25 June, 2008



MDU A (Dan and James) and ULU B (Fred and Rosie) broke :D

MDU broke 3rd and ULU B broke 10th.

Cue much happiness and delight!


Al said...

So that should make the quarters:

Oxford A
TCD Phil B
Oxford C

Oxford B
Cambridge B

Manchester A
Oxford D

Leiden A
UCC Phil A

Miss Middle of Manchester said...

Erm, I can never work stuff like that out!

Miss Middle of Manchester said...

I'm also ecstatic that all the Tilbury teams broke, but don't have any of their numbers! Booo :(

Al said...

Wait, so have Leiden A gone into both breaks? Surely not...

Miss Middle of Manchester said...

I have no idea.

Usually when a team breaks to main break, they 'lose out' on the ESL break...

I imagine the team which came 17th should be bumped up.

Unless it's actually Leiden A and Leiden B and people are confused?

Al said...

Just asked Jens. I guess the issue for an ESL team in the top 16 is that going into the main break could see them kicked straight out of the quarters and missing out on winning the ESL title. Though I note a non-IONA team did win Euros when it was held at Durham (in 2004, I think) but they may not have been actual ESLers

Can Okar said...

At Euros, you can break in both the main break and ESL break and until last year this regularly happened. 2007 was the only year in which the ESL and main breaks were completely distinct.

In 2004 at Durham, Utrecht A managed, as you say, to win the main competition but were actually defeated in the final of the ESL. Other teams over the years to have broken in both breaks are Hebrew in 2002 (Neomi Kreiger and Eli Noverstern), Haifa in 2003 (Anat Gelber and Guy Yariv), IDC in 2004(Jacob Shwergold & Yaron Chayat), Erasmus in 2006 (Mark Roels & Lars Duursma) and Bonaparte in 2006 (Daniel Schut and Anne Valkering).

Another interesting (or boring) stat:

Since the start of Euros, there has been a relative decline in the fortunes of ESL teams in the main competition, presumably as more native speaking teams have joined the party. The number of ESL teams in the main break each year is as follows:

1999 (Rotterdam) - 5
2000 (Aberdeen) - 5
2001 (Ljubljana) - 7
2002 (Haifa) - 7
2003 (Zagreb) - 2
2004 (Durham) - 4
2005 (Cork) - 1
2006 (Berlin) - 2
2007 (Istanbul) - 0
2008 (Tallinn) - 1

Al said...

Can, you have definately come to the right place. We love boring stats!

Pity Utrech didn't do the double in 04, that would have been a cool feat

Can Okar said...

Or another way to look at that stat is to say that there are two generations of Euros with Cork as the start of the new generation.

On average, in the period 1999-2004, five ESL teams broke in the main break. In the period 2005-2008, this has dropped dramatically to 1 per year.

The main changes in the new generation of Euros is size (average size 150 compared to average size 60 perviously) and IONA embracing the tournament in a way that they did not previously.

Miss Middle of Manchester said...


Thank you for that clarification. Does Worlds have the same rule?

I had heard that the collective fortunes of ESL teams in the main break had been declining, I hadn't appreciated that it was as dramatic. Do you care to speculate why?

My personal (not long thought on) idea is that debating within the UK has grown massively in the last few years meaning there are now more ENL teams. If we accept that on average, ENL teams perform better than ESL teams (and the existence of your figures and a separate ESL break would seem to support this generalisation) then perhaps the lower performance is a result of there simply being more ENL teams in the tournament than I previous years?

Of course, my initial assumption could be very wrong (higher growth in UK than in Europe). I am aware that debating has seen massive growth in E. Europe, Turkey etc.

My alternative thought is that debating is done slightly different in IONA than in Europe - even though all are BP and the dominance of IONA judges means that they automatically lean towards giving 1st to teams which debate in IONA. I wonder if the ESL teams which have broken in the past few years are ones who have been to many IVs on the IONA circuit rather than 'only' competing in Europe.

the last four years have been shockingly low, compared to the previous, though.

Miss Middle of Manchester said...

Oh, it appears we all have similar thought on it being a numbers game! I should have read your post in more detail and spent less time on my own.

