Alex Zhao

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I debated for the University of Chicago. I coach DePaul. My results page is here:

I do not have particular case preferences, though it appears that everyone believes I enjoy econ and historical IR cases. As long as the case avoids heavy assertions or the requirements that what would otherwise be considered facts be debated, then I think it's fine. Even if a case requires certain kinds of assertions as long as they're caveated or fiated in a way that is both reasonable and balanced I am okay with it. If you choose to not heed this warning then you are asking me to intervene based on my own personal knowledge, which may or may not work for you, but it is a gamble.

I will not intervene based on what I know, but if something you said in the round to be factually false (ie if you assert, for example, that Barack Obama was born in Kenya), I will become more and more skeptical, going from "you probably don't know that what you're saying isn't true, but it's not too far off so whatever" to "okay this argument's plausibility is less believable simply because what you said is wrong" to "now you're just lying to win the round and will be dropped punitively."

I believe tight calls can be good rounds with high speaks. My standard for when a case is tight is as follows:

  1. It is tight if it doesn't even have a single compelling argument for the opp. This is obvious.
  2. Even if it has one winnable argument that in an average vs average team matchup would see the opp win, if it is basically a lone point in the wind and the opp has to basically forgo any real position other than repeating a single point for 8 minutes then the case is tight.
  3. If reasonable opps cannot be thought of without either spec knowledge or hours of thinking, then those opps are not reasonable and the case is tight.
  4. Of course if you can reasonably prove that words are nothing but meaningless noise who knows where the round can go.