Here are the February 2017 judge anniversaries!
John Alderfer from Hermitage, United States
Aslan Koube from Austin, United States
Daniel Magalhaes from Itajuba, Brazil
Neil Meyer from Calgary, Canada
David Morgan from Blackmans Bay, Australia
Martin Seleme from San Fernando del Valle de Catamarca, Argentina
Johnpaul Adams from Blacklick, United States
Cory Giles from manteca, United States
Jonathan Holland from Cookeville, United States
Eric Lee from Hayward, United States
Gerhard Moellemann from Aachen, Germany
Sam Nathanson from Jersey City, United States
Martin Robic from Bled, Slovenia
David Rubenstein from Newton, United States
Christopher Ruddat from Koeln, Germany
Brendan Weiskotten from Minneapolis, United States
Benjamin Wheeler from Victoria, Canada
Congratulations, and thank you for all your hard work!This month we have 4 featured judges: Johnpaul Adams, John Alderfer, Alejandro Raggio and Gavin Duggan. To kick us off, Jarrod Williams has this to say about Johnpaul’s 5 year anniversary:
Johnpaul (JP) Adams is one of the judges that I have had the privilege of working with the most. We started working together when we both were L1s. He is someone that I am always glad to see on my staff or on my team. His energy and enthusiasm are infectious and relentless and only matched by his professionalism and ability on the floor of an event. He is also one of the best on event judge mentors I know. I know that if I pair an unexperienced judge with JP that judge will leave the day with know-how and understanding of what it takes to run a smooth event. His patience and background as an educator have led to him working with judges who were having issues with how to run tournaments and training them into solid event judges. He is also a welcoming community presence putting in tireless work in his local area to help make the Magic community in Columbus more welcoming and inclusive. Congratulations on your 5 year anniversary!Next, Rob McKenzie reflects on Alderfer’s 15 years as a Magic Judge:
John Alderfer is one of the most experienced and knowledgeable judges in the program, and he has done nearly everything. His JudgeApps profile claims a “triple digit number of Grand Prix”, and this is underselling it. A spelunk through JudgeApps and Judge Center shows 152 Grand Prix, 15 Pro Tours, and 9 Worlds. That’s an unbelievable number of high-level events, but you better believe it. You are more likely than not to see John at any give Grand Prix in the US.
You are likely to see John, but you may not notice his impact unless you are really paying attention. I’ve worked with John at…a lot of events. Enough that I can’t easily figure it out. I know it is not every GP I’ve ever been at, but it is most of them. John is always providing support for other judges, assistance when needed, a poke of feedback here or there, and help with the setup and teardown of the WotC kit.
John was part of the pilot class of L3s allowed to be appeals judge at Grand Prix in November 2014 (back when the program had L4s and L5s as the only people normally allowed to wear burgundy at Grand Prix). In the present, John was just approved as a Grand Prix Head Judge, and is immediately head judge at Grand Prix Pittsburgh.
He has been team lead, stage lead, event manager, judge manager, and everything else related to events.
That’s John as an event monster. That’s how most people think of him. It took me a while to wrap my head around how involved in his local community John is. John as Regional Coordinator of the Northeast really calls this out – John has written 39 Exemplar nominations (largely of people from his region), given 20 L2 exams, 11 L1 exams, and has written 101 reviews.
John cares a lot about his local community, improving judges, and helping people be the best they can be, and you can see it in the care he takes with his reviews, his region, and his friends.
For another perspective on Alderfer, Steven Briggs has the following to say about John as a mentor and friend:
I first met John nearly seven years ago as the Head Judge of my first Competitive event experience – a Pro Tour Qualifier. I did not have any idea what to expect judging at a PTQ, apart from there being more people than at my local FNM, and that I needed to make sure I had booked up on infractions and penalties.
The first thing that struck me when I started working with John is that he was confident, yet very humble. He would be involved in rulings and situations when he needed to be, but I really liked that he took a somewhat light touch to mentoring, basically acting as a resource everyone knew they could count on, making sure all of the judges were engaged in activity, but then gave the judges on the floor the opportunity to have their own experiences, to make mistakes, and to learn from them. I really enjoyed that first experience working with John, and knew that not only did I want to do more events, but that I wanted to lead in event judging the way John did. For the next year, I was very fortunate to be invited to a number of events with John as the Head Judge. Our friendship started to grow, and each event I felt like I had a takeaway lesson or idea to come home with and improve for the next time. What surprised me was that even as I made mistakes and had my stumbles, John was always level-headed about it, and that made me feel safe as a judge to grow. I can happily confirm that that remains true to this date.
The biggest reason I keep judging and keep working as a Regional Coordinator are the relationships I have developed over the years. Our friendship has stayed strong through all of it, and to this date I can count on John whenever I need help. Sometimes, he even volunteers that help when I do not recognize or appreciate my need for his help. But it’s not just me – I have seen him help stage staff, registration staff, other judges, other event members, players – they have all been touched in a very positive way through interacting with John over the years. You do not earn universal respect from all of these groups just by existing. John has actively built those relationships over many years, and that investment in others, regardless who that might be, is one of John’s strongest attributes.This month we have a pair of 10-year anniversaries for Level 3 certification: Alejandro Raggio and Gavin Duggan. Both Alejandro and Gavin certified for Level 3 at Pro Tour Geneva in 2007. Latin American Regional Coordinator, Adrián Estoup shared a few thoughts about Alejandro:
“I first met Alejandro when I started playing Magic a long, long time ago. He has been one of the most dedicated persons I have ever met regarding to Magic, probably the most dedicated one: He was Tournament Organizer many years ago, and then he started pursuing goals as a judge. At this time, Alejandro is probably our major reference regarding tournament operations, logistics, rules, and policy in Latin America, being a well-known star not only inside, but also outside of our region. He is also an avid miles-hunter, which makes him participate in thousands of events around the world, backed up by his experience and knowledge of the game.
