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The First Victory

By Kim Eikefet

The European Championship saw 19 year old Noah Boeken from Amsterdam, the Netherlands make his first ever top 8 performance. But he didn't just stop there, instead he went all the way to take home the title and 11,500 dollars. "It feels great. Finally I made a top 8, I've been close two times," he grins.

In 1997 Pro Tour Chicago, Boeken finished 15th, and in Pro Tour Mainz he finished 32nd. His best results have come this season, though. First, he placed third in Grand Prix Copenhagen, and now, he has added a title to his list of merits. After an exiting final match against Raphaël Levy that went to five full games, Noah could raise the trophy over his head as the 2000 European Champion. "The finals were great," Noah says. "It was a lot of fun to play Levy, and it was too bad for him that he made some mistakes, he got good draws. He should have won 3-2."

Noah wasn't nervous before the finals, even though he would have to play in front of the camera. A new wrinkle this year was that the cameras wouldn't show the players' hands, and thus the audience was allowed to cheer. So if a player made a key play or a major mistake, he would definitely get to hear it. Raphaël Levy heard it when he made a mistake in the final match. In order to get to untap his lands, he faded them out and then tried to fade out his Parallax Tide. The problem was that he didn't have an Opalescence in play... Both Noah and Levy got a good laugh out of it, but it probably cost Levy the victory.

The young Dutchman had a good weekend in Paris. He cruised through the draft, finishing at an impressive 6-0 record. Then he went 4-2 in the draft to get into the top 8 as the first seed. And finally, he won the whole thing. "I had expected to do really well, because I know what I can do. I can beat everybody. Actually I told some people that I was gonna win this whole thing," he reveals.

Now, he'll go back to Amsterdam to party. A lot of players are going to Amsterdam to visit him before Worlds, and he is looking forward to that. He is also qualified for Pro Tour Chicago, and if his streak continues, one may easily find him high up on the standings there as well. But Noah doesn't really have a Magic dream. "Of course I'd like to be the World Champion, but that's what everybody will say. My goal is just to have fun at the Pro Tours and get high finishes."



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