Riccardo Tessitori

Hello, everyone! This time around, we bring you one of the most prominent members of our judge family. If it has to do with judging, Riccardo Tessitori has probably done it. And in keeping with his playful nature, he’s taking a different approach than most of our Judges of the Week: he’s answering many of our questions first in a playful way, and then with a serious answer. Let’s get to it!

Name: Riccardo Tessitori
Level: 3 (former L5)
Location: Latina,  Italy, a small town on the coast between Rome and Naples
Judge start date: October 2001
Why did you become a Judge? I can tell you at the same time why I started and why I continue; read it HERE
Occupation: Translator from English into Italian, event manager… and physics/mathematics/chemistry teacher as a hobby!
Favourite card: Lightning Angel
Least favourite card: Stasis, I played against it once and it was very frustrating
Favourite format: Draft
Commander General: Sorry, I don’t play Commander.
Favourite non-Magic Game: Escape Rooms, by far my favorite game since the day Dustin de Leeuw made me discover such treasure!
Best tournament result: I played one Pro Tour (Yokohama 2003), where it seems that I ended up in a quite interesting pod (http://magic.wizards.com/en/articles/archive/event-coverage/draft-2-dirk-baberowski-and-gary-wise-2003-05-09)
Random fact about yourself: My father once told me that, if I were born a girl, my name would have been “Bianca,” which means “White.”

What’s it like being one of the more prominent judges in the program?
It’s a great honor and also a great responsibility. One of my main goals as a judge is to give my contribution to a system that is bigger than me, a system made of hundreds of passionate, skilled and kind people who share my same desire.

I would like to offer you a deeper insight about part of my role in the Magic judge community, the part of head judge of professional event (http://blogs.magicjudges.org/riccardotessitori/2016/12/01/worlds-and-what-you-need-to-be-the-head-judge-of-a-professional-event/).

Below, I will try to also give you a few pieces of information about what I do outside events and what type of person I am.
Click here for the real answer!

When I was young and adults were asking “What do you want to do when you grow up?” my answer was OF COURSE “I want to be an emperor!”

The dream has come true!

How has life changed for you, if at all, now that there are no longer Level 4s and 5s?
There have been no changes at all.

People who esteem us do it for who we are, what we have achieved in the past, what we keep doing and for the impact we have on others and on the system; that number next to our name was a simplified measurement of our impact, while now what remains is our reputation.

I try every day to be the best person I can, I am very proud of my successes and, I don’t hide it. Part of me still considers myself a “Level 5,” so I try to live up to my own expectations for it.

I saw with great interest the removal of level 4 and level 5 from a social point of view (by “social,” I mean “mass psychology”); it’s an interesting outcome of the current environment, not just the Magic environment, but the global (Western, or American) society.
Click here for the real answer!

What do you mean with “now that there are no longer L5s and L4s”? Did I sleep so long?!?!?

Over the years, you have written a lot of articles about Magic. Where do you get your ideas?
I didn’t keep track of all of them, but a very quick estimation says 150. Indeed, they are many more than I thought!

Have you ever heard me saying that “travelling is living”?

Travelling doesn’t mean seeing different landscapes. That is just the surface; travelling means meeting different people, discovering different ways of living, experiencing different emotions.

If your attitude is to try to experience new emotions every day, you will always find a lot of topics to write and talk about.

Approximately every year, I change the focus of my articles; there have been many articles about rules, about decks, about holidays… Currently, I am focusing my articles on tournament procedures, the next focus will be about infractions and penalties, but it’s my intention to always keep a section about travels in each article, and from time to time add an article that has nothing to do with Magic (http://blogs.magicjudges.org/riccardotessitori/2015/07/01/priorities-and-choices/).
Click here for the real answer!

I pretend that I know a thing or two about Magic tournaments, but the truth is that I just go for the cakes and the parties!

What are some of the projects that you are involved in?
I am currently keeping myself quite busy, though I guess that most of my projects are not visible, as they are dedicated to L3s or other subgroups.

