Here are the December 2012 anniversaries. But don’t forget to tune in next month, as we’ll be celebrating the first officially recorded 15 year anniversaries!
Clifford Yap, Singapore
Stefano Candini, Modena, Italy
Claudio Nieva, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Henrique Amigo, Brazil
Thomas Bucourt, France
Richard Drijvers, Netherlands
Martin Widmer, Switzerland
Remi Bonnet, France
Jeffrey Huls, Netherlands
Congratulations and thank you for all your hard work!
Our featured judge this month is Henrique Amigo of Brazil. Regional Coordinator Thales Bittencourt writes:
“Everyone who plays competitive Magic in Brazil knows Henrique Amigo. For years, he has been the local distributor’s employee in charge of supporting Organized Play for the whole country. In his everyday work, he deals with players, organizers, with Wizards itself and his work has decidedly shaped the Magic community in Brazil over the years.
One thing that is a little less know of Henrique is that he is also a very good Magic judge. He was one of the very first Brazilian judges, and certainly one of the most important leaders of the Judge community, certifying and mentoring dozens of judges. He also has a lot of experience with big events, having judged several Pro Tour and Grand Prix events.
I can remember clearly when I was first interested in judging, 6 years ago, I searched the internet and a name rapidly popped up in all the Brazilian forums about Magic: Henrique Amigo. I discovered his email address and dropped him a line asking about how to become a judge. For my surprise, he not only wanted to help me, but also invited me to be a judge at Brazilian Nationals that year! I went for it, and that event changed my life in a very decisive way: not only I was in love with judging, but I had made a very good friend.
The Magic community will be always in debt with Henrique’s dedication and inspiration, and we, the Brazilian judges, have much to thank him!”
This month there is a trio of L3 anniversaries. At Worlds New York in 2007, Jeff Morrow, Jared Sylva, and Eugene Bazhenov were all promoted to Level 3. To celebrate these anniversaries, we have asked a few judges that know them well to write a little about each of them.
For Jeff Morrow, we gathered comments from some of the other SF Bay area judges. Level 5 judge Toby Elliott had this to say:
“Chances are that if you’re an L2+ judge, Jeff doesn’t need a lot of introduction. You’ve probably met him while he crisscrosses the globe, making running a GP look easy. Or, if you’re curious about L3, he’s the man you’ve talked to, as he undertook the Herculean task of wrangling the L3 advancement process into coherent and manageable form. Or, if you’re a Northern California judge, you know him as the judge who built the community and steered it through some pretty turbulent times. Or, if you’re me, he’s the guy you’ve gone to – multiple times – when you realize 2 minutes beforehand that you forgot to assign an important role like draft caller. I’d feel guilty, but he nails whatever it is, every time. Unless it’s drafting, but I digress 😉
Jeff has used these massive community contributions, extensive project work and globetrotting ways to cover a simpler truth – he’s a mighty good judge. On the floor – handling players, making rulings, keeping things moving – you can learn a lot by watching Jeff in action.
You probably knew all this. But, Jeff is important for another reason. I tell people that the best thing about the judge program is the great people you get to work with and the amazing friends you’ll make. He’s the proof. Thanks for making these last eight years such a blast, Jeff!”
Level 3 judge and Regional Coordinator Sean Catanese wrote:
“Jeff (J-Mo to his friends, i.e. anyone who’s ever met him) is a mythic rare sort of judge in that he’s a consummate pragmatist, yet he puts the full measure of himself into ensuring that the Magic Judge program can satisfy the wish-fulfillment dreams of the rest of us. If you have a plan for someday becoming a Regional Judge (L3), that plan is possible through J-Mo’s work. If you have a burning idealist impulse to better-align the game with your sense of justice, J-Mo’s going to challenge it, push you to make it realistic, and then help you make it real.”
Finally, Level 3 judge Louis Fernandes said this:
“Exceptional judges are not a common commodity. Exceptional judges who are as awesome as Jeff are even less common. Whether he’s explaining the L3 testing standards to less experienced judges, head judging some of the largest GPs North America has ever seen, or relaxing after an event over sushi and sake, Jeff has always been there for his fellow judges. All who call Jeff their friend are lucky people. Those who can’t say the same wish they could. Happy five years as a level three judge, JMo.”
