March 2017 Anniversaries

Here are the March2017 judge anniversaries!

15 years

Enrico Masi from Forli, Italy
Hajime Fujii from Takatsuki-shi, Japan
Toshiaki Ogasawara from Sapporo-shi, Japan
Omar Diez from Barcelona, Spain
Martha Lufkin from Rockville, United States
Yusuke Miwa from Muroran-shi, Japan

10 years

Nicholas Krall from Coraopolis, United States
Daniel Ojcius from San Martin de Los Andes, Argentina
Farid Taoubi from Leipzig, Germany
Gianluca Bonacchi from Dublin 8, Ireland

5 years

Matthew Braddock from Laurel, United States
Keramatollah Fallah from Annerley, Australia
Shane Fowler from Ballarat, Australia
Arturo Garcia from Avila, Spain
Aaron Hendrickson from Hutchinson, United States
Johann Hullmann from Oldenburg, Germany
Anton Myrholm from Gothenburg, Sweden
Elizabeth Richardson from Baltimore, United States
Antoni Sieminski from Warsaw, Poland
Zie Aun Tan from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Matteo Urbani from Bergamo, Italy
Noe Alvarez Rangel from Soledad de Graciano Sanchez, Mexico
Jay Chadbourne from Waterville, United States
Zac Elsik from Frisco, United States
Matthew Johnson from Cambridge, England
Kristofer Stenskog from Sundsvall, Sweden
David Truitt from Wagener, United States
Dominic Casali from Columbia, United States
Julien Laronde from Toulouse, France
Trung Nguyen from Alexandria, United States
Alan Peng from Auckland, New Zealand
Andrew Quinn from Bromsgrove, England
Bruno Spycher from Bern, Switzerland
David Alston from Auckland, New Zealand
Derek Barbee from Seattle, United States
Juan Pablo Cea Castro from Con-Con, Chile
Hernan Gonzalo Diaz Ailan from Santiago del Estero, Argentina
Joaquin Ossandon from Vina del Mar, Chile
Ulf Simonsen from Aalborg, Denmark
Justin Howard from Oklahoma City, United States
Josh Conway from Chesapeake, United States
Reinout Stevens from Sterrebeek, Belgium
Kyle Tong from Sacramento, United States
Joseph Halford from Walnut Hill, United States
Nathan Jochum from Lincoln, United States
Joseph Kyle from Sarasota, United States
David Malafarina from Allentown, United States
Matic Penko from Ljubljana, Slovenia
Giovanni Severa from San Cesareo, Italy
Nate Thrasher from Kirkland, United States

Congratulations, and thank you for all your hard work!



This month we have 5 featured judges: Martha Lufkin, Farid Taoubi, Matthew Johnson, Wearn Chong, and Kim Warren. Also, we accidentally missed an L3 anniversary last month: Kaja Pękala! To start us off, Nicholas Sabin says a few things about Martha’s 15 year anniversary:

This month, Martha “Skipper” Lufkin celebrates her fifteenth anniversary as a judge. In that time, she has established herself as one of the finest judges in the Mid-Atlantic. Martha always comes to events eager, prepared, and ready to work, and she does a fantastic job of overcoming any challenge put in front of her. Whenever I staff a Magic tournament, seeing Martha’s name in the applicant pool makes my decisions just a little bit easier.

I first met Martha at Grand Prix Boston in 2005. We were both Level 1s, then. She left an impression on me at that event as being solid, reliable, and friendly. Since then, I’ve come to know Martha and consider her a friend, I’ve gotten to judge with her many times over the years, and I value her thoughtful nature and the joy she brings to events. We even bonded over our common love of the Boston Red Sox.

When I think about judges who really set the standard for quiet excellence, Martha is one of the first judges to come to mind. The Mid-Atlantic is lucky to have her as an Area Captain, and even luckier to have her as a member of our community. Her thorough organization (including her voluminous notes) and unfailingly positive attitude bring incredible value to any event she attends.

Congratulations on fifteen years of service, Martha, and thank you for all that you do. It’s an honor to call you a colleague, and a privilege to call you a friend.



Next up, Farid is celebrating 10 years as a judge. Michael Wiese wanted to say this about him:

I first met Farid at German Nationals 2006, according to Judge Apps. That would be already 11 years ago, so celebrating his anniversary is really needed or is there a bug in Apps? (Editor’s note: Its a bug in WotC’s database!) I don’t know, but what I know is that from that time on, I am and was always happy to meet him, unfortunately those meetings get rarer in the past for him being not as active on an international level and not living really close to me. It’s always a pleasure to have a talk with him, regardless if he tells a story from past or if you talk about the last rules change.

In his local area in and around Leipzig he is taking care about the tournaments, players and TO and manages to make the PTQ (back in the days) and nowadays the PPTQ happen.
He is one of those good judges, who are always there and who can’t be recognized enough. It’s not that he judges at least 10 years and didn’t get hear any complaint about him or from him, its additional that he leads the German translation team for at least 3 years nowadays and he is even longer part of it. So if you have read the translated MTR, IPG or CR in German at some point in the past, you can be sure he had his hands on that translation.

If you like to know how he afford all the time to do this, beside having to work and having a private life? Maybe it helped, that his girlfriend become a judge herself, so she understands what it means to him to be a judge for the last 10 years. Thanks for everything and happy 10th anniversary Farid.

Champion Investigator

Champion Investigator

The last normal anniversary we have this month is Matthew’s. His RC, David, wrote this for him:

Matt is a judge with a huge passion for many things. He’s a keen competitive player, especially in Eternal formats, and understands the competitive mindset well. This gives him a great perspective on how to get inside players’ heads, and figure out where policy is open to abuse. His experience as a bridge tournament director – their equivalent of judges – has helped him to see Magic from a different angle, and bring over some of the best of the knowledge of that group to Magic. He’s also had a key influence on policy through his methodical, reasoned approach to problems, and has shown time and again his ability to get to the heart of a problem and turn it inside out to look for an improvement – we have his thinking to thank for a large part of how Hidden Card Error came to be.

