Announcing Wave 13 Vanguard

Written by Lev Kotlyar
Level 3, Moscow Russia

Hello all,

If you follow our blog, you have probably read about the mysterious Vanguard. Now, finally the time has come to talk a bit more about it. Announced in this blog post, the Vanguard is a judge that, to put it simply, is highlighted by the Exemplar Program during an Exemplar Wave. This judge is featured on the custom token that each judge receives as part of the Exemplar wave with a printout of their received nominations on the other side. Before I delve into more behind the scene details, let me introduce you our first Vanguard!

Enter the Vanguard

LutorJudges of the world! Meet Tomasz Ludkiewicz, Vanguard of the upcoming Spring 2018 Exemplar Wave!

Tomasz is a level 2 judge from Elbląg, Poland. He’s started his judging career in December 2013, judged two Grand Prix before becoming a level 2 in April 2016. With 11 Grand Prix total in his resume for the moment, our Vanguard is not new to international judging. Back home Tomasz is an active judge and tournament organizer with experience of running numerous PPTQs, GPTs and innumerate amount of smaller tournaments.

Tomasz was selected for Vanguard based on the nomination he has received from Jerzy Sikorski:

“Dear Tomasz. Last time you helped me before Polish Nationals. It was great! And after that my application at Grand Prix London were accepted… I just lose my mind because of that. I had enormous number of questions: about judging, ODE’s, being a HJ on side events. I don’t even know how to work in such a big team! You told me everything. You answered each question. Thanks to your mentorship I keep calm on GP. On Sunday we were together at one team. You were HJ and I was FL for a big side event. You show me everything I should do: how to interact with players, how to prepare stuff for tournament, how to behave as a judge. I saw You as a great team leader. All other judges know what they had to do. Event went smoothly. Working with you was always a pleasure. After GP London I have to say that your team leading skills are so impressive. Definitely you are a great L2 judge. You still amaze me. I am glad that I can learn from you how to be a judge.“

Large tournaments are often intimidating for new judges because of how dynamic they are and how much stuff is going on at the same time. It is easy to get lost, confused and frustrated in such environment. And it is awesome when there’s a person who can take you under their wing and help you through this experience. Mentoring is not an easy job, it takes time and dedication to share the knowledge and check how it is applied. Being able to find this time while being a team leader or a head judge and being responsible for a lot of other stuff is fantastic. This is why the Exemplar team liked this nomination and chose to highlight it for Vanguard.

A little peek behind the scenes

I’m sure many people are interested in the way a Vanguard is elected. Well, the process is straightforward and it is integrated in the way Exemplar team processes nominations after each wave closes.

During the review process the team goes through all of the submitted recognitions.  In the past we have said that during this initial pass, nominations are grouped into two piles, an ‘Accept’ pile, and a ‘take a closer look’ pile. But there is actually a third pile. This pile is a sub-set of Accepted recognitions, we call ‘Promote’. If a team member selects a nomination for promotion, it means that they find it exceptionally specific, relevant and praiseworthy and something we want to promote as an example of an exceptional nomination.  In the past we have used this list for blog posts highlighting nominations.
Once all nominations have been reviewed, and we have the full list of accepted nominations, we generate a second list using the random selection process described in here. We then take that list, and find the overlap with the nominations selected for promotion during the earlier review.
Finally, we set up a vote where each member of the team has three votes to assign to the various recognitions. The recognitions are then ranked based on the number of votes. This is how our Vanguard candidate is elected.

The next steps ensure that the nomination and that our Vanguard candidate are okay with being put under a spotlight. This involves contacting the judge and their Regional Coordinator to ensure that the selected judge is active. Once we are certain there are no outstanding issues, we contact the selected Judge and ask if they wish to be the Vanguard for the next wave.

We understand that the circumstances are different for every judge and we by no means want to induce any unnecessary pressure on our candidate or make them uncomfortable in any way. They have a chance to opt out of being a Vanguard and do not need to explain a reason. (However, if that happens, the runner-up of the votes becomes our new candidate).

After getting this type of clearance, we move forward with creating the token and…. This step is currently in progress, so stay tuned for the token reveal!

I’ll give you a hint at a creature type though… they are bloody charming…

As a reminder, Exemplar Wave 13 closes on Monday May 14th at 23:59 PST