Miss Middle of Manchester said...

It was such a sudden break from Cork onwards. Did anything to do with ESL status/rules change?

Al said...

2004 is roughly the time when domestic debating exploded in the UK, too. Prior to that, IVs tended to be much smaller and only the biggest, most prestigous universities took it really seriously. More recently, more universities are doing it, more teams are going to tournaments, more money is being raised through sponcorship etc etc

For example: Manchester IV 2005=a dozen teams, Manchester IV 2008= about 60 teams. The same has happened to many other universities, like Kings and others.

Al said...

Just noticed that Liz made my same observation before me (and much more eloquently). Whoops.

Miss Middle of Manchester said...

And Can made it in his very first post on he issue, far more succinctly!

Can Okar said...

Right, we've agreed it a numbers game - here are some more numbers.

The average 1999-2004 tournament had just under 5 ESL teams breaking in the main break in a 64 team tournament where there were 21 IONA teams present.

The average 2005-2008 tournament had 1 ESL team breaking in the main break in a 150 team tournament where there were 64 IONA teams.

When we look at ESL breaking teams in the main break, the first generation gives such high numbers in part because there were less than 16 ENL teams at the tournament. Indeed, at Rotterdam and Haifa, all the ENL teams broke, though there were only 11 at Rotterdam and 9 in Haifa (there had been a bomb earlier that year which put off some people from travelling).

Finally, when you look at growth of IONA vs. growth of the rest of Europe, the data suggests that IONA has grown faster. In the first generation of Euros, an average 34% of the tournament was from IONA. In the second generation this has risen to 42%. Istanbul and Tallinn had the highest proportional and numerical number of IONA teams, at 45% and 48% and 76 and 75 respectively.

What does this mean? It means that Leiden should be bloody proud for starters. And it means that a new marker has been set for ESL teams - teams that break in the main break should get some kind of special award for breaking the stats!

ESL Teams IONA %
Rotte 5 32 11 34%
Aber 4 64 27 42%
Sloven 6 64 12 19%
Haifa 7 40 9 23%
Zagreb 2 100 38 38%
Durham 4 76 32 42%
Cork 1 112 48 43%
Berlin 2 164 54 33%
Koc 0 168 76 45%
Tallinn 1 156 75 48%

Anonymous said...

Oh, it should be noted that Durham numbers are estimates as there is no tab. I think they're accurate estimates though :)

Miss Middle of Manchester said...

It's good that a 'worrying' statistic is likely to have its cause in a positive event rather than something bad,

And I agree, Leiden have done fantastically well and deserved to.

I still stand by my earlier comment, though I accept that it is a numbers game, that there is a certain difference in style. I found it striking when judging at Prague the different focusses many of my wings had, even though they were well regarded as judges.

Notable, Tilbury and Leiden (two ESL institutions which have done well) are well known on the IONA circuit.

Al said...

What exactly do you mean by 'focuses' in that last comment, Liz?

Miss Middle of Manchester said...

I mean that whilst we're all doing BP, there are national/regional styles within that. They don't appear until you have large numbers of judges looking for different things.

To choose a non-European example, the habit that Australians have of flagging their extensions means that many teams who aren't Australian get marked down because although they had new material and analysis (and this is recognised by the judge), they didn't adequately flag their extension.

Another example would be the way Americans require you to rebutt every point.

Even when the judges briefing attempts to eliminate these sorts of things, and even when the judges are doing their best to avoid them, the judges habit we are used to are so ingrained, I
can see how it would be difficult.

In terms of my personal experience, the example which comes to mind was when I was judging a room. It was a solid break room where the right arguments had comes up from both sides etc. I felt all of the teams had excellent analysis, but that the prop had failed to respond to a line repeatdly made by op along the lines it 'this just won't work'. My wing refused point blank to accept that practicalities were important in this instance. I tried to persuade her for 15 mins before giving up and pulling rank.

European teams are less likely to do motions on, say, female circumcision or other 'risky' topics and are more likely to 'play safe'.

Again, I recognise that these are both anecdotal and generalisations, but they are my observations.

Does that answer the question? If not, rephrase and I'll try again.

PS: any news on why Nye had to go home?