For the GP head judges, in 2017 I started writing summaries of the conversations we have on our mailing list, also doing my best to make sure that all of them come to a conclusion and eventually to a concrete result like a document or an article.

For the L3s, in the autumn of 2015 I started what is now called “Leadership meetings,” which are L3 meetings at the end of Grand Prix and Pro Tour events, focused on what we would like to happen in the Judge Program, with concrete action items that have a follow-up, shared with all other L3s.

For Grand Prix TOs, in 2011 I started creating the personalized decklists; have you ever noticed that the decklists used at GPs have logos, a few words in bold and a few different boxes?

For Italy, in the autumn of 2016 I started taking care of the “Recognitions” area, with a few projects to highlight our best successes.
Click here for the real answer!

The only real judge project I care about is the Fabulous Escape Room Worldwide Magic Judge project!

Tell us your favourite judge story.
A funny, judge-related story happened a few years ago in a Grand Prix. I was in the deck check team and I had to find a table where players were shuffling for game 2.

It was about 10 minutes in the round and I saw two players shuffling; I waited; when they presented their decks, I went to them and I told them that they had been chosen at random for a deck check.

They looked at me surprised and said “Again?”; it was approximately round five, and I told them “Yes, it can happen that you receive more than one deck check in the day”.

They smiled and said “No, we mean, AGAIN THIS ROUND?” :O

A more serious story, which would need many days to be told, is about how much my life changed since when I started travelling outside my country first and to other continents now.

If you want to know this fantastic story, I have only one piece of advice: you should travel, and you should keep your mind open to other cultures; that’s the best way to find real treasures and live an extraordinary life.
Click here for the real answer!

CENSORED! This content is not available in your area due to excessively immoral and sexual elements. Sorry, try asking face to face 😉

How did you get involved in Magic in the first place?
My best friend (who was actually born on my same day, same month, same year!) moved when we were 16, after two years at high school together.

I went to his region regularly, and one of his friends made us try a new game; after dinner together, we were four people seated at a table and he went to get a box of shoes, where he was keeping these very weird cards; I vaguely remember Slivers, dual lands… and great evenings with friends.

A very important aspect that I want to highlight is that, until I went to the first tournaments, there was no “mana flood” or “mana screw” concepts; we were enjoying our time together, in a way that was totally independent from the cards we were drawing.
Click here for the real answer!

I can barely remember what I had for breakfast… are you really asking about something that happened more than 15 years ago?!?

How has being a judge influenced your non-Magic life?
Judging Magic has been a big part of my life for several years, as I have been dedicating about half of my weekends to events.

In addition to simply counting the time I invest in the game, and the fact that my two current jobs are related to Magic and judging, I can say that the variety of experiences (both personal and professional) that I could live has been exceptional.

On the professional side, I proudly introduce myself as a person who is able to act as event management advisor in an international environment; one of my favorite examples is an event with a staff of more than 100 people from more than 10 countries, with 4000 participants (GP Chiba 2015).

On the personal side, I could discover Asia (thanks to judging, I’ve been 22 times to Japan and 18 times in the rest of Asia), which had an impact on how I view life that I consider equivalent to changing religion!
Click here for the real answer!

Judging helped me grow, it made me feed an adult…

What is one tip you have for other judges?
Life is a journey, and we should make each of our days worth.

Each experience is potentially wonderful, but it’s our responsibility to make each of them great.

Passion for what we do and a personal connection with the other people we meet are the key to a wonderful journey.

Let’s be proud of what we do, and, at the same time, let’s always look for ways to improve.
Click here for the real answer!

Magic judges must be serious at all times!

What is your favourite non-judging moment that happened with other judges?
What a difficult question! I believe that there are so many that it would be impossible for me to choose just one.

I wrote an article which is a recap of 2016  and it starts with a non-judging adventure, I believe that I will go with that.

2016 started with a holiday in Jordan, together with my friend Matteo Callegari.

Two episodes were quite special, and they were very different.

One was a 24 hours trip to the Wadi Rum desert; it was an enlightening adventure, which it’s impossible to describe with words (https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10208180733930214); probably one of the most intense experiences of my life.