For Jared Sylva, comment come from a couple of judges who also work for a certain company in Roanoke, VA. Level 3 judge Riki Hayashi wrote this:
“I first met Jared at GP Daytona Beach in 2007 when I was an Level 1 going to my second GP. He immediately struck me as the kind of judge I wanted to be: professional, hard-working, and efficient, and it wasn’t very surprising when he advanced to Level 3 a month later at Worlds in New York. At PT Hollywood a few months later–my first Pro Tour–he once again impressed me with his skills, but also his heart when he swapped with me on the late side events shift so that I could go to dinner with some new friends. That dinner is a memory I will always treasure, and his is an example that I try to follow whenever I can. Over the years, my esteem for him as a judge continued to grow, but so did our friendship, making it that much easier of a decision to pack up and move across the country to work for him at StarCityGames.
During my time with Jared, I’ve perpetrated the “Robot myth.” (Jared’s nametag reads “R. Jared Sylva” a clear sign that he is an Asimovian robot.) Yes, he values efficiently very highly, but that ultimately comes from an intense passion to run the best events he can. As Regional Coordinator, he extended that passion to our community. His work at growing the South East was so effective that the region had to be split into two.
It always surprises me how quickly time flies in the Program. Five years so quickly. Congratulations, Jared. Thank you for all the hard work you have already put in, even more for the work that you will be called upon to do as an L4, but most importantly for being the best robot friend a judge could have.”
And Level 3 judge Jason Reedy had some additional comments:
“Lovingly referred to as the Robot for his unyielding endurance and dedication to the program both on the floor and off, I have been fortunate enough to have worked with Jared as long as I have been involved with Judging. He was a part of the very first conversation I had about the possibility of becoming a Judge, and his support and guidance played a critical part in helping me get where I am today. Aside from being an outstanding example, a conversation with him always provides an engaging experience to come away with new ideas. It has been a pleasure to learn and grow under Jared’s mentorship, and I look forward to continuing to work with him and seeing the program benefit from his new responsibility as L4.”
The final anniversary is for Eugene Bazhenov of Russia. The local judges said this about him: “Eugene appeared on the scene in 2003 and everyone he met, had the impression that he will go far and “level up” soon. He influenced a lot of existing (and also potential) judges not only in Russia, but also in the Ukraine and in Belarus.”
Level 3 Judge (and frequent visitor to Russia) Christian Gawrilowicz also had something to say about Eugene:
“I first met Eugene at Worlds 2005 where he appeared to me as a very young, boyish judge fresh from school. He still appears to be very young and boyish and fresh from school, but in the mean time he was the driving force behind the growth in organised play and the
judge program in Russia. This is even more impressive when you consider that Russia is the geographically largest country in the world.”
Finally, Level 3 judge Johanna Virtanen (yes, that’s still me) also has a few words about Eugene:
“I first met Eugene in 2006, when he volunteered at Finnish Nationals. He did such a good job that he was invited back the next year, and soon afterwards he became a Level 2 Trainer (which meant that he was allowed to administer Level 1 exams, before all Level 2s were given that power). What impressed me most about Eugene was his ability to give insightful feedback to others. He has always seemed wise beyond his years – he made L3 when he was only 22!
As organized play manager for the Russian Magic distributor, Eugene has had a big role in the development of the Russian Magic community. As a L3 judge and Regional Coordinator, he takes good care of his judges. Eugene also takes very good care of foreign judges who visit Russia. For GP Moscow, he not only helped judges get visas but also made sure judges had a chance to receive Russian boosters, and organized a fantastic judge dinner. Speaking of dinner…if you ever have dinner with Eugene, you might find out about his list of top 10 favourite foods, which according to my field research includes berries, berries, bacon, berries, tea and “green things”. And I knew he was not kidding about the last part when I saw him spread a thick layer of wasabi on his sushi rolls.
Congratulations, Eugene, and thank you for your wisdom and friendship!”