November 2016 Anniversaries

Here are the November 2016 judge anniversaries!

15 years

François Grobler from Durban, South Africa
Riccardo Tessitori from Latina, Italy
Ingrid Lind-Jahn from Belleville, United States
Lindsay Heming from Parramatta, Australia
Ryan Dare from Brookvale, Australia
Leroy Smith from Gladstone, Australia
Oren Guez from Vitrolles, France

10 years

Nicolas Bellon from Paris, France

5 years

Joe Cisneros from Long Beach, United States
Akira Dan from Taito-ku, Japan
John Gledhill from St. Petersburg, United States
Tarima Nikita from Nakhodka, Russian Federation
Michael Suchan from Saint Petersburg, United States
Takahiro Tanahashi from Toyama-shi, Japan
Nathaniel Thompson from Jacksonville, United States
Wei Tianzhu from Shenyang, China
Matthew Turnbull from Winnipeg, Canada
Nicolas Vargas from Mendoza, Argentina
Aaron Fortino from Tampa, United States
Ryan Green from Vestal, United States
Chris Higashi from Las Vegas, United States
Matthew Newnam from Wesley Chapel, United States
Christopher Ocampo from Watertown, United States
Michael Starr from Lizella, United States
Patrik Adler from Brno, Czech Republic
Josh Barnes from Jefferson City, United States
Nemesio Bolanos from Arica, Chile
Justin Bova from Mahanoy City, United States
Marina Fagundes from San Jose, United States
Jan Gybas from Domazelice, Czech Republic
Casey Hanford from Saint Peters, United States
Marek Jarnot from Opava, Czech Republic
Vratislav Kucera from Jihlava, Czech Republic
Stephen Morris from Wellington, New Zealand
Jun Nonaka from Nagoya-shi, Japan
Andreas Pisch from Wiesbaden, Germany
Shigeru Saito from Nagaoka-shi, Japan
Osamu Sasaki from Morioka-shi, Japan
Desmond Scholtens from Appingedam, Netherlands
Yohei Sumikawa from Kudamatsu-shi, Japan
Tsuyoshi Ueno from Sapporo-shi, Japan
Amin Younes from Providence, United States

Congratulations, and thank you for all your hard work!

This month, we have 4 featured anniversaries and 2 L3 anniversaries. Our regular anniversary features are Ingrid Lind-Jahn, François Grobler, Nikita Tarima, and Riccardo Tessitori!

Loved by all

Loved by all

We’ll start off by first talking about Ingrid, who is celebrating 15 years in the judge program. Her RC, Rob, has this to say:

In early 2005, I was playing in a PPTQ. I was playing a homebrew combo Elves deck. Partway through round 3, a judge sat down at my table, watched me go into the tank for far too long, and gave me a slow play warning. I tried to argue that I was about to combo off, and needed to do a lot of math, but she insisted it did not matter – it was unfair to my opponent for me to take so much time in the match. I was on tilt for the rest of the day. I went home, slept on it, and realized the next day she was totally right, and really understood what she was saying – I was just too thickheaded to listen at the time.

That judge was Ingrid Lind-Jahn, and she kept up the trend of being right, explaining herself clearly, and me taking a while to get her wisdom through my skull. We’ve worked a very large number of events together, and Ingrid and her husband Pete are some of the people I am most happy to be on an event with. We’ve driven to GenCon, stayed up late playing board games, worked together to mastermind ODEs at GPs, and she repeatedly took the time to explain, explain, explain. It’s made me a better judge and a better person, and I’m far from the only person Ingrid has done this for.

When I first met her, Ingrid had already been a judge for three years and change. She has been a judge for nearly five times that now, and has done a lot – Ingrid was an L4 for a period of time, has served on the Player Investigations Committee for longer than most people in the program have been judges, and has worked more Worlds, PTs, GPs, and other high-level events than I can really fathom.

Igrid, thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for being such a key part of the judge program, and such a good friend.

Greetings from Africa!

Greetings from Africa!

