Here are the February 2013 judge anniversaries.
Eric Shukan, Massachusetts, United States
Simon Le Guiffant, France
Diego Sotomayor, Lima, Peru
Chris McGuire, Ontario, Canada
Rodrigo Gimenez, Brazil
Bart Boudewijn, Netherlands
Masaru Koide, Aichi-ken, Japan
Antonio Galluccio, Reggio Calabria, Italy
Sebastian Hausmann, Bayern, Germany
Congratulations, and thank you for all your hard work!
Our featured judge this month is Diego Sotomayor of Peru. Regional Coordinator Damian Hiller writes:
“It’s said that time runs fast when you get old. Then I must be getting really old because this 10 year anniversary really passed like a breeze. Though I met Diego a few years after his certification for L1 his certifications story is really an atypical one. Coming from Lima, Peru; a community which by the time was not very developed and lacked any kind of certification opportunity, Diego took the opportunities which life gave him, whenever and wherever they happened.
First, he took the opportunity of a visit by Juan del Compare to Peru where he was certified along with a large group of other people, becoming the first few judges of the country. Quite a few years later he was found taking the blue envelope after winning a PTQ to PT San Diego 2010, where he took the chance to judge GP Oakland which took place a week before. And boy, he was good. During his first GP his eyes got wide open to a new world of opportunities both for him and for his community under his lead. He was aware of the many challenges Peru’s community had and it was with little hesitation that, after getting knocked out of competition in the PT, Carlos Ho and I decided that we would give him a shot at L2. With only one day in advance to prepare and little time to study, he not only rocked his exam showing his great knowledge of the rules (you don’t often find candidates that with this little preparation pass the exam) but also kept impressing us with his great understanding and interest in helping the Peruvian community. With his advancement, Peru got for the first chance in history the capacity to have a certifier within their own borders.
The rest of the story brings us to the present, where Diego keeps judging, both in his local store as well as helping out other’s in order to make the game experience the best for everyone, certifying judges both in his home country as well as in Bolivia and recently, taking the opportunity of a family trip to take part in US GPs again.
Thanks to Diego, the Peru community flourished once again and has not only a leader to follow but also someone to rely on and seek for help. Thanks Diego for all you’ve done during this years!”
Level 4 judge Carlos Ho added:
“It’s funny how I became aware of Diego’s existence. It was back in 2009, a short while after GP Sao Paulo. At that event, several of Latin America’s L3s agreed to try to reach out to the rest of the countries in the region in order to develop it more. If possible, we’d try to get a L3 in several of the region’s National Championships, as a L3’s visit always brings new judges and better communication with the worldwide community to that country. So we looked into Peru. I searched for reviews written about judges in that country, and could only find a few self-reviews written by the same judge: Diego Sotomayor. Nothing else. Here was a guy who was trying to evaluate himself every once in a while, and I’m pretty sure he was hoping that someone at some point would read these reviews and lend a hand. And that’s what we wanted to do. We talked to Diego, got an idea of what was the Magic community in Peru like, and Alejandro Raggio ended up visiting them that year. It was a productive visit; even though none of the candidates passed, as Diego ended up becoming quite involved in mentoring and testing some of the very same candidates, and then some more, and he also realized that there were people out there who cared about his community and would help him build it. It’s been a few years since then, and Diego has been a leader in the Peruvian community all this time. Thanks for your time and friendship, Diego!”
We also have a couple of L3 anniversaries this month: Naoaki Umesaki of Japan and Mirko Console of Italy. They both became Level 3 at Pro Tour Kuala Lumpur in 2008.
Here are some remarks from Umesaki-san’s Japanese colleagues:
Masaaki Otake, Umesaki’s “first apprentice” said:
“Umesaki-san, congratulations for your 5 year anniversary of Level 3! Simply speaking, you worked for so many years as Level 3, which means you are just really amazing.
You are not only “poster boy of local events” but also “poster boy of Japan”. (For those who don’t know about him, he is one of the organizers of the big tournament named Five Dragon Convention.) I cannot say thank you enough for your support.
