What happens at a tournament?
A tournament consists of a series of rounds. At a typical tournament, there will be four “preliminary” rounds during the day. At some tournaments, the teams with the best preliminary round records will advance to a semi-final or final round at the end of the day. During each preliminary round, each team debates another team. For example, if there are 80 two-person teams entered in PFD at a tournament, there will be 40 separate debates taking place during each round, each typically in a separate room. A schedule referred to as a “schematic” announces the round. For each debate taking place during that round, the
schematic (Figure 1) lists: (1) the two teams debating, (2) the room where the debate will take place, and (3) the judge.
These speeches, which are typically prepared before the round, stake out the basic position for each side. Debaters will advance two or three reasons why you should support their side of the resolution. They may also define critical words in the resolution to help frame the debate.
The speakers who delivered the 1st constructives take turns questioning each other. The purpose of cross-examination is clarification, not argument; the questioner should always question and avoid statements.
These speeches, delivered by the debaters who have not yet spoken, typically attack the case presented in first constructive by their opponent. The Team 2 rebuttal may also respond to attacks made in the Team 1 rebuttal.
The speakers who delivered the rebuttals question each other.
Each side identifies and defends key points in the debate. The summary speech can introduce new evidence but cannot introduce new arguments unless they are in response to opponent arguments introduced in rebuttal. Restricting the introduction of new arguments in summary helps ensure that the opposing team has sufficient opportunity to respond. Use your judgment to determine if arguments in summary are new, and if so, if their introduction is valid – i.e., has the argument been introduced in response to a new argument in the opponent’s rebuttal. If the argument is new and not validly introduced, disregard it.
All debaters engage in a four-way question-and-answer session.
Each side explains why they have won specific arguments and why winning those arguments implies that they have won the debate. Final Focus should introduce neither new arguments nor new evidence. The new evidence prohibition can be relaxed if the new material is presented in response to a first request for that evidence made in the opposing team’s summary speech or during grand cross-fire.