These are the daily tasks for the Chief Adjudicator and CAP.


As Chief Adjudicator you should have some method of communicating on a regular basis with judges (and, if necessary, coaches and debaters). This may be done via a newsletter delivered to hotel rooms, announcements posted on a message board, or, most likely, verbal briefings given at breakfast when everyone is nominally in the same room.

Be warned: usually, the only time all competition participants are at breakfast at the same time is on the first day. As the tournament progresses and tiredness sets in, attendance drops as people sacrifice food for a few more minutes in bed. You cannot therefore rely on reaching your entire target audience. If you have something important to say, you should either find people individually or take a roll-call of judges at breakfast to find out who’s missing.

Typically the daily draw for judging duties will be announced first thing in the morning (or, if you’re being efficient, posted on a message board the night before). You should ask judges to tick their name on the posted copy outside to indicate that they have seen their assignment. When reading it out at breakfast, ask for acknowledgement. It is critical that you ensure all judges know which school they are going to and which bus, if any, they need to be on.

You may have special announcements to make about debate practice – such as common misunderstandings of the Rules or other issues that are highlighted after the first few debates. Breakfast may not be the best place to discuss these as you may want to keep things behind closed doors. You may, if practicable, call a special meeting of judges, or more likely you may use members of the CAP to communicate messages to the judges at their schools. It should be possible for each member of the CAP to speak individually to up to 10 judges and so cover the entire tournament.

Distribution of materialsEdit

At breakfast you and the Convenor should work together to ensure that each school group has ballots, marksheets and any other necessary materials; and that each organiser or CAP member has any impromptu motions needed that day.

You may also give out copies of ballots from the previous days’ debates to coaches, if they are ready.

Roll-calls on busesEdit

Whoever is ‘in charge’ of a particular school (this may be a member of the Org Comm or of the CAP, or sometimes a senior judge) should conduct a roll-call before a bus or group departs for a school. They should ensure all the teams are present and also each of the judges (by name). This must include any judges who may be judging later rounds but not the first one of the day (for example, judging round 4 but not round 3) – so that the person "in charge" should have a full list of the day’s debates. If any judges are missing, the "in charge" person should speak to you immediately.

If, for example, a judge is given a morning round off but is judging in the afternoon, they may ask to make their own way to the school in time for the later round of debates. Depending on ease of transport, this is usually fine – but they must inform the person doing the roll-call for that school. They should also be told that they may be summoned to adjudicate in case of emergency (see below).

Sick adjudicatorsEdit

Viruses and bugs have been known to lay tournament personnel low, and unfortunately this sometimes includes the least dispensable members – the judges. You may discover in the morning that some of your judges are unable to travel to their designated rounds.

Assuming you have spare judges available, you should rearrange judging panels to fill the gaps. In the unlikely situation that you have no spare ‘standard’ judges, you should consider who the other qualified candidates are. Perhaps you yourself have no commitments for that round and can fill in. Maybe the Convenor or another member of the Org Comm is qualified to judge at WSDC.

In emergencies – which may include a judge pulling out with seconds to spare – you can look at using shadow judges, debate teachers at host schools (who may or may not have attended a training session) or a coach of a team not in the relevant debate. This has been done in the past, but is now forbidden by the Rules. It may, however, be your last resort to ensure a debate goes ahead.

To judge or not to judge?Edit

As CA, you will almost certainly have judged at several previous competitions and be qualified to judge any round. This doesn’t mean that you give yourself the same duties as any other judge.

WSDC competitions are very hectic and tiring, particularly for the organisers. You may find that having some 'quiet time' when you can catch up on your duties (tabbing, judge allocation), watch your own country’s team, or just take a breather is very valuable. So you may not wish to judge every round.

At the same time, you will probably want to be involved in judging in some way, if nothing else than to experience the real heart of the tournament, to participate in an active way.

Finding the balance is up to you. Ultimately, though, a calm and relaxed CA benefits the competition! If you are taking rounds off, you may still attend schools in order to help with organising duties, or else remain at the hotel. Members of your CAP should know exactly where you are and be able to contact you for advice at all times.

Dissemination of resultsEdit

Teams like to hear results of other debates, at other schools, as soon as possible – particularly in the later stages of the competition when their progress may be affected. This is usually done in an informal way (non-comprehensively, by phone or text between participants), but you may think about arranging a formal method.

