Cambridge VS Oxford

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By Vienna’s International Society

December 5, 2011

Two of the most prestigious debating tournaments took place over the last weekends, the Oxford (10th to 11th Nov) and the Cambridge IV (18th to 19th Nov). Debattierklub Wien attended both, sending an adjudicator to Oxford IV (Melanie Sindelar) and a team (Vienna A, Rosie Halmi & Melanie Sindelar) to Cambridge IV.

The first tournament that took place was the Oxford IV – which started on Friday the 10th Nov (for international arrivals on Thursday evening) and took place at the impressive Oxford Union buildings, including the big and famous debate chamber. Unfortunately, the Thursday Night Chamber debate, and the promised presentation of Master-studies as well as the cocktail party were cancelled, but the OrgCom tried to comfort the people with a college dinner and a free drink.

Friday afternoon started off with the first two preliminary rounds, in the evenings they provided free drinks (lots of them) and a social at a club nearby.

On Saturday, the rest of the tournament took place with a break in between to get some food in town, where the Union set up some deals with local restaurants and take-away’s. In the evenings, we got the promised hog roast, and there was so much left that everyone could have a second one too. In between there was also a social at the Union bar, and then the main Finals started, which in the End were won by Sydney A (Daniel Swain & Elle Jones), who defeated Durham A (Pam Cohn and Guy Miscampbell), UCD L&H C ( Mark Haughton and Aengus Boyle) and Cambridge D (Joe Roussos and Asish Kumar). The ESL final was won by Leiden A (Rogier Baart & Ali Al Khatab) defeating Utrecht A (Danique van Koppenhage and Thomas Beerthuis), BBU A (Calin Muresanu and Radu Cotarcea) and Open Comm A (Goran Jankuloski and Milan Vignjevic).
After the announcement of the winners, the tournament ended and people were asked to leave the premises. For some reason, people lost their crash and were left to themselves by the organizers, for an individual view take a look at Goran’s note on facebook about what happened.


DK Wien at Cambridge IV 2011: Melanie Sindelar and Rosie Halmi
DK Wien at Cambridge IV 2011: Melanie Sindelar and Rosie Halmi

Cambridge IV then started one week later at the 18th of November, where Rosie and Melanie came to debate as Vienna A. However, due to late registration, normally there wouldn’t have been any crash places more left, but James Hardy, Convener of Cambridge IV (together with Maria English) had an open ear for us and arranged a last-minute-crash option for us. Indeed, we ended up with the nicest crash person ever, telling us on the way to his place that his heating is broken and the room is overheated. We certainly could deal with that ‘problem’!
On Friday evening, the first two rounds started, in between there was time to get something from the grocery stores nearby and also tea and cake was provided. After the two rounds, everyone enjoyed staying at the Union bar and get free drinks with the ‘free-drinks-buttons’ we were handed out beforehand. For the sake of humane treatment, the rounds on Saturday only started at 9 am (Oxford started their rounds at 8 am, and yes one hour makes a huge difference), but we were reminded from Bob Nimmo, famous tab master and who calls himself ‘the small angry men in the tab room’ that we better ought to really turn up promptly at 9. Which, we in fact managed to do. (an improvement regarding to Oxford IV.) In the mornings we were provided with lots of tasty cereals (although the author’s favourite crunchy nut cornflakes were already finished).

Later in the afternoon the Main break quarter-finals & ESL semi-finals took place, and then it became dinnertime. The English seem to be obsessed about hog roast, so again there was a delicious hog roast dinner (and, in both Oxford & Cambridge, a veggie-alternative), that lead over to the Finals and the Black Tie Social with Champagne and free drinks, as well as good music! Those, who didn’t want to leave for bed after the social, followed some debaters to an ‘after-party’, which was quite funny, but lasted much too long, leaving some two Austrian debaters sleeping in a train next morning to London and nearly missing the stop at Kings Cross (anyway, it would have been the last station – but where would we have ended up when the train again departed?)

The Open Final at the Cambridge IV was won by BPP A, Jack Watson and Doog Cochran. They defeated Oxford BC (Steph Bell and Jen Coyne), Oxford BW (Ben Woolgar and Hugh Burns) and Loyola (James Kilcup and Dearbhail O’Crowley) in the final. The ESL-final was won by Utrecht (Danique van Koppenhagen and Tomas Beerthuis), defeating Berlin A (Niels Schröter and Jonas Werner), Bucharest A (Serban Pitic and Radu Tiganas) and BBU C (Ioana Georgescu and Bianca Prunea )

In terms of organization it seemed that the Cambridge IV was far better organized, the Conveners were way more approachable and you always knew to whom you have to go with your problems. Also, the homepage was better (because they actually had one) and generally more up-to-date information about the tournament was given by the convenors.

