June 2016 Anniversaries

Here are the June 2016 judge anniversaries!

15 years

Shing Nien Fong from Shah Alam, Malaysia
Ian Grainger from Plymouth, England
Ioan Llwyd from Swansea, Wales
Tony Mayer from Renton, United States

10 years

John Sittner from Salt Lake City, United States
Ryuji Yano from Fukuyama-shi, Japan

5 years

Julio Carias from San Salvador, El Salvador
Jeremy Stephens from Indianapolis, United States
Arifirawan Dwiputra from Surabaya, Indonesia
Kevin Moore from Stockholm, Sweden
Chin Kai Ong from Singapore, Singapore
Josue Rodriguez from San Juan, Puerto Rico
Ming Chee Wang from New Taipei City, Taiwan, Province of China
Araka Schroeder from Davenport, United States
CJ Steele from Fort Wayne, United States
Jay Morgan from North Little Rock, United States
Clint Olson from Seattle, United States
Matthew Rossi from West Palm Beach, United States
Konrad Wieczorek from Warsaw, Poland
Samuel Tharmaratnam from Oakville, Canada
Brian Carper from Nanaimo, Canada
James Christensen from West Valley City, United States
Michel Degenhardt from Dronten, Netherlands
Edvinas Gurinas from Vilnius, Lithuania
Fotis Maroulis from Athens, Greece
Mikael Ristovski from Hassleholm, Sweden
Trey Ballew from Tulsa, United States
Antonio Jose Rodriguez Jimenez from Torrelodones, Spain
Jonathan Denney from Cedar City, United States
Casey Horner from Walbridge, United States
Alex Kelemen from Van Nuys, United States
Sze Lok Leung from Hong Kong, Hong Kong
Eric McCormick from Maryland Heights, United States
Lennart Nevanoya from Umea, Sweden
Joerg Nottebrock from Duesseldorf, Germany
Clayton Price from Salisbury, United States
Jonathan Pust from ogden, United States
Enrique Revuelta from Leganes, Spain
Andy Rutledge from Lincoln, United States
Roberto Saavedra from Ferrol, Spain
Joshua Staples from Durham, United States
William Stephenson from Germantown, United States
Matteo Taverna from Roma, Italy

Congratulations, and thank you for all your hard work!

The king of travel guides

The king of travel guides

This month, we are featuring Antonio Jose Rodriguez Jimenez! AJ’s regional coordinator, Sergio, has this to say about his 5 year anniversary:

I still remember 5 years ago when I met AJ. I was HJing two PTQs in a row >300 kms away from Madrid, and he was attending the first one as Floor Judge with his test scheduled. We spent the day teaching him tournament procedures and doing general mentoring, which was extremely rewarding because of his attitude: AJ has been always someone thankful and easy to talk with. After passing his L1 test, I offered him joining me on my next weekend trip for a second PTQ (we were short in the staff and I had another L1 test scheduled there as well, so he would be helpful). He immediately accepted, which was great because it would be a second near opportunity to keep learning and improving. What I would have never expected was the proactive mentoring he showed with the L1 candidate, spending time and effort on teaching him the same things that he just learned a week before. At that moment, just a week after his L1 certification, I realized that we had to keep him with us and invest on him when possible because he would definitely give back to the community everything he could in the future.

He passed his L2 at GP Torino ’12 and his L3 at GP Madrid ’14, but during that time, AJ has been always one of the most active community & project judges in our region. He initially helped covering many events in our area (Madrid), then he accepted taking care of the whole area events-staffing; he has been always active on L1 mentoring and certification, but also on our L2 Certification project; he has helped in many regional conferences (actively attending, presenting or organizing…) and, since last year, he accepted taking care of our regional mini conferences project; his contact with the Southern community (where he also takes care of PPTQ Staffing) has help the area development and activity… Very few people in the region has been so active in so many different aspects, and all this time and dedication was always in addition to his friendly approach and personal mentoring to others, to his commitment to the international GP Travel guides Project (project he leads since 2014), his presence at international events and his evolution as a judge.

I’m personally glad to celebrate with him his 5 years anniversary as a friend; I’m even happier to do it as his RC, because I’m sure I can say on behalf of the whole Iberia Region: THANK YOU AJ! 🙂

A fountain of charisma

A fountain of charisma

For June, we have another set of three Level 3 anniversaries. First up, we have Hector Fuentes from Mexico, who certified for Level 3 ten years ago. Adrián Estoup, RC of Latin America – Spanish, shared his thoughts about Hector:

“To talk about my friend Hector Fuentes basically means to talk about Magic the Gathering in Mexico. I met him in my first experience outside Argentina, during GP Montreal 2007, and I discovered in him one of the most significant aspects of the Judge Program: friendship. At that point, the only thing we shared was the same language but that was not an obstacle to discover this amazing city and work together all the weekend.
A year later, during GP Buenos Aires, I had the pleasure to welcome him at my home for a couple of days before and after the event. His advices and talks were fundamental to me to improve in my judge career. In short, having one of the most representative judges of Latin America with easy access to talk about any random topic, is something invaluable.

