November 2017 Anniversaries

Here are the November 2017 judge anniversaries!

20 years

Darren Gamble from Calgary, Canada

15 years

Igor Cattani from Firenze, Italy
Andres Martinez from Rimini, Italy
Fabio Simoncini from Montespertoli, Italy
Salvatore La Terra from Catania, Italy
Zachary Reyburn from Las Vegas, United States
Kevin Desprez from La Madeleine, France

10 years

David Lyford-Smith from Reading, United Kingdom
Anders Thidemann from Aarhus C, Denmark
Roel Jans from Sittard, Netherlands

5 years

TJ Clark from Grand Rapids, Michigan, United States
Brandon DeJean from Lafayette, Louisiana, United States
Derrik Smith from Greeneville, Tennessee, United States
Gregory Rome from Montrose, Mississippi, United States
Ivan Seleznev from Togliatty, Russia
Ruiming Chen from Fuzhou, China
Brant Abeln from Edina, Minnesota, United States
Hokuto Kanbara from Kyoto, Japan
Josh Ross from Davenport, Iowa, United States
Brendan Charan from Melbourne, Australia
Matthew Stangel from Platteville, Wisconsin, United States
Noah Koessel from Eureka, California, United States
John Galbraith from Santa Paula, California, United States
Cristiano Piu from Rome, Italy
josh hibbler from Petoskey, Michigan, United States
Jacopo De Rosa from Rome, Italy
Angel Ruiz Guerra from Sevilla, Spain
Mickael Li Thiao Te from Lyon, France
Marc Pibernat from Sant Antoni de Vilamajor, Spain
Philippe Josse from Longjumeau, France
Konstantinos Brouzioutis from London, United Kingdom
David Strütt from Lausanne, Switzerland
Mattia Pellegrini Miani from Udine, Italy
Francesco Giorgio from Napoli, Italy
David Sorba from Etoy, Switzerland
Timothy Murphy from Orangeburg, New York, United States
Malte Irmer from Haßbergen, Germany
Walker Robinson from Antioch, Illinois, United States
Simon Carmichael from Belfast, United Kingdom
Tom Gibbs from Omaha, Nebraska, United States
Alexander McLaughlin from Grand Rapids, Michigan, United States
Arthur Stifelman from Porto Alegre, Brazil
Justin Luttrell from Springfield, Illinois, United States
Renier Rousseau from GreenStrone Hill, South Africa
Christopher Zaal from Pretoria, South Africa
Jason Benner from Missoula, Montana, United States
Aljaz Osojnik from Ljubljana, Slovenia
Svarun Leskovšek from Ljubljana, Slovenia
Yong Ming Lim from Brisbane, Australia
Jackie Lee from Arlington, Massachusetts, United States
Stefan Kuntner from Vienna, Austria
Fabian Januchowski from Bonn, Germany
Scott Mayer from Riverwoods, Illinois, United States
Elliot Van Wormer from Klamath Falls, Oregon, United States
Sony Searles from bloomington, Indiana, United States
Addam Love from Superior, Wisconsin, United States
Ricardo Sánchez from Madrid, Spain
Stephen Speck from Wilmette, Illinois, United States
Leonard Havliček from Bregana, Croatia
Steven Bezzio from Seattle, Washington, United States
Charles League from Ashland, Virginia, United States
Justin Martin from Florida, United States
Kai Sternitzke from Salzgitter, Germany
Benjamin Upton from Auckland, New Zealand
Rubén Ayllón Montesinos from Cuenca, Spain
Michael Wayne from Glen Burnie, Maryland, United States
Nahuel Vignatti from Santa Fe, Argentina
Tobias Olofsson from Årjäng, Sweden
Samuel Akers from Apple Valley, Minnesota, United States
Jonathan Reasoner from Baytown, Texas, United States
Jamie Arnold from Morristown, Tennessee, United States
Per Carlsson from Uppsala, Sweden
Michael Piotrowsky from Belton, South Carolina, United States
Alexander Byatt from Melbourne, Australia
Tyrel Cameron from Melbourne, Australia
David Porzio from Greer, South Carolina, United States
Serge Yager from Victoria, Canada
Bryan Brahmer from Fountain Inn, South Carolina, United States
Charles Lee from Sydney, Australia
Alex Tune from Austin, Texas, United States
Will Morell from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, United States
Florian Zarges from Darmstadt, Germany
Mark Brezinski from Belmont, Massachusetts, United States
David Maddox from Thomasville, Georgia, United States
Colja Würdemann from Bremen, Germany
Cliff Cheung from San Jose, California, United States
Gregory Havlik from DeKalb, Illinois, United States
Daniel Gluck from Orlando, Florida, United States
Juan Gonzalez from Fontaine L’évêque, Belgium
Mike Torrisi from Madison, Wisconsin, United States
Orlando Gonzalez from Puerto Ordaz, Venezuela
Mattias Hjelmström from Skövde, Sweden
Yunho Choi from Busan, South Korea
Hyunwoong Park from South Korea
Minqi Chen from Singapore, Singapore
Matthew Toledo from East Durham, New York, United States
Andreas Eibel from München, Germany
Stefan Günther from Magdeburg, Germany
Chong Lam Khaw from Subang Jaya, Malaysia
Sebastian Fieber from Potsdam, Germany
Jan Brinkmann from Braunschweig, Germany
Brandon Martin from Scarborough, Maine, United States
Irma Derkach from Kozelsk, Russia
David McDarby from Knoxville, Tennessee, United States
Julien Al-Rubei from Rangsdorf, Germany
Roger Glasser from São Paulo, Brazil
Kade Boveington from Cape Coral, Florida, United States
Robson Falcão de Oliveira from Vitória da Conquista, BA, Brazil
Renato Kitagawa from Contagem, Brazil
James Farlow from Lismore, Australia
Zachery Tracy from Fort Myers, Florida, United States
Alexandr Omelyanchik from Kaliningrad, Russia
Benjamin Autin from Houma, Louisiana, United States
Devon Van Camp from Lethbridge, Canada
Christopher MacKenn from Cape Coral, Florida, United States
Gabriel Nieves from SJ, Puerto Rico
Vincent Fleury from Tucson, Arizona, United States
Giacomo Gambini from Pesaro, Italy
Jeffrey Schlichter from Memphis, Tennessee, United States
Aaron Sewell from Auckland, New Zealand
Henry Moore from Auckland, New Zealand
David Pitstick from Centerville, Ohio, United States
Sergio Alexandre Carnevale from Genova, Italy
Benjamin Anuworakarn from London, United Kingdom
Thomas-Moffitt Stage from Fresno, California, United States
Luigi Sbrocca from Pesaro, Italy
George Williams from Sydney, Australia
Jose Tamargo from Barcelona, Spain
Ben Johnston from Dallas, Texas, United States
Hannah Wines from San Antonio, Texas, United States
Vitaliy Glukhov from Moscow, Russia
Sean Choate from College Station, Texas, United States
Stephen Oliveiro from Portland, Oregon, United States
Samo Seljak from Idrija, Slovenia
Ki-won Kim from Seoul, South Korea
Anastasiya Rozhkova from Moscow, Russia
Jake Henry from Charlotte, North Carolina, United States
Levi Brooks from Charlotte, North Carolina, United States
Weipei Bu from China
Marco Kesseler from Schwarzenbek, Germany
Steve Rogers from Pittsfield, Massachusetts, United States
Yu-Wei Zhang from Taipei, Taiwan
Dan Livant from Providence, Rhode Island, United States
Jorge Santos from São Paulo , Brazil

