Eugene Bazhenov

привет there Judges,

Time for another rock star! This week our team managed to interview a judge from Russia! If you have not read about judges from this Region before, then I strongly recommend you don’t miss this JOTW Special Regional Coordinators Edition. It’s a pleasure to present Eugeny Bazhenov – RC and L3 from Moscow!

imageWhat is your name?
Evgeny Bazhenov. Travelling around the world for Magic events I quickly realized that Eugene is easier for most of the people to understand, so I’ve used it since PT Prague in 2006.

Where are you from?
I was born in Moscow and have been living there for all my life so far.

When did you become a Judge?
That’s a tricky question as testing history of those early days is quite blurred. I was tested by Rune Horvik at one of early Russian Nationals some 13 or 14 years ago.

Why did you become a Judge?
I’ve been passionate about the game since I was a kid. I’ve spent all my leisure time at a local store and one of the people I respected the most was Vladimir Paigusov, local judge. I learned about the rules of the game and soon started to help at events when he was not available. I got hooked pretty fast 🙂

What advice would you give to members of your region?
Communicate more with other members of our community. We’re the largest region in the whole world and don’t have a lot of chances to see each other in person. Judges from remote areas can benefit a lot from our online discussions!

Nationals 2005 Moscow.

What advice would you give to a Judge growing up through the program?
I strongly believe that enjoying the game and its social environment is a crucial part of Magic. Make sure your players always do and you will feel rewarded!

Could you recognize a few outstanding members of your region?
There are plenty of them! The community recently built up a strong team of judges translating essential lore into Russian and helping those of us not skilled in English to benefit from our international colleagues’ experience. Those initiatives are led by three outstanding judges – Lev Kotlyar, Maria Zuyeva and Irina Samonova with the help of numerous other people.

What’s the coolest event you ever been to?
A 5-day Worlds 2006 in Paris. That’s certainly an event that raises a lot of memories, both cool and weird 🙂 It was a huge cauldron of pure positive chaos.  At a certain point I found myself starting a 120-ish players Legacy event at 10pm along with two more Russian judges, loads of French players and French cards without a French-speaking judge and our scorekeeper being 300 meters away 🙂

World 2009 RomeWhat’s the farthest you have ever traveled for a Magic event?
Honolulu, Hawaii for the Pro Tour twice. That’s more or less exactly the opposite side of the world from Moscow 🙂
The farthest I’ve traveled for an event inside Russia is 9 hours on the plane to a PTQ.

Does your family travel with you?
My boyfriend is a passionate Magic player. We often travel together to events.

How do you not lose your mind as a RC?
Om mani padme hum 🙂
On a more serious note, I try to delegate things. It recently became easier as I’ve got another L3 in my region, beautiful Maria Zuyeva!

What do you feel needs to be improved in the Judge program?
I sometimes miss the feeling of a family that the judges were back in the later 2000s. We’re much bigger now though, so I don’t complain 🙂
We’re quite an adaptive organism currently. Whenever the change is needed we evolve quickly. So no, I don’t think there’s something we drastically need to change at the moment.

Local Store

What has been your best experience in the Judge Program?
My old bones can’t really choose – there have been too many. Two that stand out are Riccardo Tessitori trying to comfort me before the last part of my L3 panel and an email hitting my mailbox telling that Maria has become an L3. Also, every time I see Andy Heckt after a long time. If there’s someone I admire in the program, it’s him.

What has been your favorite magic event that you’ve judged?

In addition to the Worlds 2006 that I’ve mentioned above, the Pro Tours in Honolulu and Kuala Lumpur stand out. The venue in Kuala Lumpur was so cold that we had to run out to the street every hour to warm ourselves 🙂

If you could chat with one person, real or fictional, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
I would probably do my very best to convince Ned Stark not to travel to King’s Landing 🙂

What hobbies do you have outside of Magic?
I’m passionate about astronomy since I was 12. I still have binoculars, a telescope and a bunch of stellar maps. I often go to the countryside with my friends in the summer and try to trick them into spending the whole night outside while I’m working with all that stuff. I’m also very deep into the history and the culture of Western Christianity. I’m very sorry I wasn’t there when the RCs played some Magic to determine who claims the Vatican 🙂 I don’t lose hope though and will certainly challenge the one who currently has it 😛

Eugene 02What character in Magic (real or fictional) represents you the best, and why?
I don’t think I’ve ever associated myself with a Magic character. My alter ego is Londo Mollari, a character from Babylon 5, an ancient sci-fi series. As to why, let’s say it’s someone who 100% accurately depicts a Lawful Evil character (if you’re familiar with D&D alignments).

What are some of your Regional Goals?
As most of the stores here are really far from each other, I have an ongoing goal of having a certified judge available at every Advanced store in the region. There’s still a long road to get us there though :). My other important goal is to have another 2 L3s in place in 2015.

What’s one thing in your region which makes playing magic special?
That’s definitely our distance. Players travel a lot as well as judges to the events. That makes local communities differ a lot from one another.

Tell us an embarrassing story that you’re not afraid of everyone knowing.
I was at a GP in Barcelona a few years ago. I loooooove to sleep, but when at a Magic event I usually wake up well in time. So, it’s the morning of Day 1. My alarm clock rings, I get dressed and go to search for the venue. At some point it occurs to me that there’s no one on the streets and it’s somehow darker than I’d expected. Only at the venue – that is predictably closed – I realize: I didn’t change my time zone and it’s currently 5am instead of 8 am 🙂

How has being a Magic Judge influenced your non-Magic life?
Infinitely. Loads of my great friends are from a Magic background, my boyfriend whom I’ve dated for 11 years now is from Magic and I work for a Magic distributor 🙂

Who are your role models within the Judge Program? What are the qualities that drew you to them?
Andy Heckt, the most caring person I’ve ever met in the Program.
Johanna Virtanen, a person who has a supernatural ability to tell good from bad, a beloved friend and a source of some of the most useful advice I’ve been ever given.

How do you have fun during events?
Watching games of Magic (did I already mention that I’m still a passionate fan of the game?) and asking others how their communities are organized. I’ve been able to steal loads of precious hints and techniques that I’ve later used back home over the years.

First Russian PTQ and WMCQ weekend
First Russian PTQ and WMCQ weekend

What is the proudest moment of your Judge life?
Probably the conclusion of my L3 panel. I’d invested a lot of effort over almost two years into preparation and was totally emotionally drained in the end. So yep, I was proud when I made it 🙂

Any additional questions or comment you would like to have on the interview?
May you get as much enjoyment from this game we all love as it has given to me 🙂

…and we definetly have enjoy this interview with you Eugene, thanks for the time and imput you provide for the judge community.

The answer to the last Two Truths and a Lie...

Kevin Despres “I’ve played 7 PTs”.
Although you might have seen him playing in several PTs he has not quite managed his 7th PT… yet. 

Judges don’t forget that you can nominate a Judge anytime, we are always willing to read about awesome Judge moments, nominate a judge TODAY!

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