The first 3 preliminary rounds of the 15th Indonesian Varsities English Debate will take place today at Universitas Muhammadiyah Malang. The competition is expected to be tough with no runaway favourites as none of the participating debaters have won an Indonesian classical tournament before. IVED is the 3-on-3 national championships that started in 1998. Two other classics, which began before it, are JOVED and ALSA UI E-Comp. Last year's winning team from Universitas Gadjah Mada had 2 JOVED 2010 champions while their grand final opponent from Universitas Indonesia was led by a JOVED 2009 winner.
Teams from UGM, UI, Binus International and Universitas Bakrie have individuals with trophies from other tournaments. But not a single team has two of these. This situation opens a large window of opportunity for new stars to rise. It also increases the element of unpredictability into every round. Usually, only teams with 4 wins out of 6 mandatory rounds can break into the main octofinals. There will be 3 more prelims tomorrow.
This year's competition is full of novices; true freshmen or dozens that want to fall in the category. Around three quarters of the participants called themselves "novice", requiring a time-consuming investigation last night. The term is not defined as "never debated" like in other competitions but "never broken", allowing senior debaters who have failed to break for years a chance to get some limelight. Eight "novice' teams that come below the Top 16 may advance to a separate "novice" elimination.
On a non-debating aspect, participants have complained about the quality of accommodation. The organisers chose a modest student dormitory, a throwback to IVEDs of yesteryears. More recent IVEDs used hotels. Another twist in the current IVED is a proposal to establish a permanent national union for debating societies. The motion will be debated in the council meeting at the end of the tournament.