Luckily we were friends on Facebook so it wasn't rocket science to get in touch with him. And he kindly accepted so here I was waiting in a Starbucks coffee-shop from the centre of Bucharest for the man who has brought Romania on the snooker map by being a full-credited international snooker referee.
The first thing that struck me about Alex is his passion for the sport, not just the ref job, but also the sport itself. It's so easy to see how much snooker means for him and how much he's involved into it. He likes to call it "his own personal thing".
I don't even have to ask him things, because this is more than just an interview. It's a conversation between two snooker loopies.
The early years
|In Gloucester, at the 2013 Kay Suzanne Memorial Cup|
"It was actually my mum who properly introduced me to snooker. She got hooked by watching EuroSport and learned all the rules. I remember that once I came home late, I was very tired and she was sitting in the living room watching snooker.
"We started chatting about this and that, while watching snooker and before I knew it I ended up watching the entire match that lasted three hours.
"At that time my mum knew the rules better than me, but with time I managed to get more information in and know the players name, what’s a snooker and so on." says Alex.
Maybe not entirely aware that he was infected with the snooker virus (which causes a beautiful “disease” that never leaves you, if I may say so), Alex started playing snooker and a year later he got the chance to get involved with the Romanian Snooker Federation.
Although he "didn't know even as much as 20% of the rules" he now knows by heart, he was eager to prove a point and to get more involved with this colourful cue sport.
This is getting serious
In 2006 things got official as Alex passed his first international refereeing exam and was now a Class 3 EBSA ref. This helped him to be part of the team that refereed at the 2006 EBSA European Championship held in Romania, at Constanta (three Uni exams remained unattended because of that, but art craves for sacrifices as we all know).
However, two years later all the knowledge that he thought he possessed was challenged by Maxime Cassis (the actual VP of the IBSF and President of EBSA) who held an intensive seminar about snooker (over 9 hours).
|At the 2013 Victoria Bulgarian Open|
"But all that changed when Mr Cassis came and started explaining each rule, taking all the exceptions and all the particularities and possibilities into account. I had no idea it was so complicated!
"Not only did he explain them verbally, but also show us on the table every angle and how we should interpret it."
Since 2014 he is an EBSA Examiner referee (a title that he earned during last year's European U21 Team Championship) and he is "proud to be the first one from South-Eastern Europe".
Because of that and that fact that he is also the President of Referees Committee at the Romanian Snooker Federation, Alex can teach the unknown world of snooker refereeing to any Romanian interested.
Still, before taking part in his classes he likes to sit around with the potential pupils and ask them why they want to get into refereeing.
"I ask them if they watch snooker on a regular basis, either online or on the telly, if they like snooker and if they think they are truly passionate about this sport.
"Because if they aren't, then it's no point to carry on. In this sport, in this job, if you are not passionate about it, you won't succeed.
"Sure, it sounds painfully important to say you are an international snooker ref, but one must keep in mind that besides the work, there's also devotion involved. And if you are doing this just for the job-title, then it's not right and it won't bring you any benefits."
to be continued ...
*all photos are courtesy of Monique Limbos