I met you first time in GP Yokohama 2010, where it was my first GP as judge, and I remember you taught me a lot. Thankfully, I could improve myself more and more, and now I’m level two. You also trained me as score keeper at various events.
As great senior judge, and as great friend, I want to keep company with you for a long time. I hope we can make Magic more popular so that we can play Magic even when we get old.
With dream that we talk each other in *your* cafe after we are retired…”
Kazuhiro Wakatsuki writes:
“More than 10 years ago, at a Pro Tour, there was conversation among judges. It was “If any level 3+ judge goes to Pro Tour as player, who is it?” I didn’t even think about my friend, who I certificated as judge, which is you. You have also great skills as player, which makes you stronger as judge.
Congratulations, I hope you enjoy great success.”
Koichi Kudo says:
“Umesaki, congratulations for your 5 year anniversary of Level 3. As one of the same “class” and as organizing team member of our tournament, and as your friend, I’m really happy with your anniversary. He became judge not because he had great rule knowledge or he could catch any cheater easily, but because he had one strong passion, “I want make players happy”. With this passion, he worked really hard to make tournaments which he organized/judged better and better. His tournament was really enjoyable, which cause many players and judges come around him. So far he continued to run big tournaments and he had many experiences, and he became great judge. His tournament, and Japanese Magic community and World Magic community, will continue to become better and better, by his work.
I hope it becomes reality, and I’ll help you for it. Congratulations!”
Here is what the Italian senior judges had to say about Mirko Console:
Cristiana Dionisio, RC:
“Mirko is one of the most competent judges I have ever worked with. His performances have always amazed judges and players. Mirko is one of those judges whose presence make you feel secure and confortable since his rules and policy knowkledge is high and valuable, his awareness of the situation and the event is enviable.
In the last 5 years Mirko has been a reference, a pillar for our community. He has been mentoring, leading and taking care of all level judges, Italian L4 and 5 included. The IMJ website existed basically because of him, he managed projects, he uploaded most of the contents. He has been present and effective in mailing lists and among judges. Every region should have a Mirko in their judge community :)”
Davide Succi, L3:
“Mirko is an outstanding example of what you can find judging Magic tournaments: an honest friend with whom you can share work and experiences.
We judged together dozen of events, PTQs, GPs and Pro Tours, and it has always been a pleasure to work with him during the day and to enjoy in the evening.
His contribution to the growth of our community has been really high; he has always been a central point for judges and players.
Mirko is an exceptional person, we have the same values and views, and I hope to keep on judging with him for many years.”
Walter Zara, L3:
“Mirko knows how to make something look easy, even if it is difficult. Has a positive attitude that helps making the day’s work with him much lighter.
A natural leader who knows how to lead by example, but also be critical and direct when needed. When there is the chance to go out with him for a beer, is easy to find out how much value is hidden in him beyond the quality related to his judging activity. I hope to meet him more often in the future.”
Matteo Callegari L3:
“There is no one in the Judge program that influenced my path as Mirko. He is a shining example of how it is possible to have fun while being extremely professional at events and building the community. His energy and enthusiasm shaped the work ethic of Italian judges and the strong relationships he has with all of us strongly shows how much we care about him :)”
Riccardo Tessitori L5:
“Mirko is one of the enlightened Magic judges, one of the people who I’m always happy to meet at any tournament; he’s not just a very expert judge, able to solve any tournament problem and to provide opinion about any Magic related topic; he’s also a great person with several hobbies, many life experience to share, and also a very good friend. Overall, a person I wish you will all meet in your future Magic events.”
Gianluca Bonacchi L3:
“The Head Judge of my first PTQ as L1 was Mirko, and I’ll never forget the time spent with him in Madrid during my first GP outside Italy. Thanks to Mirko I had the chance to grow up and to start feeling myself as a member of this wonderful family.
I wish all of you to meet him, especially if you want to learn something from a great leader or if you are looking for a good mojito.”