Congratulations, and thank you for all your hard work!

Kindness is his foundation

Kindness is his foundation

This month, we have 3 headliners: Darren Gamble, Kevin Desprez and David Lyford-Smith! First, lets celebrate Darren’s 20 year anniversary as a judge! Jon Goud had prepared this for Darren’s monumental anniversary:

20 years in the judge program is an incredible achievement – and I started flipping through old ‘back in the day’ photos of Darren for inspiration. I started noticing something as I looked through old photos of GPs, Canadian Nationals, and many many judge dinners … Darren was one of the few pictured that are still actively judging.

Darren certified in 1997 – Tempest block would be the new set that fall, and the game had yet to grow through art design changes, the sixth edition rules overhaul, the M10 rules overhaul, mythic rares, and the list goes on! Young Randy Buehler would win Pro Tour Chicago that fall – his debut PT appearance! ‘Sequences’ and ‘Batches’ were likely on his level 1 test … which would have been administered by a L3 (the only level at the time that could certify new judges)

In that time Darren has judged many many tournaments of all shapes and sizes, certified and mentored innumerable judges in his home province of Alberta, and been a touchstone of integrity and energy at every event. Even after all these years he is a bottomless well of enthusiasm and hustle. I’ve never seen him do something sluggishly or absent-mindedly.

Much has changed in the last 20 years, and much is changing now both in organized play and the judge program. I look at 10-year-old pictures of Darren in his ‘zebra shirt’ alongside judges who have long since stepped down or who I don’t recognize at all. I think about how not all of us have ‘survived’ turbulence in the past, and it’s quite possible that in the years to come more of us will step down.

But it makes me feel safe to know that Darren will be there for those of us still judging years from now – he’ll be there to show us how to hustle, he’ll always up for a beer and a game of Commander, and always happy to share his ‘back in the day’ war stories to try and educate us young folk 🙂

Congratulations Darren, and we all hope to be judging alongside you 20 years from now!

More than just a scarf

More than just a scarf

Next, Guillaume wrote a few things about Kevin’s 15 year anniversary:

A couple of days ago, Sophie Pagès asked me if I was ok to write something about Kevin for his 15th anniversary. My first reflex was, wooooh 15 years is a pretty long long time. Then I realized that I’ve known Kevin for almost 15 years; first as a player, then as a judge. Finally it made me realize that I’m not twenty anymore… but that’s another story.

