In his personal life, Yuval is a software engineer (mainly working on an automation framework using Python, but most things “computer” will bend to his will). In addition to Hebrew and English he speaks (mostly) fluent Spanish, thanks to living and having family in Mexico.
As a judge, Yuval is involved in several projects, including the JudgeApps development team (also writing for the JudgeApps blog and providing support) and maintaining exam content. He was the Israeli country coordinator until becoming the RC, and is actively working on advancing to L3. Yuval enjoys judging GPs (all those awesome judges in one place!), but likes conferences even more.
He started playing Magic on 2000, but that was the dark era where Counterspell could counter flying and X was always the Latin number 10. In 2003 he played his first prerelease and in 2005 won all three of the local Ravnica prereleases. Realizing that playing Magic was easy and not challenging, he quickly started exploring other options like judging. In December 2005 managed to pass the L1 test and 2006 was lucky to be invited to GP Barcelona, Torino, Toulouse, Athens and Worlds Paris. Rumors say that Giorgos went to his first GP without knowing that he would be paid at the end of the weekend. Those minor events gave him great experience, so he managed not passing the L2 test in Athens and almost passing on Spring 2007. Giorgos continued to live a glamorous life with trips to tropical islands, where he managed to fail his L3 test, due to immaturity among other things. There was proof of such immaturity at events such as PT Berlin, where he met David de la Iglesia for the first time. In late 2010 wizards introduced the Regional Coordinator program and Giorgos knew that this would be a great fit for him. He was wrong then, but that does not matter now. He made a successful attempt at L3 during fall 2011 and then bribed his RC to step down with money “borrowed” from the Austrian government.
Outside magic, Giorgos is working in the banking industry which finances all his travels, directly or otherwise. In his free time he is declaring to be a failed actor, singer, football and basketball player, though he continues practicing all of those. Giorgos had an accident and his hands can’t shuffle more than 41 cards, so he is playing only limited with a great lack of success so far.
As for the future, Giorgos would like to live in world with no frontiers where everyone will love everyone. He is realizing that this is difficult, but he is willing to try.
He’s passionate about food, Japan, travelling, and helping people and organisations to improve. Currently he’s involved in the “Leadership meeting at GPs” project and in testing new Level 3s.
Meet the Country Coordinators
They are the people responsible for the day-to-day management of the countries in the region. A lot of the time, they will be the first point of contact for anyone wanting to get in touch with the regional leaders.
Bulgaria and MacedoniaIvan Stefanov is an L2 judge who became the country coordinator for Bulgaria and Macedonia in September 2016, something that he did not quite expect and had to adapt as the responsibilities of this new role unfolded in front of him.He certified for L1 in September 2009 at GP Prague, shortly after returning from a couple of years break from the game. The state of the local player community was bad – not many players, scarce tournaments and just a couple of judges. For some reason Ivan decided becoming a judge would help change that. It was not until he started doing events, however, that things started to look better. This eventually required him to test for L2 and after two failed attempts, Ivan decided to prepare right instead of fast for the exam and passed it with an astonishingly high score in April 2013.
In the past several years, Ivan worked as a TO and store owner more than as a judge, but his focus shifted recently towards player acquisition, judge certification and developing a large-scale sustainable Magic community in the country. He focuses more on attending events to run demos and running more casual events, which has freed a lot of time for being a CC, attending more GPs and doing proper judge work.
Ivan is passionate about people in general, and especially about those playing games, which is why he dedicates a lot of time to looking for ways to make our hobby more popular; this also involves a healthy amount of playing games. Ivan doesn’t play as much Magic as he’d like to (other than the occasional prerelease that he occasionally wins), but he makes up for that with board games (of the 1- to 3-hour-long variety) and some video games, mostly old-school and turn-based (think XCOM, Civilization and King’s Bounty).
Ivan is happy to be a CC and I believes he can help make the region better, starting from Bulgaria and Macedonia.
CroatiaNenad Čizmić is the Country Coordinator for Croatia. He is an L2 judge from Sisak.Nenad has become L1 in 2009 and L2 in 2013. From the start he has been very active in judge community and after he has become L2 he has helped to develop Croatian (and a little bit Serbian) judge scene. In real life he is currently searching for a new job, plays and organizes Magic events in Sisak, and plays Fallout 4, sometimes Hearthstone too.He would like to play once at the Pro Tour but for now makes too many mistakes to get there. He also enjoys traveling and good wine or beer with a friends.
Greece and CyprusAlex is an L2 from Thessaloniki, Greece. Certified by a certain judge octopus back in 2013, then making L2 in 2014, he claims he still feels like a teenager next to the “older” judges in the region. Notorious for never staying in a single location for more than a year, Alex has lived (and claimed tags from) Europe-East, Europe-Central, BeNeLux (though no tag) and soon German-speaking countries!
IRL, Alex writes (mainly Java backend) code for organizations such as CERN and ESA. In his hobby time, he writes M:TG related code to sell to the highest bidder, and in his free time is the co-owner of a magic store. Legend has it he works a minimum of 3 jobs since 2015!
