|Level 3 Judge Testing (at GP-Frankfurt)
GP Frankfurt was on the 8th to the 9th of April 2000, a 3 man team event.
I was invited well in advance to do judge certification all through the
event. Level 3 primarily. The opportunities are not so many and there is a
6-month waiting period to try again, should you fail. So you better take
your chance seriously if you have it and prepare. I am writing this report
so that applicants get an impression of what I think makes a judge so that
you can better prepare. :)
I left Denmark on the 7th of April. Bringing an extended oracle, (thanks
to Collin J), the A1 test and answer key, the B1 test and answer key,
history and review forms. As I was told that it would be possible to Xerox
on site. I was planning on getting comprehensive rules and nemesis oracle
on site. Usually I would bring this myself but the printer broke down and
I was printing just before I left... Go figure.
I was picked up in the airport by Mario and Bernd from "Amigo Spiel und
Freizeit" the German distributor. Now there's a first for everything. A
really nice and appreciated gesture.
We drove to the site "Stadthalle Offenbach", where we met Felix Huybrechts
OP Manager Europe, Christophe Weyers Core Events Manager and Vicky
Korstanje, Web Marketing Executive. They were setting up the site and
testing everything. We went back to the hotel to check in and get some
When we got back I got all the copying done and was advised to choose a
room out back for the judge interviewing. Now mass judge certification is
a lot of paperwork so it's important to locate a good office-like
I found a VIP restroom out back. Leather sofa/chair, 3 tables, bathroom
with shower and 3 meeting rooms next to it. Whoa! This must be a record...
I went back down and helped set-up while waiting for the judges meeting.
Here all judges candidates were handed out a history form so that we could
get an overview of who was to be tested, recommended by whom etc. We used
this info to better select senior judges and their assigned floor judges.
Carl Crook Organised Play manager UK had shown up meanwhile. He is also
one of the most experienced Head Judges in Europe and a little of a
legacy, tournament record wise. A lot of players and judges hold him in
high regard due to the way he solved some really icky situations
The judges received an excellent handout describe each step of the
tournament and a penalty quick reference.
We finished setting up the site and went to dinner and then bed, we had to
get up awful early next morning. Rogerio Alecrim offered to help also out
of interest for how judge's interviews were conducted by others.
We started calling applicants in for a short talk followed by the written
test. There is always quiet and uneventful until the first candidates have
finished the tests. But this must have been the exception that confirms
the rule. As we were invaded by two stretcher-bearers a doctor and someone
who suffered an epileptic assault.
All right back to business... After the candidates finished their written
tests we send the back to the floor while we either interviewed someone
else or scored their tests. Whenever we finished one I went and got them
for the interview. I started with placing the candidate review form in
front of me and for each point I asked 1-3 questions to get an impression
of how they were. These results scores are estimates and when I wanted
additional info I later on asked or discussed their performance with
either their senior judge or whoever would have additional info.
Integrity is an especially difficult issue to get an impression of in a
short amount of time. But often you can present situations where you ask
if they would disclose information. (Naturally in a more subtle way).
Especially in grey zones where it might be prudent even though it is
technically wrong. Tournament organisation is very easy: ask them what
bits and peaces they would bring or take care of if they were in charge of
an tournament and you will in no time get an impression of how solid their
background is. Regarding consistency I find it easiest to, at different
points in the interview, present slightly similar situations and see if
they choose the same penalty and/or infraction. Lastly I try to find out
how they act as a judge when in the field. One thinks he knows the right
infraction, penalty or rule. Another is how you interact with the players
and your fellow judges. The impression a player gets that made an error or
was caught on the wrong foot with a rule he didn't quite know. You also
have to bear in mind that we deal with kids. And you can really scar
someone if you hurt his or her sense of justice however wrong that is. So
an estimation of how the judge deals in emotional/stressful situations is
always nice to know. Or how the candidate interacts with fellow judges
when either he or they are wrong. Does he treat his/hers peers even with
respect? How does he/she act when fellow judges questions his/her rulings?
Communication is typically the sum of the interview as a whole.
Then I quickly go through the various points that has to be included in
the review and look through the history form if there should be something
I would like the candidate to elaborate on.
It could be that a candidate pursues a judge level for the wrong reasons.
i.e. "I'm a player and I would like to pass to level one so that I can
get access to the judge conferences, so I can learn how to better abuse
the rules without crossing the line". It's also interesting to see if the
candidates have a sense of reality. i.e. does he have any idea what his
Now this was what I did for level 1 and 2 candidates if I have the time.
If you're scheduled for a level 3 interview you're standing at the door to
a different world.
You have to really know the rules. The questions in the test are so
numerous that it does you no good to dive into judge conferences for
months in a row. What you need to do is really read the comprehensive
rules thoroughly. In my view all candidates that have focused on either
rulings galore or D'Angelos do a lot worse that those that keep their
focus on comprehensive rules. I cannot emphasise it enough. Read the
After that you should know the floor rules real well. We can ask you about
anything. Ban or restriction list formats. What sets is included in
formats. So floor rules is required reading too.
In my experience, penalty guidelines is also something where a lot of
candidates knowledge is to shallow. They either don't know the names of
the infractions or have no idea about what to do if it isn't something
that happens often in a tournament.
When somebody is up for a level 3 interview usually you have a lot of time
to judge with the candidate and see him out. This wasn't the case here. So
I had to some degree to base my evaluation on external advice in addition
to what I see as the actual level 3 interview. Remember that the candidate
has already been through all of the above. I give the candidate three
non-straightforward rules questions. As much to evaluate the candidate's
thought process and get an idea if they guess out from their intuition or
are working towards the right answer slowly or something completely
different. Based on how and the candidate answers, I may ask additional
questions to probe deeper into an area or to get the candidate to expand
on something they brought up themselves of which I do not see the
relevance. This is a great supplement because you can find out how the
judge works in the field, and because it tells a lot about the candidate's
grasp of the rules.
Lastly I do three role-playing situations with the candidate. I prefer by
far to have a secondary to interact. The livelier the better. These will
be situations were nobody is on firm ground. Prepare to get anything you
say or believe questioned. Prepare for situations where there is no one
answer. It is here that you will demonstrate that you can control and
solve situations when you're not prepared or won't know the answer by
heart. Where you will leave the players smiling happily with how you
solved the situation thinking that they got a slap over the wrist but they
deserved it. That you are on top even when players keep questioning your
rulings and 500 others are waiting for next round to begin.
That you don't lack the broad view of things when Jeff Donais in the role
of some player asks you a rule questions simply to make you waste time on
At the end of Sunday we had processed all candidates. We offered follow-up
for all that did not pass. In other ways they could come back and we would
go through their errors and explain why they was wrong and what the right
answer was. And when we finished, we offered the same for those that
PS: Bear in mind that a judge test can be lengthy. One judge spends 2
hours on the written test. 2.5 on the 1st and 2nd part of the interview
and then 1/2 hour on follow up. So remember to eat and drink in advance.