The Cambridge IV as a whole was more popular in VDCH-Land, with teams joining from Berlin, Vienna, Kiel and Tilbury House. Berlin A (Niels Schröter and Jonas Werner) broke into ESL-finals and took places 3rd and 4th at the ESL Speaker Tab. Also, the final was chaired by Isabelle Loewe (from Debattierclub Bonn, EUDC winner 2006, ESL). Congratulations to everyone!

Vienna A also has been happy with its result, ended up at Place 14 from 27 with 750 speaker points.

In regard to a recommendation to which of the IV’s you should visit next year, then our personal opinion is: Cambridge IV!


The funny group-picture of VDCH-Teams: Upper row: Rauad Abagela (Kiel), Henrik Maedler(Independent Judge, former IUB), Melanie Sindelar (DK Wien), Thomas Schäfer (Tilbury House) Lower row: Niels Schröter (Berlin), Isa Loewe (Mainz), Jonas Werner (Berlin), Janni Hinselmann (now in Bristol)
The funny group-picture of VDCH-Teams: Upper row: Rauad Abagela (Kiel), Henrik Maedler (Independent Judge, former IUB), Melanie Sindelar (DK Wien), Thomas Schäfer (Tilbury House) Lower row: Niels Schröter (Berlin), Isa Loewe (Mainz), Jonas Werner (Berlin), Janni Hinselmann (now in Bristol)

Here an objective comparison of both tournaments:

Oxford Cambridge
Accessibility on web FB-Page, normal page broke down FB-Page + Homepage with details
Prelim Rounds 5 to 7 minutes 5 to 7 minutes
ESL-Break yes yes
Reg Fee
Standard Package 85 85
including 2 socials, hog rost, crash for 2 nights, free drinks Saturday Night Black Tie Social, free drinks, Hog Roast, crash for 2 nights
International Package 105 110
included Crash for 3 nights, Thursday night debate, cocktail party, College dinner, lecture on Master programs Crash for 3 nights, Thursday Night Debate, Debating Workshops, Tour of Cambridge
Cancellations from Org Thursday night debate, lecture on master programs, cocktail party none
CAs Sayeqa Islam Harish Natarajan
Ben Woolgar Shengwu Li
Hugh Burns Nathalie Smith
Winners open Sydney A (Daniel Swain &
Elle Jones)
BPP A (Jack Watson and Doug Cochran)
Winners ESL Leiden A (Rogier Baart &
Ali Al Khatab)
Utrecht (Danique van Koppenhagen and Tomas Beerthuis)
Team & Speaker Tabs click here click here

Motions Oxford IV 2011

  • Round 1: This believes that sex education classes in schools should teach techniques for pure sexual gratification (including, but not limited to, anal sex, oral sex, mutual gratification and masturbation).
  • Round 2: This house believes that in developing countries aid organizations should be banned from religious proselytizing.
  • Round 3: This house believes that trade unions and labour protection laws should be suspended during times of economic crisis.
  • Round 4: This house believes that Israel should materially support Arab pro-democratic movements.
  • Round 5: This house believes that a tax should be placed on successful artists in order to fund new and developing artists. (Note: Artists defined by the CA team to be the arts and the entertainment industry)
  • Open Quarters: This house believes that International Law should allow states which accept refugees to sue the states they come from for compensation.
  • ESL Semis: This house believes that the LGBT movement should not support pride marches.
  • Open Semis: This house would establish brothels on military bases.
  • ESL Final: This house believes that the CEOs of the largest corporations should be chosen by the national democratic elections.
  • Open Final: This house would establish geographical zones where the selling and consuming of any and all drugs are legal.

Motions Cambridge IV

  • Round 1: This house would allow family members to forcibly commit proven alcoholics and drug addicts to rehabilitation clinics.
  • Round 2: This house believes that all research organizations should institute codes of conduct that forbid the creation of strong AI.
  • Round 3: This house would provide financial assistance to inner city neighborhoods to prevent gentrification.
  • Round 4: This house believes that China should make extracting a full apology for Japan’s war crimes a top strategic priority.
  • Round 5: This house believes that feminists should not campaign against polygamy in poor countries.
  • Open Quarters: This house believes that the use of conscripted soldiers should be a war crime.
  • ESL Semis: This house would take the children of the Amish into care.
  • Open Semis: This house regrets the rise of a distinct African American culture.
  • ESL Final: This house believes that it is morally legitimate for Occupy Movement to use violence to undermine capitalist institutions.
  • Open Final: This house would break up Google’s search monopoly.




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