This month, we are lucky to be able to feature a judge from South Africa! François Grobler is our 3rd judge celebrating 15 years and local TO Grant Charlton has some nice things to say about François:

As an ex-distributor and ex-national organised play manager and current retailer, I have had the pleasure of working with, and getting to know, most of the past and present Magic Judges in South Africa. Many have become personal friends. I think it is very fitting that we honour one of these friends on his 15th anniversary of becoming a Magic Judge!

Francois Grobler epitomizes everything I could ever look for in a Magic Judge and Organised Play Ambassador. He is kind, thoughtful, sincere, helpful, encouraging and fair. His day job as a child psychologist (Currently running an Orphanage in KZN) spills over into his treatment of players, stores and the general public. His empathy and compassion help him connect with everyone he talks to. He makes you feel like you and your opinions matter to him – and they do!

He was involved in running groups and tournaments in Bloemfontein long before we managed to test him as a Judge and has given a lot to the game for a long time. Inspiring other long term Judges (Hi, Roelf Pringle) and taking on the responsibilities of area manager in both Bloemfontein and Durban. Not easy as he is also the father of two energetic sons – two of the nicest, best behaved teenagers I have encountered. He also faithfully traveled to many of our National Tournaments (and WMCQ’s PTQ’s and any other event he could get to, to help out!) and is a constant at ICON – our local gaming convention which is 600km away from home.

He has also nourished the local stores and new players, building strong communities in a number of areas. Unfortunately work and home commitments have eaten up a lot of his time lately, so much so that he hasn’t been able to maintain his L2. But, had he the time, he would have made an exceptional L3. Savvas Themistocleous and I tried setting him on that path!

A real ‘scholar and a gentleman’ whom I am happy to call my friend.

One of the most remote judges

One of the most remote judges

Our next regular anniversary is Nikita Tarima. Eugene wrote this about Nikita’s 5 years in the community:

Nikita is a great example of those brave colonists that discover New Frontiers and inhabit those. In our case – with magic judgesJ!

Nikita is the easternmost L2 in Russia. In fact, his nearest other L2 is in Japan, about 5 times closer than any L2 in Russia. Despite being that isolated from the rest of the Russian-speaking community, Nikita is an active contributor to our regional projects, an eager mentor and a person ultimately concentrated on customer service and building Magic community.

If I’m to wish something good to a store I like, one of the first things that will come to my mind is to wish them to have a judge like Nikita around.

Happy anniversary!

Our prolific leader

Our prolific leader

Finally, Cristiana has a few words about Riccardo’s 15 year anniversary:

When I met Riccardo, I was L1 and he was L2. His passion and involvement in the judge program were immediately evident to me. He was the center of his local community and he made it bigger and bigger day by day. Since then he has helped hundreds of worldwide judges to grow up and to improve, myself included.

He was the creator of the idea and content of the Italian judge website ( that still today all of the Italian judges and TOs refer to study, read articles, and get information. He travels around the world and shares his knowledge with the all of the judges he works with. His passion and involvement have never changed since he started and his contribution to the judge program, his expertise, and his wisdom are hugely appreciated by me, the Italians and everybody else.

Congratulations Riccardo!

This month we celebrate a pair of 10-year L3 anniversaries. At the World Championships in Paris, France back in 2006, both Carlos Ho and Kevin Desprez certified for Level 3.

A man of many countries

A man of many countries

First, Latin American Regional Coordinator, Adrián Estoup, had this to say about Carlos:

“My first contact with Carlos was shortly before GP Buenos Aires 2008. I didn’t have many references from him apart from being from Panama and that he was residing in Spain at that time. My first interaction with him was helping him get to some ruins in the north of the Argentina. After that first contact, I was surprised about how a person in the judge program, facing situations where most people would have given up, could have such a positive vision and achieved so many goals. After that, lots and lots of stories joined us not only in a more personal way, but also Carlos was one of the judges that worked the most for the development of what today is the Latin American judge community; and even at a global level, the program owes Carlos a lot for all his work.

His presence is key to each step towards development and growth within the region: his experience and insight are always one of the most valuables every single time. As an RC, I have the luck and privilege to have him in the region, not only as an amazing judge, but also as a good friend.