The second one was less focused on finding the “real me” and the inner equilibrium; it was… how to say it with simple words… “surviving a riot”?

Yes, we found ourselves in a town where the people were preparing a riot!

It was 2016 New Year’s Eve and the city was Petra, famous for one of the Seven Wonders (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wonders_of_the_World); people were preparing fire and stone barricades, army was assembling anti-riot vehicles… and we were in the middle of it.

Of course, we got quite scared and we paid attention to avoid the hottest places and moments, but it was also very exciting and we went close to being occasional journalists (David de la Iglesia was on shift at Al Jazeera that night and we shot some videos from Petra to send to him… unfortunately only the next morning).

Well, yes, indeed a very good candidate for the “favorite moment”!!!
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New Year’s Eve party!

What was the toughest Magic event that you’ve judged, and how did you deal with it?
I have already mentioned Grand Prix Chiba 2015, the Modern Masters one, was much bigger than any other event I had judged before.

Here (http://blogs.magicjudges.org/riccardotessitori/2015/06/01/big-in-japan-2/) you can read about how it made me feel.
Click here for the real answer!

I didn’t expect THIS!

If you could chat with one person, real or fictional, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

In a period of history with significant difficulties in the western world about the relationship with the Islamic world, my openness to the different cultures makes the choice very clear (the alternatives would have been Buddha, Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King).

I’m fascinated by the other religions and philosophies and I believe that almost, if not all, that westerners hear about the Islamic world is severely distorted.

The prophet of Islam would surely be the person I would choose for a very interesting conversation.
Click here for the real answer!

I would surely like to have a chat with one my ancestors, Sherlock Tessitori!

What was the proudest moment of your judge life?
Initially, I thought about my conversation with Patrick Chapin at Pro Tour Dragons of Tarkir (http://blogs.magicjudges.org/riccardotessitori/2015/05/01/let-there-be-dragons-and-judges-on-camera/), which can be a very good example of interaction with a very famous player under the eyes of the cameras.

(note: if you read the article, know that the rules about not revealing cards have changed significantly!)

Then, another situation came to my mind, but very few people know about it and I need to keep the story generic.

It was a Grand Prix some years ago; one player and one judge argued and were accusing each other of being offensive and disrespectful.

I spoke with both and I succeeded in calming down the quite angry player (to the point that he was so happy that he even offered me to show me around, after the end of the event!).

All seemed normal (because it happened several times in all these years), until the moment a local judge came to me, asking how the situation was, and adding something like “Good, I wouldn’t have been surprised if he had the judge beaten outside; he’s a member of the local mob”.


Yes, it’s important to treat everybody with respect and with a smile, even when part of the talk is “I want to be friendly to you, but it’s necessary that you are friendly to me and to my staff; I think we both win with this approach; do you think we can make this deal, you and me?”.

Dealing with everybody with honor and kindness is important… but please, next time you see me handling a heated situation with a person who is potentially dangerous, I will appreciate if you tell me earlier ^__^

When we meet at a tournament, ask me to tell you how, without knowing who he was, I became friend with one of the main drug dealers of my town, when I was 18 ^__^
Click here for the real answer!

This is easy! It was when I succeeded in playing landboxes-Jenga!

What character in Magic (real or fictional) represents you the best, and why?
If you are familiar with how the colors are associated to the different aspects of the personality, and if you also know me, I believe you will agree with me that my color is red, a very intense red!

I will choose to be represented by Chandra; I’m hot headed and impulsive, just like her, and we have the same tendency of getting easily into trouble… but both of us have a good heart 😉

What did I mention about my “alternative” name at the beginning of the article…? I don’t remember 😉
Editors Note: Riccardo did not have a light-hearted response to this question.

The answer to the last Two Truths and a Lie...
Lyle Dixon did not win the only Yu-gi-oh! tournament he ever played in. He actually only came in second, with 40 cards he bought in the dollar box before the tournament started.

If there is a judge who is also doing something exemplary, please nominate a judge TODAY!

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