65th Annual George R R Pflaum Debates at Emporia State

2022 — Emporia, KS/US

Challenge Matching Procedure

Challenge matching will occur in the Roosevelt Hall Lobby and will be used in the partial. ALL judges should be available for the first elim and are obligated through the first full elim (semis)



0. 8:00 am - Breakfast in the Roosevelt Hall lobby.

1.  8:30 am – Top Seed not receiving a bye issues challenge.  Immediately following, the challengee calls a heads or tails and the coin is flipped.  Winner of the flip DOES NOT announce which side they will be taking (unless they want to).  Teams move to room to await release of panels. ALL CHALLENGE ELIMS ARE FLIP FOR SIDES, regardless of prelim side constraints.


2.  Repeat process.  After the coin flip, the next-highest seed remaining is on the clock. Challenger is on a 2-minute timer to issue their challenge. This process will be repeated until the last debate pairs itself.

3.  ASAP – Panels released.  Flip winners have 5 minutes to select their side.  JV pairings will be released soon after.

4.  30 minutes after panels/pairings – Round begins.

5.  Repeat process for every out-round.  Quarters will have three challenges (and one “leftover” match-up).  Semis will have one.  Finals is a leftover match.



1.  Any team who either (a) fails to appear at the challenge ceremony or (b) fails to issue their challenge in the allotted amount of time or (c) choose to forfeit their challenge will:

i.  Become the bottom seed in terms of challenge order.

ii. Automatically be considered the loser of the coin flip in their next challenge match.  In other words, any team that challenges a team that failed to issue a challenge in turn-order will be able to call their side.

2.  The challenge matching procedure will only be used in Open.  It will not be used in Junior Varsity or novice.

3.  Teams are not required to disclose their side choice until panels have been set.  Teams certainly are entitled to disclose their side choice without knowing the panel but it is not required.

4.  Challenge matching will be used in every open elimination round.  Seed order determines challenge order.  Challenge order determines the winner’s seed for the next elimination debate.  In other words, the first challenge issued is the debate for the top seed in the next elim.  The second challenge issued is a debate for the second seed in the next elim.  A few examples:

i.  The 1 seed challenges the 2 seed and the 3 seed challenges the 16 seed.  The 1 seed wins and the 3 seed wins.  In the next elimination round, the original 1 seed would challenge first and the original 3 seed would challenge second, as the original 2 seed had been eliminated.

ii.  1 seed challenges the 2 seed.  3 seed challenges the 4 seed.  The 5 seed challenges the 6 seed.  The 7 seed challenges the 8 seed.  All of the lower seeds win.  Original 2 seed gets first challenge in next round.  Original 4 seed gets second challenge in next round.  Original 6 seed gets third challenge.  Original 8 seed gets forth challenge.



Q: Why are all outrounds flip for sides? 

A: All challenge matched out-rounds are flip for sides to mitigate the advantage of the higher seed.  If side constraints mattered for out-rounds, the higher seed would functionally be able to call their opponent AND side.  Moreover, since challenges don't happen until the morning, over-night prep would massively favor the higher seed since they would know who they were going to debate, the side, and the challengee would have no way of knowing either until the morning.  Conversely, if it is flip for sides the higher seed must be confident that they can beat the challengee on either side.


Q: What criteria might determine who one challenges in outrounds?

A: *Who is getting ready/has gotten ready for you and how much you think that matters.

*Who you may need head-to-head rounds against when 1st/2nd round bids come around.

*Who slept.

*Which district teams you have great strategies against.

*Who you think you are most likely to beat.