I find it hard to believe that we are celebrating just 10 years of him as a L3. To me, he has always been a L3, even at store-level events where I met him for the first time. I feel proud of being able to share the path of his growth during these years, in which we have shared so many experiences both inside and outside tournaments. He is one of the most complete judges I know, not only because of his knowledge and experience, but also because of his ability to adapt to different environments, such as GPs around the world, even to the point of learning languages to improve his qualities as a judge. If the Judge Program needs trustworthy people for running any project, especially related to technical knowledge, Alejandro is definitely your guy.”
“’Yeah … but did you have fun?’
It’s no great secret that Gavin is an incredibly smart guy – and much has been written about Gavin’s vast intellect. You can check out his 5-year anniversary here and Eric Levine calls him a ‘human sorting algorithm’ here.
At Worlds 2016 this past November in Rotterdam Gavin was the deck checks lead for day one, and all of the constructed lists were submitted via email. Unfortunately they could be submitted mostly in any format and hadn’t been verified or counted. Gavin’s solution? Write a script in Perl that would parse all of the decklists for him. 10 minutes. Done.
Gavin’s technical prowess has benefited not only tournaments but the program as a whole. He was one of the leading developers that built the online framework for exemplar, and based on the recognition from fellow judges alone it appears that exemplar would not work the way it does today without his efforts. Seriously – go check out Gavin’s exemplar nods, there are some heavy hitters tossing him some serious gratitude there.
“Yeah … but did you have fun?”
Gavin was the Canadian regional coordinator for almost 5 years and led the region through a time of massive growth and development. Under his watch we saw the transition away from judge foils at GPs and the modern era of judging, PPTQs, and the “mega GP”.
Every current L3 in Canada right now got there on his watch.
Through all of these changes Gavin has provided wisdom and direction using his charisma, intellect, and impish grin … much of it at a distance and balancing the demands of a young family and a career “with a research company in the San Francisco Bay area” (as he would put it).
At 8pm on Friday he’ll invite you out for dinner and drinks, 3pm on Saturday help you out with a ruling and give you some incredible perspective on an area of policy, and by 10pm Sunday you can’t wait to stay up with him playing commander until you have to head to the airport. Next month he emails you to ask for your help tracking down some judges in the middle of nowhere for a new store looking to run events, and you don’t hesitate at all to help. He inspired loyalty and admiration.
Gavin is a great program judge, a great tournament judge, a great community judge, and finally a great mentor. He has the supernatural ability to say precisely the right thing in precisely the right way to connect and motivate judges. I think he loves being lost in an idea, and as a result has a sixth sense for potential in people that they might not even see in themselves. He is unconsciously looking into the future, and teaches and motivates with an unbelievable economy of motion. The crazy thing is it seems completely instinctual – most of the time if you ask Gavin about some crazy thing he’s done he’ll respond “Yeah, that sounds like something I would do” as if it all flows instinctively and without effort.
I’ll tell a couple personal stories:
At GP Toronto 2013, Gavin looked at me after the tournament and simply said “I want you to have your checklist done by this time next year”. It was such a simple moment, but I felt like he saw something in me that I wasn’t seeing at the time. I felt encouraged, and it was the definition of a SMART goal. It worked. I learned that great mentors not only challenge, but inspire and empower.
At GP Vancouver 2015 I was working very hard on my progress toward L3. The previous fall I had organized a judge conference (with the help of the inimitable Chris McGuire and Robert Hinrichsen) and gotten my day 2 team lead check. I was ODE lead Friday and Sunday and had worked very hard to prepare. I was on Steven Zwanger’s floor team Saturday and worked very hard to prepare. I wrote reviews, took notes, answered calls, and pushed in chairs. Steven had an investigations scenario for us to discuss to help with my L3 progress. Gavin had a small study group that would be discussing some difficult rules scenarios to help us prepare for the L3 Preliminary exam. I had studied very hard. I was in super-serious mode 😉
Later Sunday evening at the judge dinner, Gavin and I are having some beverages and he asks me if I had a fun weekend. I immediately proceeded to provide my after-action report, detailing judges of note, and my preparation, and interesting calls, and my …
He put his hand up and interrupted me.
“Yeah … but did you have fun?”
I was stunned. I didn’t have an answer.
Now, every Sunday after a tournament I unconsciously return to that judge dinner. Judging can be hard work, but what I learned is that more than anything it’s the people and the fun that keeps the burnout away – that keeps each of us packing our judge shirts for the next tournament.
Here’s to 10 years of Gavin Duggan as a leader both on and off the tournament floor. The program, the events, and the people are all better for it. I hope it was, and will continue to be, fun :)”
Congrats to both of you for a decade of service to the Judge Program as Level 3s!
Happy anniversary to all of you! We look forward to many more years of judging from you all.