At least ten percent should have the chance to break – with twelve percent the new rule is even over-fulfilling that cry.

Last year’s proposal, confirmed by the Council at Worlds, but of course not enacted in Manila, allowed all teams at a score of 18+ points to break, leaving the eventual arbitrariness of speaker points unconsidered. That was 18 points because this number means that in nine prelims, on average you’ve always made it second in your rooms. But on the whole, with 400 teams participating, that would have meant up to 80-something teams breaking – with exact planning ahead impossible for the hosts: For instance, the number of rooms and the number of breaking judges depended on the exact number of teams that actually broke. That’s when the term “mockto-finals” was first heard among debaters, mocking the up-to-then strange combination of octos.

So to give participants what they wanted – a break expansion – but at the same time meet the host’s need for secure planning and still have a fair break, a new system was necessary. Hence, now 48 teams break to partial double octos and octos. So, when delegates sat in pre-Council on December 27, a “special session” was opened with a majority of two thirds of delegates present. Before the special session was closed, everybody had the chance to discuss the new proposal and a vast majority consented to the idea of 48 teams breaking. The new system is now executed immediately at Berlin Worlds meaning that we will see the names of 48 teams at break announcement on New Year’s Eve. It is also mandatory for next WUDC – “unless a two-third majority of delegates will decide otherwise at the next Council or pre-Council,” Marcus explained.

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