Today, Hector is still with us after so many years as one of the most representative judges of Mexico and many countries of Central America; involved in several local projects and always trying to improve his local community and discover new judges to increase the family.

Hector, Thanks a lot for your hard work during all this years, your figure was always a guide to all the Latin American community, and congratulations for this anniversary.”



Next, we celebrate a pair of judges who certified for Level 3 at Pro Tour Nagoya, five years ago: Guillaume Beuzelin and Shing Nien Fong. Daniel Kitachewsky offered these thoughts about Guillaume:

“I first met Guillaume in 2007. He was an excitable, brash young man who couldn’t hold still. You’d know where he was just by following the trail of broken pens and other small objects that would be crushed by his hands. But his strong personality and neverending energy could easily be directed towards solving myriads of problems, a quality that would prove precious for judging.

Guillaume made his mark on the large tournament circuits. First on PTQs, which at the time easily reached 300 players, then on Bazaar of Moxen events, topping 700 players, and now on Grand Prix where he’s known as one of the logistical greats. The more unique issues you throw at this, the more creative and efficient Guillaume gets.
When I was approached in 2013 for becoming RC of France, despite my long-time interest in the role, my immediate reaction was “no, not me, Guillaume is the right choice – he cares very deeply about our judge community and is great at creating contact in remote regions.” Indeed, he was always willing to spend nights in trains and on the road to go judge in the unlikeliest of places, such as in Corsica which never really had any judging activity. Guillaume has done admirably as RC in a very difficult time. The transition from the heavily-subsidized French Federation to store-centered WPN was a big earthquake for French judges and Guillaume has done well in helping bring the French community into a new age.”

Our shoulder to stand on

Our shoulder to stand on

Lastly, Wearn Cheong, RC for Southeast Asia, shares the following about Shing Nien Fong:

“When Fong landed back in Malaysia from the UK, he was already a fully trained and experienced L2. We didn’t have many judges back then, so one could say “Little” Fong (not to be confused with “Big” Ray Fong) was our timely reinforcement. It wasn’t long before his influence in Kuala Lumpur and the surrounding Klang Valley was felt. Thus it was no surprise for the community here when Fong took the step up to L3. Since then, he’s continued to take care of the judge community here in Malaysia and also in neighboring Singapore. He has a constant presence, both physically and online.

Fong is always willing to help and is often first in line, sometimes even before the rallying cry is made. He is truly selfless, and I know I can always count on him when I need him. Always cheerful, Fong also has a reputation for being quite fierce and strict. Be aware however that he has quite the poker face and if you get fooled or trolled, you wouldn’t be the first to fall for it!

Here are some words from others in Malaysia:

Congratulations on five whole years as a level 3! It’s always a joy having you around with your corner case questions be it on the WhatsApp groups or in person. Just wanted to thank you for taking the time to travel and administer the Level 2 test for me. Thank you also for being a great presence within the local judge community and I look forward to many years more of judging together. – Wee Thean Goh

Dear Fong, It’s been 5 years that you have been a role-model judge in our community. You have always been a strict and fun judge at the same time, your appearance alone gives players the chills. I still remember asking players, “Would you like to appeal? The head judge is Fong”. Then immediately they reply: “Fong? ah… nevermind”. Would like to take this opportunity to congratulate you and to thank you for this 5 years of service to mtgkind :). You are also my mentor for my level 2, couldn’t have done it anywhere better without you. I hope to have you around for many more years to come so you can still actively guide us and help us through hard questions! – Alex Kuan

I met Fong when he came back from the UK and I straight away knew that he was excellent at judging. What was better about him though was his personality. Funny with a straight face, he was always ready for any adventures. I remember going to my first GP Singapore as a judge withhim and we had only 50 Singaporean dollars between us. How did we survive the weekend? Ingenuity. He is an amazing mentor, constantly there with questions to test me and a joke to boot. I remember being super happy when he made L3 and 5 years later, he is a one of the main pillars of the Malaysian judge community. Congratulations Fong! – Sashi Kumar Balakrishnan

Congratulations to all three of you on your L3 anniversaries!

Happy anniversary to all of you!  We look forward to many more years of judging from you all.

About Ronald

From Seattle, WA
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