Worlds was long, exhausting, stressful, and worth every lost hour of sleep. Judges from twenty-three countries attended, led by Sheldon Menery and assisted by Collin Jackson. Collin also demonstrated the WotC exam center (www.dciexam.com) to those in attendance showing them the online reviewing system, translation center, feedback functions, and even administered online judge tests during the week. A judges-only Legacy-format get-to-know tournament (REL 3, unsanctioned, 2 judge system) was played each night for a sponsorship to PT Honolulu, organized by John Shannon. Nine candidates for Regional Judge were tested and interviewed mostly by panels containing David Vogin or three peers over an average of 3 hours each.
Cristiana Dionisio, of Italy, overcame her fear of speaking English (something she’s been working on since Pro Tour Atlanta by watching movies) and impressed her peers with her ability to investigate a difficult situation, her knowledge of the penalties guidelines, and her ability to mentor new judges.
Christian Gawrilowicz, of Austria, pressed through “ancient history” by demonstrating great diplomacy, mentorship, and leadership, not just in his interview, but throughout the event.
Alex Yatsenko, of the Russian Federation, received newfound confidence after demonstrating complete understanding of organized play, mentorship, and rules when he feared his chances to pass. One skilled peer on the panel told me he was the best candidate he personally had interviewed this show – and Russia’s first Regional Judge.
Lindsay Heming, of Australia demonstrated what he learned after failing at PT Nagoya earlier in the year and demonstrated clearer understanding of the ‘why’ behind the rules, and negotiated his way through difficult players to deliver a proper penalty for an poorly defined infraction.
Mark Comey, of Canada had passed his interview earlier in the year but was tested on what he had learned on his rules knowledge. He came to Japan on a vacation with his wife and despite our efforts to convince him otherwise worked several days at Worlds anyhow.
Sung-Dae Eum, of Korea overcame his isolation and English-as-a-third-language (Korean and Japanese being his others) to score the highest test score of the event! His isolation and thus lack of some leadership skills holds him temporarily back from attaining level three, the panel wished to grant him ‘Trainer’ status with the ability to test and mentor a new generation of level one judges in Korea until he is ready to complete his testing for level three.
Doron Singer, of Israel, while not present at Worlds, met the requirements outlined by his panel at Pro Tour Atlanta to attend and report on judging at two Grand Prix, to be advanced to the first Regional Judge of Israel.
The judge-only tournament semi-finalists were Pip Hunn of Tasmania vs Sung-Dae Eum of Korea and Riccardo Tessitori of Italy vs John Shannon of the USA. Pip and John advanced to the finals – pitting a Professional Player and Area Judge against the recent Head Judge of GP Philadelphia (Legacy format) and future HJ of PT Honolulu. While speculation of a concession by John were discussed – John stuck to his philosophy of playing to win, winning the championship – and graciously passing the sponsorship to his opponent. Both will meet again at Pro Tour Honolulu as comrades.
Riccardo Tessitori, passed the rigorous and continuous testing that is a Level Four – International Judge test. Riccardo worked for the last year to build an infrastructure for judges in Italy with the assistance of other Italian senior judges and the Hasbro office in Milan. Though he stumbled along the way, he preserved through diplomacy, leadership, and demonstrated mentorship. He hosts the Italian Judge page, mailing list, and assists the Milan office in educating and organizing the Italian Judge community. Furthermore Riccardo showed his mentorship and leadership at several Grand Prix throughout Europe and attended nearly every Pro Tour in 2005, sometimes with sponsorship – and other times as a volunteer. Riccardo will continue the challenging path of International Judge (you never stop being tested) in 2006 with further Grand Prix and interviewing Regional Judge candidates at some Pro Tour.
Though I have thanked each of the judges at Worlds personally I wish to especially thank:
- The side-event judges sponsored by Takara who filled the hall on Sunday with side-events. We were pleased that so many of them could join with us on Saturday evening.
- Tomoya Nakajima who organized the best setting for a judge dinner in my history.
- Hedley Price of South Africa for accepting the challenge of organizing the judges on Sunday during their downtime and more for providing the thought that is the theme of program in 2006 – Building a Community.
- Hector Fuentes for keeping up the fun.
- Damian Hiller and Kevin Desprez for asking ‘why’.
- Wearn, Lee, Shindo, Jacky, Rafael for interviewing their peers
- Sheldon Menery for his organization, opinions, and leadership at Worlds, for the Judge Program, and to me personally.