Also David de la Iglesia (another L3 judge who’s no longer residing Spain) shared his thoughts on Carlos:

“Many could speak about how Carlos is a great judge, about how he’s been instrumental in the development of many judges both in Europe and Latin America, about how he’s inspired others to travel all around the world to judging events and make new friends everywhere. His positive, calm attitude is an example to follow for many. You will often see him at events talking to people, socializing and sharing ideas and knowledge with others. It has always impressed me how he brings lots of value in many different ways to the events he attend.

But if there’s something you need to know about Carlos is how entertaining is storytelling about the really old lost lore. He’s been around for a long time, and he can share a story or two reminiscing all these good times Judge Program stories. That’s how they got me in the first place, with these stories that will make you laugh and will inspire you to get more involved. Carlos is such a cool guy to hang out with, who is so much fun to be around. Next time you see him ask him about his favorite judging story!”

Finally, Federico Donner and a few other Latin American judges have put together this video showcasing Carlos’s influence on the judge program.

Scarf trendsetter

Scarf trendsetter

Next, French RC, Guillaume Beuzelin offers thought from himself, Antoine Bouaziz and Daniel Kitachewsky about Kevin.


“When I was asked to write something for Kevin’s anniversary, I quickly decided to contact Antoine and Daniel to have them write a couple of words for Kevin. I choose them because they know Kevin for a while and are friends. Now that I started to gather their text I realized: Antoine, Daniel and I had 3 very different profiles with the opposite strengths and weaknesses, but at the end Kevin worked with us 3 and helped us to grow up in the Magic judge community. I thought a minute about it and it became clear: Kevin has an impressive capacity to analyze people and systems. These analyses help him to draw _correct_ conclusions and to provide the proper custom feedback to each of us. For all the feedback provided by Kevin, I would like to thank him for all the time dedicated to the community and to the individuals in it.

At a personal scale, Kevin has always been here in my judge career. Beside the fact we are best buddies, he has always been able to separate what we call the professional and the personal aspect of judging. Kevin has this capacity to say “no” on a professional topic such as letting you pass a level, then go with you for a drink. This is possible for him because he has strong value regarding the quality of the work judges should deliver and he won’t let friendship interfere with his exigency.
I think these analysis skills combined with this exigence during all these years has made Kevin one of the best judges and today I’m happy to wish him a happy judge birthday!”


“Kevin is the judge who certified me both for the level 1 and for the level 2 and a person I respect a lot for everything he taught to the other judges and me in particular of course (even if I think a bunch of us could say the same thing :P).

I remember when he certified me for the level 2 and when, during the interview, after having asked me what I did in my real life, I answered him I worked in summer camps for children. He smiled and he concluded: “well, you will see there is not a lot of difference with Magic events I think… Good luck!”. And as far as I noticed it, it is quite the truth since the reasons to love judging are pretty the same as those which allow to love the animation.

Kevin is also the first person I had the chance to travel with to go in USA; I remember it was for a GP in Washington and a Pro Tour in San Juan, we were lodged by the amazing Eric Shukan and I do not count the great amount of giggling we shared, the conversations, the visits and, of course, the events we had the opportunity to work on together. It was always awesome to listen him speaking about the organization and policies aspects of the events, and also to have his feedback.

Kevin, you are a real friend and, for a bunch of different reasons, one of the person I respect the most. Thank you for everything and happy judging anniversary! :)”


“I first met Kevin when he was L2 and still more player than judge. We were paired against each other in a Vintage tournament and little did I know how influential that encounter would turn out to be. When I later became a judge myself and was looking to get experience, Kevin volunteered to help me as I was head judging a couple prerelease events. Remarkable? It wouldn’t be if those events were in stores nearby. But those were hundreds of kilometers away from either of our homes. Kevin caught chickenpox the week of the events but still chose to travel with me. That was but the first sign that he would do close to anything for people he believes in.

Since then, Kevin has grown to be a face recognized by just about anyone involved in Premiere Event Magic, due to his numerous appearances as head judge of Grand Prix and, more recently, Pro Tours. But his largest contribution isn’t in the public-facing part: he’s been relentlessly at work to improve behind-the-scenes processes, optimizing just about any aspect of event organization you could think of. Today, he leads the selection and training of Grand Prix Head Judges, the culmination of his vision.”
Congratulations to each of these two fine judge on their decade of work as L3(+) judge. Best wishes to you both!

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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