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Active vs. Passive Judging

Jan de Vries

Hello , I am Jān de Vries a level 2 judge from the north of Holland. This is the first article I wrote for the Judges site. I hope you enjoy reading this article. The article is about two types of judges I know from the tournament

The Passive Judge

This is a person you might find closely at the judge's table or in a group of fellow judges only to walk to a table when they hear those famous words ( JUUUUDGEE !!! ). They do their job, answer questions, check deck lists and give warnings when necessary. But most of the times that is as far as they go.

The Active Judge

This is the person you see walking around, looking at matches and fixing problems as they happen, cleaning up mess players left behind. One of the few times when you see them sitting down is when the have to check decks, or having lunch.

It is my opinion that active judges make the tournament look more professional - just imagine a referee of a soccer match watching from the sideline. Of course it is not always possible to be an active judge. At local tournaments the judge is also the organizer and scorekeeper which means he often has duties somewhere else.

Active Judging has the following advantages.

  • By walking around and looking at matches you can solve problems as they happen. Because a judge is present at the time the problem happens it can be fixed without giving warnings. Off course some players might feel nervous when a judge is watching their match, either they have something to hide or are afraid that they might make a mistake. In the latter case you can tell them that a judge is present to prevent mistakes.
  • A lot of players don't like "yelling" for a judge for minor rules questions. If you walk around they will ask questions sooner. Because this solves the situation before it actually happens you'll have fewer problems in your tournament (and less warnings).
  • As you walk around you can pick up mess players left behind,put back chairs etc. This keeps the tournament area tight and clean. Even though this is the responsibility of the players we know that that doesn't always happen.
  • If you use result slips you can collect them as you walk around, and when you have a couple bring them to the scorekeeper. This can save you a couple of minutes each round.
  • Even though it's harder then passive judging it is also much more rewarding. At the end of the day you feel that you really did something.

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