First of all, I would like to congratulate the organizing team for a
very well planned APAC Championships 2000. It was great to see the
whole event run smoothly without any big problems, and everyone
enjoying themselves, including the judges!
The APAC Championships in Hong Kong was a truly great experience for
me. For about 3 days I was able to work with judges from all over the
world, and the interaction was a great example of teamwork and team
spirit. I was also happy to be able to work under Mark Brown again, the
senior judge whom I got my Level 1 certification through in November
1999. Being able to also get my Level 2 under him during this event
was a great feeling!
One of my experiences at this event involves handling people. I admire
the way one of the senior judges, James, handled a fellow judge's
behaviour. This judge, whom I shall call A, has a habit of interrupting
people in midconversation, among other things. His behaviour was a
source of great annoyance to those he worked with. Where most people
would just avoid him, James was one who sought to help him improve and
be a better person. He was tactful and considerate in the way he
pointed out A's flaw and advised him on how to improve himself. From
watching the way James handled that situation, I have been motivated to
improve my own people-handling skills.
Working at the event, I have realized that I need to be more thorough
in my understanding of the penalty guidelines, mainly in its philosophy
and how to apply it. This came about when I was unable to see that a
player was deliberately playing slowly after winning the first game
when time was running out. The player who was affected complained to me
after the match in the presence of the Head Judge, Chris Zantides and
also my senior judge, Mark Brown. I didn't think the player was
stalling. However, after talking to the Chris and Mark, and in
hindsight, I have changed my opinion. I now realize I need to be able
to use my judgment better to spot situations like this, although I take
heart in the Chris' comment that calling a slow play/stalling situation
is very hard.
I feel that one of the things that need to be improved in tournaments
that have an international attendance is that players should be
required to communicate clearly the relevant phases of their turn. This
came up in a match between a Japanese player (A) and a Malaysian player
Throughout the game that I was watching, both players frequently used a
short hand wave to indicate their end of turn. A was playing Replenish
while B was playing Accelerated/Control Blue, and the incident occurred
in the dying minutes of the match (game 2) with B having won the first
game and in control of the second. A was on low life and had an
Opalessence and no other global enchantments, while B had a Masticore
that was attacking every turn with lots of lands available.
It was A's turn and he played Attunement, which B allowed. A then
gestured and B thought that signaled him ending his turn. B then
activated Masticore's ability to kill the Attunement. A responded by
using Attunement. After drawing and discarding, A then cast a Parallax
Wave. This is where the dispute began. Looking at the match, I thought
that A also indicated ending his turn. However, A explained to Ron
Foster (a senior judge from Japan) that he was only asking whether B
was going to counter the Attunement, not indicating that it was end of
turn. B disputed that and said that A had indicated ending his turn.
Ron ruled that it was a miscommunication and so allowed A to continue
with his main phase. This created a significant disadvantage for B as
he did not have enough mana left to kill the Parallax Wave. With the
Wave in play, A removed the Masticore and proceeded to win the game
from there on. As such, the match ended in a draw. Listening to the
background talk, it was clear that many spectators felt that the ruling
was unfair to B as he was about to win.
Talking to Ron, I understand the reason for his ruling. And the
miscommunication could truly have been the case. However there is the
possibility that A could have used language barriers as a means of
gaining unfair advantage. He could bend situations to his advantage
using 'language' problems just as in the situation above. I can foresee
this being a method of cheating, and it is almost impossible to catch.
How about requiring players to clearly state phases and steps, i.e.
draw, attack, end etc. so that such situations do not arise? The
concern is mainly with the end step as many players with and without
language barriers use hand gestures to indicate ending their turn.
Perhaps this requirement should be added to the tournament rules?
Well, that's about all that I have to report regarding my experiences
and happenings throughout the APAC Championships. Being able to work
with an international selection of players and judges was a great
experience, and one that I hope to take part in again in the future.
Level 1 Judge (going to Level 2!)