Matt is also passionate about bringing experiences to people, and for years has lead the charge in producing an incredible depth and variety of role-play scenarios for UKISA judge conferences. Avoiding corner cases and weaving interesting details in throughout, Matt’s constant hard work in preparing these simulations sessions are a regular fixture, and something I couldn’t imagine a regional conference without. He’s also a regular fixture in the online judging community, especially IRC and Discord, and works hard to share his knowledge and insight there.

Ultimately, Matt is a great asset to the program whenever careful thought, planning, analysis, and originality are needed – and I’m very glad we have had him for five years and am looking forward to seeing what he can do with five more.

One of the longest standing RCs!

One of the longest standing RCs!

This month we celebrate a pair of Level 3 anniversaries. In March of 2002 at Pro Tour Osaka, Wearn Chong certified for Level 3. We asked a couple of judges to share the impact of Wearn’s 15 years at L3. First, Shing Nien Fong had this to say:

“I have known Wearn for 13-14 years and in those years, he has always been the Regional Coordinator of South East Asia. Other than that, he was also the sole level 3 judge in the region and one of the handful of level 3 in this side of the world for a good part of those years until some of us decided to step-up. And because of the low-count of L3s, Wearn has been looked upon by judges in other regions like China and Japan.

Through the years of knowing Wearn, he has always been the leader who led by example, and by concise instructions when needed. He has corrected most if not all of SEA judges to identify any infraction before identifying any penalty. He always guides us back to the philosophy of the IPG. His experience in event (tournaments and conferences) operation is vast; he is familiar with the ways of many different TOs as well as the many differences of countries and regions, and he always pick-and-match the best of them. It is always a pleasure working with him because I always pick-up new tricks from him.

The first impression I had of him, because of his email address, was “oh, he’s calling himself ‘new-type cat’…” This is before I know about his love of cats and dogs, and way before knowing how many of them he kept. Going to his shop for the first time almost had me thinking I went into a pet shop.

In and out of tournaments, he has always demonstrated how one should act and behave. After knowing him for so long, I have come to realize he is also a normal person when not judging; he enjoys the good company of friend, likes a good meal, has his own following of games, and hates people who spoil TV shows on Facebook.

To Wearn who just had his 15 years of judging: Congratulations on making so far. Thank you for your guidance and being a friend.”

Next we hear from Joel Bantiles:

“From a geographical region that is divided not only by water but also with language, culture and practices, Wearn Chong has always been the glue that binds the whole South East Asian judge community together. Most judges in our region might not have seen another one from a different country or worked in a competitive event with someone who speaks something totally different from their language but I’m sure in one way or another they know Wearn Chong.

Our judge community is small compared to that of the US or Europe but that does not mean Wearn’s job as Regional Coordinator is easy. I have seen our community grow to what it is today thanks to his efforts. He not only guided me in learning and experiencing what the judge program has to offer but was also a constant presence to each and every step that I took to get from where I am today. He teaches by example and would always be there if you need someone to talk to about the program. He is generous and kind both in and out of events and I’m pretty sure if ever you get a chance to work with him that you would learn a lot. I still do.

One thing I am always reminded of is he would always want to know if there is a new judge in our community even though he might never meet that new judge in person. Almost all judges in our region are indebted to Wearn in one way or another and you will never see him complain or take credit for any success or accomplishments that those judges have gotten.

Now in your 15th year, I would like to first say thank you to all that you have done for me. I would also like to tell you that our region is undoubtedly much better because of what you have done.

Congratulations in achieving this milestone and continue to be as awesome as always.”

Featured in Rugby adverts

Featured in Rugby adverts

Finally, we celebrate the 5-year anniversary of Kim Warren certifying for Level 3. Jack Doyle shared his thought about Kim:

“Since passing her Level 3 panel at GP Lille 2012, Kim has moved from strength to strength in the judge program. She was promoted to Regional Coordinator within months of her panel, and despite being located in Paris for study, Kim was able to lead the United Kingdom, Ireland, and South Africa region to new heights. She played an instrumental role in seeing the promotion of five Level 3s in the region in 2014 very shortly after David Lyford Smith (DL-S) was promoted to RC.

Kim’s infectious personality makes events with her a true joy, and her unique style of leadership makes her an easy person to rally behind. After being promoted to Level 4 in early 2014, and armed with a stuffed fox, she was in burgundy for a number of Grand Prix events in Europe and beyond. She was the primary HJ for the Modern Masters GP in Utrecht in 2015, planning and executing the largest European Grand Prix to date.

Leaving events to the side for a moment, Kim has also been at the forefront of sculpting Regular REL policy, guiding the Judging at Regular REL (JAR) document into its current form. Kim was also the driving force of the Exemplar Program in the early days, and the project in its current state is in no small part thanks to the foundations laid by Kim.

Kim truly is one of the most rounded, complete, and genuine judges that I’ve had the pleasure of working with. As a friend, a mentor, a colleague, and a role model, she has been a positive force for those who interact with her. And I haven’t even mentioned the number of memes that Kim has contributed, willingly or not, to the internet

Thank you, Kim, for everything <3”

Best wishes to both of you for your many years of hard work!

Note: Last month, we should have included congratulations for Kaja Pękala. She certified for Level 3 back in February of 2012 at Grand Prix Madrid. For more about Kaja and her contributions to the community, check out this wonderful write up from last September. Best wishes to Kaja on her 5 years of service at Level 3!

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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