The tournament registration fee is 10 leva per student. The registration fee must be paid to BEST by the registration deadline for the tournament.
In order for a team’s registration to be considered complete, the team must have filled out all the necessary information on Speechwire and emailed any other required documents, as outlined on our Registration page. Teams with incomplete documentation by the registration deadline are not eligible for travel scholarships and may be subject to penalty fees.
There is no cap on the number of students from any one school or organization that may participate in our tournaments, unless explicitly stated in the relevant tournament portal. BEST reserves the right to cap the maximum number of tournament participants if necessary.
Students may register for up to 3 events per tournament – only ONE from Flight A (Debate and Poetry), and up to TWO from Flight B (Oratory, Duo, and Prose).
Teams may attend regional tournaments outside of their designated regions instead of their own region, if they so choose. However, teams will not be eligible for BEST scholarships for regional tournaments outside of their region.
In any case you should consult a teacher regarding your school’s travel protocol, since that may involve obtaining documents such as parental consent declarations and medical certification forms.
BEST encourages any interested students to participate, regardless of the presence of a team in the community. If you wish to attend a tournament and you do not have a team, you should attempt to join a nearby team for the purposes of efficiency in transportation and utilizing accompanying adults. Two or more students constitute a team and all policies apply as such. Please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance in this matter, and review our policy on accompanying adults in the following section.
Attendance at the end-of-the-year National Tournament is restricted to students who have placed as a semi-finalist or finalist at at least one regional tournament throughout the school year, or Student Leaders who have achieved the maximum amount of points from a set group of criteria.
Everyone who breaks to semi-finals or finals at a regional tournament gets to compete at the National tournament.
The top 6 Debate teams in each Regional tournament qualify for the National tournament.
Attending the National Tournament is a privilege for which non-SL BEST participants compete vigorously throughout the entire year. We aim to recognize that by making Student Leader attendance contingent on achieving excellence in every part of their duties available*. The specific criteria are announced before the tournament season by the Student Leader coordinator, but generally an SL should qualify for the National Tournament if they achieve a maximum score for both pre-tournament projects, behavior, and the community project (or the parts of it that fall before the National tournament registration deadline).
*Student Leaders who do not qualify under point 3 can still qualify as a participant under points 1 and 2.
If a team has under 3 students qualify under points 1, 2, and 3, all of them are guaranteed a spot at the National. The rest of the spots can be filled by any team member chosen by the coach.
When a student who has qualified through Oratory, Prose, or Poetry cannot attend the National tournament, their spot is forfeited and they cannot be replaced by a student who has not qualified for the National tournament.
If only one member of a Duo or a Debate team cannot attend the National tournament, someone else can substitute in for them to go to the National tournament. When more than one member of a Duo or a Debate team cannot attend the National tournament, that team’s spot is forfeited.
Students can attend only 1 regional tournament per semester. This tournament will preferably be the one in their own region, and only out of region in extenuating circumstances that are communicated to BEST in an email.
If students want to attend an out of region tournament, they must pay for their own expenses - hotel, travel, and food. They must also be prepared to manage their own logistics - this means that BEST does not commit to finding hotels for students coming from out of region.
Chaperones and judges brought by out of region students are still fully reimbursed by BEST.
The maximum number of total out of region students at one tournament is capped at 20 from all out of region schools. This means 20 students from all schools, not per team. Teams and students who want to compete out of region MUST email BEST and explain why they want to attend an out of region tournament within the first week of registration.
required accompanying adults (judges and chaperones)
All teams MUST have at least one chaperone who is not participating as a judge. The chaperone must be over 18 years of age and not be enrolled in high school. Any adult can serve as a chaperone only if they are not judging.
Teams are required to bring 1 judge for every 10 students. Otherwise, they must pay a 60-lev penalty fee. For example:
A team of 5 students = 1 judge + 1 chaperone needed
A team of 17 students = 2 judges + 1 chaperone needed
Independent students who wish to attend a tournament and are not affiliated with a local team should attend with an existing team in another community to utilize its judges and chaperones. If they choose not to do so, they still must be accompanied by at least a chaperone. Two or more students constitute a team and must abide by the judge minimum policy.
coverage of expenses for accompanying adults
All adults who serve as judges (including coaches/Fulbright ETAs serving as judges) for the entirety of the tournament will have their travel and accommodation expenses covered by BEST. BEST reserves the right to revoke this coverage if judges fail to report to all their rounds throughout the tournament.
One chaperone for each team (including coaches/Fulbright ETAs serving as chaperones) will have their travel and accommodation expenses covered by BEST.
All other accompanying adults and visitors will not have expenses covered by BEST, but should still present themselves for registration during tournament check-in.
Organizations, secondary schools, and other delegations of 4 or more people should contact email@example.com to make arrangements.
