Yale Invitational

September 14-16, 2018

Experienced Westfield Debaters - 9-12th grade

Yale University, New Haven

Registration closed Sunday, September 9th at 9 PM

(Now open by invitation only - please contact Mrs. Henderson)

(If we fill up prior to this date we will announce that registration is closing early)


Karen Koh

FORMAT - Parliamentary

Parliamentary Guide

There will be 5 rounds on Saturday, double-flighted, with a break to quarterfinals; they may run partial/full octos depending on the size of the field.


The tournament begins Friday afternoon but, in past years, they have let me check in by phone on Friday evening and arrive on Saturday morning.  If not, I will drive down on Friday but the kids would not be required to be there. Saturday will be a very long day - we will be leaving West Hartford by 6:45AM to reach Yale by 7:45AM. We won't be done until 7:00 PM at the earliest and this is if they run on time so we wouldn't be back to Mrs. Henderson's house until 8:15PM at the earliest. Last year, it was considerably later; we didn't return home until almost 11:30 PM!  If we break - meaning make it to the final rounds - we need to be there on Sunday by 8:30AM.  How long we stay on Sunday will depend on how far our teams go. This will be a very competitive international tournament so we will have to see. Last year, we made it all the way to quarterfinals and a few years ago we won the whole tournament!! There is an Awards Ceremony late Sunday afternoon for any team that makes it to an elimination round.  If our teams make it that far, we will attend the ceremony.

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The registration and participation cost for this tournament is $80 per student.  The total cost including judging and coach's expenses is $148. We are fortunate we are basically local so we don't have to pay hotel fees for the weekend like the majority of the other debaters.  If the fee poses a financial hardship for anyone, please let Mrs. Henderson know.  Yale has some funds available for interested students who would not otherwise be able to compete. If you are willing and we need you to judge, you can have a portion of this fee waived by volunteering to judge. See below for details.


The number of judges we need depends on how many of our teams are taken off the waiting list. Judges have to be available to come both days because judges are obligated to stay and judge one round past any round in which their students are actively competing. That means judges must be available to attend both Saturday and Sunday.  Depending on how far our debaters go, it is possible that judges will be able to leave after just one round Sunday but it is also possible they will have to stay until 4:00PM. Occasionally, judges only have to judge on Saturday. It completely depends on factors outside of our control so our judges must be available to return on Sunday. 

Because Yale runs a very high-level international tournament, it takes judging responsibilities extremely seriously.  They are very clear that they will blackball any school that does not fulfill their responsibilities.  They state that they will not only prevent that school from competing in future Yale competitions, they will also pass on the name of that school to other competitions.  We never, ever want to be on that list. They fine Judges who fail to appear for an assigned round $25 for a preliminary or $50 for an elimination round. 

This is a very big time commitment but this is the only way our kids can participate in debate tournaments. The only other option is Yale will try to hire judges for us if we absolutely can't provide them.  It is not a given that they can hire judges for every team that requests them and, even if they are able to, this is very costly.  We will be charged $180 per team for every judge Yale has to hire for us. To avoid this unnecessary expense we are going to do what we normally do: distribute the judging responsibility among our debaters who are competing.  Each of our competitors will be assessed a $50 judging fee for the 2-day tournament.  If that competitor provides a judge, that $50 fee will be waived in addition to their Yale registration and participation fee of $80. If we are still short judges, this will allow us to offer non-competitor parents, or friends or neighbors a fee for their services.  We do need to provide trained judges so Mrs. Henderson will provide materials and meet or talk to our judges prior to the competition to prepare them if they don't feel ready. Remember, judges are required to be there Sunday morning and possibly all day Sunday if any of our debaters move on.


Parents do not attend these competitions.  


None of the events schedule time for meals. Food will be available throughout the day for purchase so attendees may eat between rounds. Yale will not view wandering off to eat as an excuse for being late to a round. Debaters, therefore, should definitely bring food and snacks for between rounds and carry a water bottle to prevent dry mouth during the rounds. Debaters should also bring money for extra food.