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Spar Instructions

SPAR Instructions



(SPAR stands for SPontaneous ARgumentation.


  • Prep: 1 minute
  • Aff: 2 minutes
  • Neg: 2 minutes
  • Cross X: 3 minutes
  • Aff Rebuttal: 2 minutes
  • Neg Rebuttal: 2 minutes


SPAR is a short form of impromptu debate, often about less serious topics. The tournament will provide Judges with the SPAR topics at the top of their ballots. Judges will type or cut/paste the topics in the chat box one-at-a-time at each pairing during the round.

Sample topics: 


  • Cats are better than Dogs
  • Taylor Swift is more talented than Beyonce
  • All cars should be blue


Speaker 1 will debate Speaker 2; Speaker 3 will debate Speaker 4; Speaker 5 will debate Speaker 6; Speaker 7 will debate Speaker 8.   If there is an odd number of competitors in a round, the last speaker will debate a volunteer from the rest of competitors in the round.  The judge is to be instructed to not take the volunteer competitor's performance in to consideration when ranking the round. For each pair, flip a coin is to decide which speaker is affirmative and which is negative.

Unlike judges of prepared debate, spar judges do not have to render decisions. Judges merely rank the debaters in terms of how well they defend their side, the quality of their arguments, the quality of their presentation, their use of questions, and the like.  For example, it is entirely possible for a judge to rank a competitor first in the round and to rank that competitor's opponent second in the round. The important thing to remember is that spar competitors should be judged on the basis of overall wit, persuasion and quality argument construction.

Bullying and disrespect will result in lower scores.