As a judge, Alex focuses on a hands-on problem solving attitude. Taking part in multiple projects, he regularly leads the creation of articles, contests and other content. In his opinion conferences are the best part of judging and to demonstrate that, he is part of the organizing team of at least 2 every year. Despite being brought up in what is clearly the world’s best region, Alex attempts to transfer knowledge between the places he travels to about how to build community feeling, inclusion and bonds between judges.
Uri started playing Magic during Onslaught block and his first deck was a TIMMY Gruul beasts deck featuring Krosan Warchief. He certified as a judge in 2016 and advanced to L2 in 2017. Having lived in several countries as a child, he returned to the USA during 2018 and enjoyed seeing another Magic community and trying his hand at judging on another continent. Now he looks forward to doing the same in many more places! Uri has worked on several projects, including Player Surveys, Study groups and advancement for Judge candidates and L1 judges, and helps regularly with the New Set Digests. He loves mentoring up-and-coming judges and is very involved in creating a social scene for judges wherever possible. In addition to judging, Uri has a BA in education and political science, and loves working with and around people and organizations that try and improve the world around them. His favorite color combination is Temur, and his favorite card is Riku of Two Reflections (because you get to do everything TWICE!). He also enjoys video and board games, hiking all over the world, and ice cream.
Middle EastOlivier is an L2 judge from the United Arab Emirates, having lived in Dubai for 15 years. Olivier’s first experience with Magic was in 1994 as he went up to his mom with a newspaper cutout about Magic. It took until 1995 and the release of Ice Age for pocket money to allow the hobby! What fun it was to play with instants and interrupts!His first judging experience was in Dubai, UAE and was certified L1 in 2009 by Falko Goerres. At the time the region was completely closed off and there was only ONE location playing Magic in the whole Middle-East – the certification process was done entirely over the internet.
Olivier is heavily focused on the development of Magic which he has been working on for almost 10 years now. A deciding factor to the development of the judge program in the Middle-East has been the arrival of David de la Iglesia in Qatar in 2015 – couldn’t do it without his mentorship 🙂
Olivier works as a hobby store owner and freelance assistant director and video streaming specialist. He enjoys fishing and terrible commander decks. You can catch him at a Grand Prix walking alongside Chandra!
RomaniaAdrian Teodorescu is the Country Coordinator for Romania. He is an L2 Judge from Bucharest. He became L1 in 2010, and L2 in 2012 at GP Ghent. He is currently on the road to L3. His real life job is software cloud programmer, currently leading the backend software dev deptartment of a direct marketing firm.Some personal interests are boardgames (he owns like 20), electronic gadgets (toying with SBC’s like RPi and others), and most of all Golem Arcana. In MTG, Adrian likes Commander and Legacy.
SerbiaMilorad became an L1 in 2014 (at a random FNM), for the need of a local store, and being ambitious and active, fell in love with judging; he passed his L2 exam just next year during the regional Summer Conference in Turkey.Milorad is the owner of a small club/store in Novi Sad (where he currently lives), focused mainly on children and young/new players, and actively working on opening new clubs and the popularization of Magic in Serbia.
When he has some free time, he is passionate about playing Backgammon, guitar and percussion, cooking, reading, sailing, science, and being the Geek in general… 🙂
SloveniaMitja Bosnič is the Country Coordinator for Slovenia. He is an L2 judge who enjoys travelling to GPs all over Europe and, recently, to Brazil. His involvement in the Judge program has given him an incredible opportunity to grow as a person and he is eager to give back to the community!Mitja loves numbers and is part of a group of judges who work on analyzing the results of surveys filled out by judges, players and TOs. He is also a huge fan of Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and many other geeky things. This love culminated in him organizing a fantasy/sci-fi Convention in Ljubljana every year.
TurkeyYakup Çakmak is Country Coordinator of Turkey, residing in Izmir. He became an L2 in December 2014.Yakup introduced to Magic around old Mirrodin Block (Fifth Dawn to be precise) and started playing around Guildpact. Since there are a few people in Izmir playing Magic, he gathered people from High School Roleplaying Club. After Highschool with no store/club to play Magic he started running tournaments around city, whether they are at Conventions or in his house.After gathering some of his high school friends and some new players together at Kule Sakinleri (used to be a club for Warhammer and other miniature games alike), Yakup started a play store there and since there are no judges he decided to became a Judge. Started with World Magic Cup Qualifiers he started travelling for Judging around Turkey and in 2011 he became a qualified judge. 3 years later, having the opportunity and Lust to travel more he became a level 2.In real life Yakup is a store owner in Izmir and also works for university/college clubs to became more involved in gaming culture (whether it be magic the gathering, role playing games or boardgames). He travels most of the big events around turkey and other close countries and works for a book publishing company which prints mostly Marvel comics and Manga’s (Such as Naruto, One Piece) in Turkish.
Also he is still a student in Computer Engineering with no interest in becoming a computer engineer.
Rumor has it he became a Magic Judge because he can’t properly play Magic and lost every tournament he joined when he was a player.