Friendship Academy DG wins the revived 6x4

Friendship Academy’s Nidhir Guggilla & Esha Dabhawala won the tournament after debating nine rounds

Friendship Academy’s Nidhir Guggilla & Esha Dabhawala won the tournament after debating nine rounds

After a one year hiatus, the 6x4 tournament returned to the parliamentary debate circuit on February 2nd & 3rd at Bishop O’Dowd High School. In the final round, held between Club Parli’s Albert Hao & Jessica Zhu and Friendship Academy’s Esha Dadbhawala & Nidhir Guggilla, Friendship Academy took first place on a 2-1 decision.

The final round consisted of a case affirmative from Dadbhawala & Guggilla against a negative strategy from Hao & Zhu comprising of a ‘war-as-an-event’ kritik and topicality argument that the affirmative did not fit the word “substantially” in the resolution.

This year’s 6x4, organized per usual as a round robin with preliminary round pods, had competitive pools of 22 varsity teams and six junior varsity teams, breaking to quarterfinals and semifinals, respectively. To operate as a round robin, the 6x4 split the field for preliminary rounds into pods of four teams by NPDL ranking, allowing each team to debate every other team in the pod twice. The highest seeded teams in each pod at the end of prelims advanced to elimination rounds.

Competitors and judges believed that there were some benefits and some downfalls of the round robin style, with Jessica Jung, a hired judge and NPDA debater, seeing little difference besides the educational benefit of having teams be guaranteed to hit good teams within their pod multiple times.

Dadbhawala claimed that hitting the same teams on the affirmative and the negative could have been helpful to check back against side biases. However, she also thought that pods made the tournament less about how well individual teams do and more about how they do compared to other teams, which, to her, did not necessarily promote the best message.

Zach Moss, the tournament director, noted that the round robin structure made pre-tournament work more complicated—they had to balance pods despite last-minute registration changes, and check the judge pool carefully for any unlisted conflicts. However, there were benefits to using a round robin format.

“Since it was a round robin, we could pair all six rounds the night before, [so] there was no worrying about doing pairings, dealing with too many teams on one side, breaking brackets, and all of that,” Moss said. “It was real simple: here are the teams you’re debating all six rounds, you know who you’re going to see and when.”

The structure of the round robin also made logistics easier when the host school’s availability changed in the days preceding the tournament: on January 31st, the 6x4 was told to have every student off of the campus as soon as round five ended on the first day because of an adult-only event on campus.

On February 1st, the day before the tournament, Moss was told of another event on campus that would start an hour and a half earlier—forcing them to move the fifth round to Saturday. Fortunately, according to Moss, the scheduling and the round robin structure which allowed for all the preliminary rounds to be paired ahead of time made the schedule shift significantly easier.

These early pairings allowed to tournament to stay on schedule as well. According to Dadbhawala, the 6x4 was able to start every single round exactly on time, which, to her, was “amazing.” However, due to the tight scheduling, one of the Friendship Academy teams was unable to make it to prep on time because of a long reason for decision—a problem resolved for future rounds by more careful timekeeping by judges.

“I’m very thankful to all of our hired judges who were willing to come out and spend their weekend working with us, I’m also very thankful for all the parents who volunteer their time both for that tournament as well as for tournaments generally throughout the season. I think that there’s no way we could do what we do as debate coaches if it weren’t for the ongoing support of parents and the academic communities that our students are involved in,” Moss said.


QUARTERFINALS

Campolindo Liana Belinsky & Anish Visht def. Friendship Edward Frazer & Suhas Kotha (2-1)

Club Parli Albert Hao & Jessica Zhu def. Bishop O’Dowd Adam Stone & Connor Whitehill (3-0)

Friendship Esha Dadbhawala & Nidhir Guggilla def. Design Tech Amar Gao & Ben Gao (3-0)

Bishop O’Dowd Paulina Harding & Gratia O’Rafferty Bishop O’Dowd w/o Lucy Barretto & Lola Deibert

SEMIFINALS

Club Parli Hao & Zhu def. Bishop O’Dowd Harding & O’Rafferty (3-0)

Friendship Dadbhawala & Guggilla def. Campolindo Belinsky & Visht (2-1)

FINAL

Friendship DG def. Club Parli HZ (2-1)