Today sees Round 7 and Round 8 of the 2012 World Schools Debating Championships in Cape Town, South Africa. The all important break will largely be decided today. On paper, R7 ought to have mostly predictable debates, pitting AvH, BvG, CvF and DvE. A number of high calibre clashes will occur, though unexpectantly, between teams who have done better than their pre-tournament ranking might suggest. Clashes to look out for in R7 include:
Scotland (5-14) vs Thailand (4-11)
South Korea (5-15) vs Lithuania (4-11)
Malaysia (4-10) vs Peru (3-7)
Indonesia (4-11) vs Israel (3-10)
Slovakia (3-10) vs The Netherlands (3-9)
Round 8 will see some of the most heated clashes with A teams against A teams, B teams against B teams and so on. This is on paper the most competitive round. I count 8 debates in particular will be important in deciding which teams break.
Thailand (4-11) vs Argentina (3-10)
Scotland (5-14) vs Slovenia (4-12)
India (4-11) vs UAE (4-10)
The Netherlands (3-9) vs Pakistan (3-10)
Sri Lanka (4-10) vs Israel (3-10)
Philippines (4-13) vs Hong Kong (4-12)
Obviously at this stage Singapore, New Zealand and South Africa are guaranteed to break. Based on the results of the first 6 rounds, I count 7 other teams that should also be certain to break, leaving 6 breaking spots up for grabs. Those 6 spots are going to be fought out between some 16 teams who all have a chance of getting 5 wins. Of these 17 teams, 9 are almost certain to get 5 wins, which is to say that a team with less 4 wins after the first 7 rounds is not going to break.
The 11 debates highlighted above will most likely determine which of these teams make it through. There will likely be 3-4 teams who end the day with 6 wins, leaving just 2-3 places for teams on 5 wins. Teams with 5 wins and 16 judges or above are most likely to break. At this point, unless a significant number of teams drop judges in R7 or R8, 5 wins and 15 judges may not be enough, and 5 wins and 14 judges looks unlikely.