|2001 GP Turin - HJ Report
Ilja Rotelli from the Italian office had asked me to Head Judge GP Turin and, as I was still free that weekend, I told him I could. We met at PT Barcelona and talked things through there. We thought we had covered everything important, but in the end there were apparently some things we missed. The website didn't have any information until 10 days before the actual event. Then there was this problem with the sealed decks, more on that later.
Arriving in Turin and getting to the site went smoothly, but when I saw the site it was a bit of a disappointment. After the great sites we had in Prague and Moscow I guess I just got used to nice places. It took me awhile to find an entrance but finally saw an open door. The site was a basketball arena and unfortunately all those empty stands don't make for a nice atmosphere in my opinion. The people from WotC Italy were busy with the setup. I helped them out a bit and talked with some of the players and judges. Around 7.00 p.m. I asked Ilja if they had registered the sealed decks. I don't know why I asked but it was a valid question, as they hadn't. I explained everything to him and got every staff member and judge to help with registering. We did a lot that evening but still had some work left in the morning. We would do a deck swap the first sealed deck and have the rest of the decks registered before the 2nd sealed deck. In the end it all worked out and the players were happy they didn't have to register again. It saved us about 45 minutes in the end.
Italy's Davide Bitetto poses with head judge Gijsbert Hoogendijk.
During the first deck construction, a team had three Invasion commons listed 3 times, it was weird but it could happen so we told them it was ok. Then a couple of minutes later, the same team called a judge over again. One of the Planeswalker's enchantments got misregistered as well, they had the red one physically but the green one was listed. Not only was the wrong card listed, the physical card was played! I really mean played, it had some spots and dirt on it, which you only get after a full day of play. We handed them a new sealed deck and gave them extra time. When we looked at the master decklist the registering team wasn't listed, so we went on the search for the team that hadn't registered a deck. Finally in the early stages of the second round we found out which team it was and stopped their match. It was an Italian team so I needed an interpreter for the interview. Luckily Davide Bitetto helped me out. It took us very long to get them to understand that they did something wrong and according to them this is how they found the card in the booster. In the end I decided to give them a match loss. I wasn't sure enough they had cheated, though it was very suspicious. I will write an article about this kind of interview soon. They are probably one of the hardest things you can face as a judge.
There were a few other problems during the rounds with the first sealed deck, but nothing worth writing about. After round 3 we handed out the decks we had registered with the judges and got some cheers from the players. When time was called, we went to the teams still registering their decks and got them to hand in their lists. One of the teams was the team we gave a match loss earlier, when a judge arrived at the table to collect there lists, they handed in only three. When we asked where the master decklist was, they searched for a bit and then claimed: "Our opponents took it!" We first explained them that the team sitting at the other end of the table during deck construction was not there opponent, and further that after the first incident this was just too much and I disqualified them. The rest of day 1 went without any major incidents. I announced we would start the first round draft at 8.00 am.
So 19 teams were present at 8, even 8.05 only 19 were there. The team sitting alone asked me if their opponents would get a match loss. I confirmed this and started the draft. I didn't get far with it because some players kept asking me rules questions. I answered them but told them to hold the rest for after the draft. They were clearly just doing this to stall the start of the draft, to give the late team some extra time. So when we were opening pack one, team 20 arrived. I went over to them, to inform them they received a match loss for tardiness, because they were not here when the draft started. Of course they started arguing, and had some good points. Apparently they hadn't heard the announcement about the start of the draft. Their last round on Saturday was a feature match so when they were finished they wanted to go home and asked the sideboard report what time the draft would start the next morning his response was: "I don't know for sure, you should check the website." On the website it said 8.30, and they were on time according to that schedule. I talked to their opponents and said that I was going to let them play. They complained a little but in the end they were ok with it.
Deckbuilding at GP Turin.
The drafts all went reasonably well, although the judges I had available for my "side-event" were decreasing all the time. It felt like a side-event because it was the Apocalypse prerelease weekend so there were these 20 teams playing and then this large prerelease as well. I had about five judges available for the main event but in the end I just had one left. We managed though, it was no real problem the others just had to go or needed to help out with side-events.
During the finals, I might have been too lenient on two players from one of the teams. They were being very unsportsmanlike towards each other. Everybody was amusing themselves to see these "kids" have a go at each other. It would have been better if I had stopped them early, but this way at had some amusement value. Maybe not the kind that is good for the game though.
All in all it was a great tournament that had some problems, but it was the first time WotC Italy organized an event as large as a Grand Prix. In the end they learned a lot and so did I.
Thanx for reading,
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