|2001 Dutch Nationals - HJ Report
The Dutch Nationals were held the 2nd and 3rd of June. Since 1998 Jaap and me have been alternate Head judge for Nationals, this year it was my go. The format was 96 invites for the first day of standard top 48 would go on to day two. In the weeks before the tournament, a lot of players came up to me to ask for a reason why they were doing a cut for day two, and why we had the standard part first. I could only tell them the organizer decided on this and that it made some sense as you now only have the people in contention playing day two. In the days before the tournament I thought about it and decided it made little sense to exclude people on tiebreakers because they still had a realistic chance of making top 8. I called the organizer and we thought about doing 48+ (number 48 and everyone with the same number of points). The organizer pointed out to me that in Barcelona this lead to 96+ being 161 players and he didn't like that idea. He said he would think about it and would make a decision Saturday depending on how many extra people this would mean for day two. This seemed fine then but thinking about it more I knew stuff like this should be announced at the beginning of the tournament.
Saturday morning we discussed it again and we discovered that we only had material for 56 players, we convinced him it would be better to do 48+ so he made a couple of calls and we were ensured of enough material. Nothing big happened day one except for maybe some name players not making day two. During round five we discussed doing the first draft this evening because we would be finished 17.30 now and we had calculated 14 hours of play the next day. After asking some players about it, they all said they needed a break of at least an hour, which meant starting the draft at 19.00. A draft, construction and three rounds of play takes a total of roughly four and a half hours so being finished 23.30 is not an option. Splitting the draft in two also isn't an option as remembering who drafted which cards is a big part of rochester draft. Some players were complaining about the fact that they had made appointments for the evening as the schedule said that we would be finished at 18.00. So we decided to finish early and have a nice dinner and a relaxing evening.
Gijsbert Hoogendijk (with Keith Anderson at Pro Tour Barcelona in May)
Sunday we started at 9.30 with 50 players, so 48+ didn't turn out to be bad (one player dropped so it should have been 51). Draft 1 got a bit ugly after a judge and a player got on the wrong end of each other. They both accused the other of provocative behavior. I had some diplomatic talks with the judge and several players at the table to solve it. This Nationals would be Jaap's last tournament for a while as he is taking a break from judging. So before the second draft Jos Schreurs spoke for the players and thanked Jaap for all the work he has done for the Dutch magic community. In the 11th round we had to give a player a match loss for filling in his decklist incorrectly, when the judge sat him down to tell him what he had done wrong and what the penalty was, he stood up and left. The judge came to me feeling dissatisfied with the way the situation went. I took the player apart and asked him what happened and why he didn't let the judge finish talking. He said he had just interrupted her to tell her he know all that shit before he walked away so he she wouldn't waste time. I tried telling him that this was not the way judges should be treated and he should just listen to them when they tried to explain something. It was not only what he said but it was his whole attitude, which was so offensive that he got on my bad said within a minute. He just kept interrupting me and saying he felt that we just wanted to rub it in. He knew what the penalty was and wanted to be left alone. I was amazed by the player's stubbornness but I left it at that. During this part of the day players started talking about the fact that an article posted earlier that week by Randy Buehler suggested that the top 8 uninvited players would go to Euro's. Comparing this to the invitation policy we had, we found they contradicted each other. We really had no clue if this new policy applied to our nationals but reading it we couldn't say it didn't. Unfortunately we could only tell the players we weren't sure. A lot of players wanted to know, because we had no prizes outside top 8, if it was worth playing the last round. Other then this there were the usual problems with players who wanted to split prizes for concessions so we had to inform them this was illegal, usually they asked if it was legal first, so nothing ugly happened.
Gis overlooking the draft at Grand Prix Amsterdam.
The Top 8 was pretty smooth with a concession in the loser bracket by a player already qualified for worlds to his friend. We finished at 23.30 as we expected but had a great tournament with few surprises. I would like to thank Roel, Henk, Teun, Angelique, Jaap, Jan-Willem and Remco for being an excellent judging crew.
Next year we'll have the limited section day one, so day two won't be as late. Hopefully we'll have stamped cards as well, not a big problem this year (Rochester) but definitely needed if it would be boosterdraft. After doing a couple of GP's I noticed nationals is different in many ways, for starters you get to speak your own language and there are a lot less communication problems, other then that the atmosphere is very nice and relaxed even though the competition is just as fierce. I enjoyed it greatly and am certainly looking forward to next year.