One way would be this: an organiser from each school sends a text message with their results to you or a designated result-collator. For efficiency the standard three-letter country codes might be used, together with judges’ votes, like this:

PER 2 WAL 1. USA 3 AUS 0. ENG 1 RUS 2

This would mean that Peru had defeated Wales by a 2-1 margin; USA 3-0 over Argentina; and England (in Proposition) had lost to Russia 2-1.

Once all the results are received by the collator, they can be put together and sent back out to the other organisers, who can then announce them to teams. A copy of the results can also be uploaded on the WSDC webpage through the webmaster. With the advent of social media, results will be tweeted or Facebooked almost immediately after they are released, but as CA your comparative advantage lies in disseminating complete and accurate results.

You may of course prefer standard phone calls, but it can be difficult to reach people when phones are switched off, debates are continuing etc. However you do it, nominate one person to collate and redistribute to avoid a mass of unstructured contacts.

Collection of results at hotelEdit

As explained above, the ballots should be collected at each debate venue by one nominated organiser who should then deliver them to you as soon as they return. They, and you, should each have a list of the day’s debates and tick each one off as the ballots are collected, so that you know exactly which ones you are waiting for.

To aid collection you should probably position yourself in a prominent position, such as the hotel lobby, as the debaters are returning. Alternatively they may be handed in to your ‘office’ if everyone knows exactly where it is.

If time is critical, for example to calculate the break in time to announce it, you may have results phoned in. This isn’t practical for speaker scores, however, only for results and judges’ votes, so you may not be able to separate teams until the actual ballots are returned and tabulated. An alternative is to send a volunteer round in a taxi to collect ballots from every venue.

Break roundsEdit

Once the break, and subsequent results, are known, you have little to do in the way of tabbing but more in allocating break rounds to venues. As soon as the debates are allocated you should speak to all team coaches and ensure they know where and against whom they will be debating in the next round. This information should then be posted along with the judges’ draw on a message board for everyone to see.

Once the Semi-Finals are complete, you should hold a coin toss for the two teams in the Final, to allocate sides.


The technique of tabbing is dealt with elsewhere but it’s worth addressing how tabbing fits in to your daily schedule.

Your designated tab team should tabulate the day’s results every evening. It is vital that a team of volunteers is available every night to work on the tab. It is an eminently manageable task if you are tabbing one or two rounds at a time, but a nightmare if left until the end of the preliminary rounds. With the growth of the tournament it is no longer feasible for the CAs, or even the CAP, to enter the data by themselves. In 2013, a special assistant was flown in solely for the purpose of managing the data entry process.

The spreadsheet system used in 1999, 2001, 2003, 2006 and 2007, for example, meant that feeding in a round’s results of about 16 debates took less than an hour. So it was easily possible to tabulate one round at lunchtime and one in the evening, or even two in the evening.

As long as volunteers are fully familiar with whatever methods you have to look out for errors, it is a fairly straightforward task. You or a member of the CAP should be on hand to advise in case of problems, though, and to monitor and cross-check the results. Tired tabbers can make mistakes and have done so in the past, so an extra pair of eyes to supervise and double-check is very useful.

Sorting ballotsEdit

Once the tabbing is complete (and all ballots have been checked for accuracy and, if necessary, edited by a member of the CAP), they are ready to be sorted for viewing by coaches.

(Some years ago it was agreed that the ESU in London would become the ‘physical archive’ of WSDC, and some tournaments sent in their complete set of ballots. The Adjudication Group might like to look at this idea again.)

Judge allocationEdit

Another of your key roles at the end of the day is to receive any information, written or verbal, on performance of judges that might be useful to you. Again you should be somewhere where people can find you if they want to – rather than at a restaurant the other side of the city. Members of the CAP will also receive and filter this through to you, and an informal get-together of the CAP every evening is very useful for this. Feedback forms, especially those completed by senior coaches who perhaps have been at a number of competitions or who have themselves judged in the past, will also be helpful. In addition, the current practice is for each member of every adjudication panel to fill in a personalized feedback form on his or her colleagues.

Once tabbing is complete, it’s time to adjust judge rankings before feeding them into the computer system to generate the randomnized assignments. Find a private area for this as the information you discuss will be confidential.

If you’re not up too late, you can print out the following day’s draw and post it on the message board in the evening. Judges like to find out what their responsibilities are the night before if possible.

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