Fifteen years is a long period of time, but when you think about Kevin’s impact on the judge program, you realize that it can’t be done in just a couple of months. I could start to talk about Kevin’s influence on the French PTQs scene from something like 10 years ago, but let’s focus on the Kevin Desprez as a L3.

First of all, Kevin has been a keystone of the judge program in France for quite some years. This happened when 3 or 4 French L3+ stopped around the same period and Kevin was the last one until Daniel Kitachewsky finally passed his L3 and came to support. At this time, the MSN messenger window between Daniel and Kevin was the center of decisions for the French community 🙂

During this period Kevin was mentoring a decent group of L2s and some of them finally got their L3 and came to help to support the community. At the international level, one of his first big mark of influence was on the Investigation Committee. When he became the lead of the committee around 2010, he worked hard to create a structured document with philosophy support. The general concept of this document is still used today and allows the committee to handle most of the cases with pretty good consistency.

Kevin also worked a lot on the work flow, allowing players to have an answer regarding the outcome of their disqualification in a decent timeframe, while it was pretty erratic before that. Another point of interest in Kevin is an unusual trait of character: when you are working with the same group of people, doing the same things for years, it’s super easy to take habits and to stick to them. What always impresses me with Kevin is his ability to ask himself questions about everything, all the time. Take public transportation with Kevin in a country he never visited and you will quickly see what I mean. 😉 He is not only asking questions, he is also trying to find the best answer and if the current system is not the best answer he will design something to replace it. I could mention these recent ideas:

– In trial registration, he asked if the staff was able to take money at the table to give judges the ability to fire a huge number of trials from at the opening of the venue, without any waiting time for the players.

– In the sleep in special system, he crafted a process helping to answer to this question: “How to do the most efficient system to generate a great player experience, without risking to open the door for cheating?”

One of the most recent and visible impact that Kevin had on the program is the GP HJ program. While some people had concerns about the automatic maintenance of the GP HJ in the past, Kevin accepted the challenge and tackled this issue. I said challenge, because we are talking about evaluating other skillful people which for a large part of them are friends and trust me the job is not the most pleasant thing to do, but it has to be done. Kevin has been able to craft a process were a committee is able to evaluate different candidates anonymously, removing a maximum of bias in the candidates evaluation.

All of these initiatives have always been combined with a large amount of documentation and mentoring. If sometimes you feel Kevin has strong opinions, it’s true! But don’t be afraid to continue to discuss and to give your best arguments. As a very rational person, Kevin is very careful to listen to the facts and if at the end your suggestion makes more sense than the initial plan, he will probably go for it. Kevin is always giving his full attention to you when you enter a discussion with him. It looks like he believes that in every discussion there is a gem hidden that could improve the program or lives of others. Seeing him thinking about your craziest arguments and making them running in his head is something quite fantastic to see. Sometimes his conclusions go even farther than what you initially wanted to achieve!

One of two famous judges with the first two initials DL

One of two famous judges with the first two initials DL

Finally, we get to David’s 10 year anniversary! Jack remembers the last 10 years here:

David’s ten-year lifetime as a judge has been a winding road of responsibility, professionalism, and excellence. At a time, David was only Level 2 judge on the main land-mass of the UK. Slightly later, he was one of the few Level 3 judges in the region, when that group could have their meetings at a single table in a Starbucks. David handled coordination of Level 1 certification and Level 2 certification for periods that I have personally experienced. He has served as the Head Judge of a Grand Prix (and indeed, he did so wearing a pointy witch’s hat). He has served as the Regional Coordinator for the region, leaving me with boots to fill that I still have worries about, to this day. He’s served as a sphere leader for the Player Experience sphere, spearheading (or sphere-heading) a multitude of projects, initiatives — both player- and judge-facing — and for each of these tasks, he’s inspired awe from many more judges, players, and Magic-involved individuals than just myself.

Throughout all of these roles, where I remember first seeing and experiencing the phenomenon known as “DL-S”, is as the Head Judge of a PTQ many years ago. Seeing David command a judge team, hundreds of players, and steer a ship through choppy waters to the end of the day has always been a fond and powerful memory of mine. One of the few things that he didn’t get to do “at the time” was be the Head Judge of Nationals. He got to show the English community exactly how well such a role suited him recently, and that memory of “Head Judge DL-S” was refreshed for me.

If I search my email account for “David Lyford-Smith”, what comes up is more than half a decade of advice, witticisms (or, as he would refer to them, as one of the most “street” individuals I know, “bants”), and relentless time and effort put in to improve me as a judge and as a person. That chain starts with “I want to become a Level 1 and I’ve been told you’re the guy to talk to” and ends somewhere yesterday providing information on yet another task David does for the region. I can believe DL-S has had this impact on an absurd number of other individuals. David has been a major positive influence for myself and the region, and I’m proud to call him a friend.

To ten more years!

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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