Following on from my earlier post on how the WUDC preliminary rounds work here is an overview on how the break works.
After 9 rounds the top 32 teams "break" to the knockout stages. While it can vary if the number of teams increases or decreases or if the number of rounds is less than 9 (as in Glasgow) a good rule of thumb is that the break will be around 18 points plus speaker points. That means you need to average first or second in each debate. You get 3 points for a win, 2 for second, 1 for third and 0 for fourth. That means you don't have to finish in the top 2 in each debate but the more thirds or fourths you get the more firsts you will need to compensate to break.
The break is announced from the top down. That means the last 4 or 5 places announced are the teams on 18 points. However there may be 10 teams or more on 18 points. This is where speaker points come in. The teams that do break are determined by those with the highest speaker points. Therefore to be safe in the break the target that you need to aim for 19 points.
The top 32 teams are broken into 8 octo finals (32/4 = 8). The break is seeded to that the top two teams won't meet each other until the final (if they get there). The draw works as follows
1, 16, 17, 32
2, 15, 18, 31
3, 14, 19, 30
4, 13, 20, 29
5, 12, 21, 28
6, 11, 22, 27
7, 10, 23, 26
8, 9, 24, 25
From here on it is knockout. The top two teams in each debate go through. There are no points or speaker marks. You have to be in the top two to get through. As mentioned earlier the top two seeds are kept apart until the final and the top 4 are kept apart until the semi finals. This means after the octofinals the winners from Room 1 will meet Room 8, Room 2 will meet Room 7 and so on.
This means that the draw from the 2010 World Championships was as follows:
There are a couple of off shoot competitions. The English as a Second Language competition and the English as a Foreign Language competition. Teams are asked at registration to declare themselves as ESL/EFL or Native speaking. Those claiming to be ESL/EFL will be assessed to determine their real ability level. All teams compete in the main World Championships preliminary rounds. The number breaking in the off shoot competition will be determined by the number of teams declaring themselves ESL/EFL. You could have as many as 16 or as few as 4 breaking in ESL and EFL. The teams breaking in ESL/EFL are determined by points earned just like the main break. They are matched up just like the main break with the top teams being kept apart until the final.
There are two other competitions also announced on break night. The Masters Final (an open competition usually made up of national teams) and the Public Speaking final. These are not linked to the results of the preliminary rounds and are determined by a competition run in parallel to the main competition. There is also a comedy competition but this is usually held all in one night so there is not a break.
This means on break night you will generally have the break announced as follows:
Public Speaking break
"Breaking" judges (I posted an article a couple of years ago on the judge break. I won't revisit it as combined with the comments it still holds)
Main World Championships Break