January 2017 Anniversaries

Here are the January 2017 judge anniversaries!

15 years

Raymond Fong from Warwick, England
Juri Leo from Lecce, Italy
Thomas Ralph from London, England

10 years

Brian Paskoff from Holtsville, United States
Jurgen Baert from Oostende, Belgium
Christopher Conant from Decherd, United States

5 years

Ma Shendi from Tianjin, China
Itaru Tanikawa from Okayama-ken, Japan
Alan Cleaver from Texas, United States
Lukas Gonschior from Bayern, Germany
Moritz Mathes from Bayern, Germany
Walter Adachi from California, United States
Kyle Driskill from Texas, United States
Yuto Ikenuma from Shizuoka-ken, Japan
Martin Seleme from Catamarca, Argentina
Michael Ellingson from Michigan, United States
Manuel Hernandez from California, United States
Amol Singh from , New Zealand
Sébastien Govignon from Puy-de-Dôme, France
Matthew Raivio from California, United States
Bob Givens from California, United States
Tony Munhollon from Colorado, United States
Khang Jong Kuan from Malaysia
Matt Sauers from Indiana, United States
Douglas Spak from Pennsylvania, United States
Ellis Gyongyos from Hong Kong
Jan Grottel from Poland
Mitja Bosnič from Slovenia
Eder Araujo de Carvalho from Brazil
Michael Puccio from Washington, United States
Joshua Feingold from Virginia, United States

Congratulations, and thank you for all your hard work!

The man with two first names

The man with two first names

Happy new year!! This month, we have 5 featured judges: Thomas Ralph, Matt Sauers, Mitja Bosnič, Jurgen Baert, and Toby Elliot! To start us off, David would like to say a few things about Thomas, who is celebrating 15 years in the program:

Thomas Ralph is a lesson in how an old dog (if he’ll excuse my analogy) can learn new tricks. An L2 for a decade or more, Thomas had settled in to his role as a rules expert and logistics-headed judge, roles which you will still see him do as he leads the UK & Ireland rules group to this day. But relatively late into his L2 career, Thomas really started to make a push for L3. He made it in grand style, as part of an annus mirabilis for UK judging in which we had five new L3s – and Thomas soon started to distinguish himself.

Since becoming L3, Thomas’s transformation has been amazing to see. He has invested in his community management and personal skills big time, and has turned from a full-on hard skills expert into a master of all trades that is as comfortable operating the UKISA conference back-end as he is as a community figure that is always there to help orient new L2s, or reach out to remote communities. He’s really grown into an L3 I am proud to call a huge asset to the UK community, and someone that I am proud to call a friend.

Congratulations on fifteen years Thomas – and here’s to many more.

Everyday good guy

Everyday good guy

Next, Jarrod would like to reflect on the past 5 years with Matt Sauers:

Matt Sauers is an L2 from Indianapolis Indiana and for Pastimes Grand Prix events he serves as The Voice providing the announcements at those events each day but behind those dulcet tones is an excellent community builder and a good person to know. He’s an area and regional leader that has worked hard to build a solid group of judges in Indianapolis as well as serveing as a L2 Tester in the Great Lakes region. Matt has worked with the judges and tournament organizers in Indianapolis to make it a great place for people to enjoy playing Magic. His passion for the hobby of gaming is only dwarfed by his passion for his fellow judge. If you don’t know Matt you should get to know him. You’ll be glad you did and be a better person for having done so.

Community Guru

Community Guru

Giorgos, Mitja’s RC, has these things to say about celebrating a 5 year anniversary:

Time really flies and what it seems like a recent addition in our community Mitja Bosnič is celebrating his 5th anniversary this month! Being the first one to answer any rules questions that arose on our local forum Mitja soon transformed his smarts and enthusiasm to help run awesome events locally and abroad. After being invited to his first GP in Prague 2014, he didn’t wait to impress. He did such an awesome job, that he was among the five that were recognized during the judge dinner by the Head Judge. He is one of the very few worldwide judges that achieved such a recognition during their very first big event.

But events are not the only area that Mitja shines. He was one of the first members of the Players’ survey project and he did a thorough analysis that was very well received in the regional coordinators list. He was an active contributor during the creation of our regional blog, where he gathered all the county coordinators profiles. On a country level, Mitja is trying to reignite unofficial judge gathering, called judge dinners. Recently Mitja became country coordinator for Slovenia taking much needed care of event staffing and certification and I’m sure he will continue to impress in this role as well.

On a more personal note Mitja surprised me with his maturity, when he decided to put on hold his aspirations about L3, putting emphasis on his real-life job. If I need to summarize Mitja in one word, I would say dedication. Whatever he chooses to handle he does it in proficient, speedy way.

Lego enthusiast

Lego enthusiast

Celebrating 10 years in the program, Jurgen has had some nice things said about him by fellow GP HJ Carlos:

Time flies! When I was told Jurgen was turning 10 years old as a Magic Judge, I couldn’t believe it. I still remember when he was a relatively new judge who skyrocketed through the levels, bumping his head against a few walls (he still is a bit stubborn, that hasn’t changed a lot), until he himself was surprised when he was asked to be L4. In that position, Jurgen ran a large amount of GPs wearing the burgundy, and I believe few others have had the impact that he and Kevin Desprez had for judges at GPs. For example, the shift system we use nowadays, with 7 rounds of work and 2 off? That was Jurgen and Kevin who boldly tried it for the first time and made it work. I for one I’m very happy to see him donning the burgundy shirt again.

King of Policy

King of Policy

This month, we have a special anniversary. January marks the 15-year anniversary of Toby Elliott certifying for Level 3. To reflect on Toby’s impact on the judge community, we asked fellow Level 3, Eric Levine to share his thoughts. Here’s what he had to say:

“There’s no question that Toby has had an enormous impact on the program. Between his incredible work on rules and policy, his succinct explanations (such as “Deviate Like Hell”) and his work as an L4, L5, and now Program Coordinator, I could say a lot about what Toby has brought to the Magic Judge community. Others have said most of that better than I could, though, so I’d rather spend some time talking about Toby from a different perspective.

Toby doesn’t just care about policy, or rules, or judging – Toby genuinely cares about the people that are involved in Magic, in all aspects, and I think that’s one of the many ingredients of his success in the Judge program. I learned this when I moved to California and emailed Toby, who I selected since he was the highest-level judge in the area, about re-testing for L1. He gave me some helpful info and then invited me to a draft. This simple gesture had a huge impact on me and my attitude toward community-building, and I know I wasn’t the only one.

From a more event-oriented perspective, Toby’s ability to appear relaxed and ready for questions, no matter what’s going on, has a huge impact If Toby is on your event, your event just goes better. Players see Toby and know they’re getting a high level of service. Judges see Toby and find things to emulate, even if he’s just watching some Magic – and when Toby judges, he watches a LOT of Magic.

Next time you see Toby, if you don’t know him, make sure to say hi and strike up a conversation. Just make sure you have some time set aside if he happens to say “Actually, I have a great story about that!” Don’t worry – it really will be a great story.”

Congratulations to Toby for his decade and a half of service as a high-level judge.

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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2 Responses to January 2017 Anniversaries

  1. Matt Sauers says:

    Thanks, but I certified in October 2010.

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