All visitors are expected to be courteous, quiet, and respectful, especially when watching competition rounds in progress. Phones should be on silent to avoid distracting competitors. After a round has begun, audience members should not leave the room unless there is an emergency.
BEST reserves the right to remove visitors who are not following expectations from the tournament site.
BEST Foundation seeks to promote a safe and inclusive environment at all BEST events for adults and students alike. In order to guarantee that BEST events take place in an environment of tolerance and inclusiveness, we expect that all participants (students, judges, coaches, chaperones, guests affiliated with BEST, observers) abide by the following Behavioral Rules:
During tournaments and events organized by BEST Foundation and on affiliated social media platforms, all participants MUST:
Behave in a respectful manner towards other members of the BEST community;
Abide the official rules for speech and world schools debate categories of BEST Foundation;
Put their cell phones on Airplane or Silent Mode during rounds;
Be respectful of other hotel guests. This includes maintaining minimal noise levels after 11:00 pm and treating all hotel property, staff, and fellow guests with the utmost courtesy;
Abide by the laws of the Republic of Bulgaria.
During tournaments participants MUST NOT:
Make inappropriate comments and/or jokes about another person’s culture, race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation;
Engage in any form of violence or language suggesting violence;
Damage public property or property of host school venue or hotels;
BEST Foundation does not tolerate the use of alcohol or drugs. Participants MUST NOT consume or supply alcohol or other substances which are illegal in Bulgaria during tournaments.
It is the collective responsibility of students, team chaperones, and coaches to ensure adherence to these policies. If a participant violates any of the above mentioned rules, the following steps will be taken:
A BEST Management Team member will inform the Executive Director and will immediately speak to the coach and/or chaperone of participant(s) in violation to rectify the situation.
Based on the severity of the violation, the participant may be subject to disqualification from the current or a certain number of future tournaments.
In extreme cases of violation, a BEST representative may take action to inform the police.
We thank you for respecting the BEST Foundation and all of our participants by helping us create a healthy environment for artistic expression and intelligent debate.
Students are encouraged to wear professional or business attire, or a school uniform which has no unique school-identifying insignias.
School-specific markers that identify students – explicitly or implicitly – as competitors from a certain institution are not permitted to be worn during rounds in which the student is competing. This includes but is not limited to decorative matching clothing (i.e. identical patterned blazers, sweaters, vests, t-shirts), school patches, insignias, etc.
Students are permitted and encouraged to wear such identifying markers when they are not competing in a round, but must simply remove or cover the marker before entering the competition room. Unmarked dress shirts, skirts, slacks, etc. that are part of a student’s school uniform but do not signify which school they are from are permitted at all times.
This policy allows us to provide truly rigorous, impartial judging based solely on the performance of the student competitor. We thank you for helping us maintain a fair and unbiased competition environment!
Reports (complaints) process
At each tournament, a member of the BEST Management Team will be available to receive reports of any nature made by students, coaches, judges, or any other member of the BEST community. Reports will be received, recorded, and responded to appropriately by said person.
BEST adheres to strict policies of fairness and transparency. Any reports involving cheating, plagiarism, or other dishonest acts will be thoroughly and openly investigated by a designated member of the BEST Management Team.
Any substantiated reports where a need for action (i.e. disqualification, suspension) against a member of the BEST community is deemed necessary will be brought to the Tournament Director for review.
A member of the BEST Management Team will relay the outcome/action taken (if any) regarding all reports back to the community member who made them as well as the affected party, if possible.
Any reports regarding the debate category received by BEST MT will be investigated and responded to by a Chief Adjudicator available at the tournament.
Note: The Management Team does not commit to taking action if the tournament has ended or if ranks from an affected round have already been tabulated.
plagiarism and cheating
All accusations of plagiarism and cheating will be investigated using the process detailed above.
BEST has a zero tolerance policy for plagiarism. All performances must be a unique product of the participants’ own preparation, creativity, and hard work. Plagiarism is defined as misrepresenting someone else’s work as your own. This includes but is not limited to copying specific phrases, sentences, or other text, without cited quotation or within excess of the limits, from a source (e.g. in an Oratory), imitating blocking from or cutting a piece based on a YouTube video or other performance source (e.g. in a Duo), copying the cutting of a performance piece (e.g. in Duo/Poetry/Prose), and copying text of arguments from a source (e.g. in Debate).
Note that, as far as speech events (Oratory/Prose/Poetry/Duo) are concerned, using a piece/performance you have used in a previous tournament season constitutes plagiarism. Using a piece/performance you have used in the current tournament season is fully permitted.
If proof of plagiarism is discovered, the offending participant will be disqualified from the competition.
BEST expects that all competitors are aware of the general rules of the competition and practice honest and fair behavior throughout the tournament. Other investigated and substantiated instances of cheating (i.e. discussion with a coach during WSD impromptu round preparation time) will result in disqualification of the offending participants from the competition.
Please read the different competition event rulebooks for more detailed information about plagiarism in each event.