by Kim Eikefet
Jon Finkel has won a Pro Tour. He has been the Pro Tour Player of the Year. He has been the World Team Champion. He is the current U.S. National Champion. And at the 2000 World Championship in Brussels, Belgium, he reached the ultimate top by becoming the World Champion. Few people dispute that Finkel is the best player in the world. Is there anything more that he can possibly accomplish to make his career more impressive? "I haven't won an Invitational," Finkel says, but adds that he'd rather win another Pro Tour.
The final day of Worlds 2000 was a rather tough day for the 22 year old player from New Jersey, USA. First, he played quarterfinals and semifinals in the individual tournament. Then he faced off against Ryan Fuller not only once, but twice because USA and Canada were tied 2-2 after the normal round of play. And finally, Jon played Bob Maher, Jr. in a very exciting finals that went to five full games. More impressive, probably, is that Jon actually won all his matches. Not once did he lose his concentration.
"I wanna win, so I just pay attention," Jon explains. But as usual, he didn't expect to do this well. Jon likes making up percentages to explain his expectations, and for this tournament, he figured that his chances of making top 8 were about 30 percent. Still, most of the players who were asked about it picked Jon Finkel as the winner.
"I've had a very good summer," Jon admits. "I've played good decks, I'm in a decent Magic shape and I've got good people to game with. The cards have come my way." For some time, Jon playtested very little, but before the U.S. Nationals this year, he got back into the game and playtested a lot. He didn't playtest that much for Worlds, but he had a really good Standard deck that gave him a really good start. Ten rounds into the event, Finkel was 9-1 after his last opponent missed a play and conceded even though he could have won. "I really did well throughout the tournament, but that was my best moment," Jon thinks.
After playing 'sun up, sun down' for five days, Jon Finkel is a bit tired of Magic. "I get tired all the time, but I am around friends and there is other stuff to it," he says. Besides, everybody likes to win, and Finkel is not an exception. Having become the World Champion, he knows that he won't be able to follow up the performance in his next tournament even though people expect a lot from him. "I'll just try not to suck," he smiles, but adds that he will do his best to be on top of his game.
Of the eight top 8 players, Finkel was the only one that really dressed up for the finals. He came to the site wearing a dark blue shirt, black trousers and a tie, and he looked really good - in fact, he was dressed like a winner. "I like to look nice on TV," Finkel says. "I guess If you want to be a champion, you should act like, dress like and be like a champion."