Following on from Michal's win to become the first ever Bridge Olympic eSports Week International Champion, he's only gone and done it again! He's just secured a Silver Medal in the World Team Transnational Championships.
My dream was to win a medal at the World Championships and after years of training I won silver 🙂— Michal Wróbel
Winding back a few months we interviewed Michal after his Olympic eSports win, and you can catch up on that here. Coming out on top brought with it a wonderful prize - a trip to play in the World Championships in Marrakech. Boy, did Michal make it a worthwhile trip!
Jérôme Rombaut caught up with Michal after the win to ask him a few questions. It's a lovely interview as Michal gives us a feel for the World Championship experience and a nice insight into how he managed to pull off another great result.
Could you tell us more about yourself ?
My name is Michal Wróbel and I am 36 years old. I was born in the small town of Swidnik, and now I live in Warsaw, the capital of my country.
I have been playing bridge for more than 20 years, the passion for playing cards was passed on to me by my grandfather, who was a book collector. In the beginning, bridge was my love and hobby, but for a few years I started to develop my skills very strongly in order to fulfill my dreams of winning medals. This year I managed to win both the Polish Team Championship with my team Eskom Warsaw, and now together with the Slow Horses team after an amazing story we bring back the silver medal of the Transnational Team Championships.
In addition to playing, I'm also an active coach of the Polish national under-21 team and I'm involved in training youth and adults all over the country, which makes me very happy because people are playing better and better, and there are more and more players coming to our association all the time.
How did the online qualifications go to win this wonderful trip?
I played a series of elimination tournaments on the BBO platform as part of e-sports week, you had to play a minimum of 5 tournaments and get an average score of 55%+. More than 5,000 players from all over the world took part in the qualifiers, eager to win and win the prize (a trip to the World Championships in Marrakech) was a lot. After the preliminaries I got a score around 81% and took third place.
In the finals of the event itself there were almost two and a half thousand players, the level was much higher and when I played my tournaments in the final tournament and got a score of 74% I thought I would not win. The next day I received the news that I became the best player of the event and I can't describe the happiness I felt.
Did you decide to come to Marrakech as a result of your victory or it was already planned?
I decided to come to Marrakech only after the victory, because I did not have the opportunity to come there with my own funds. And, in fact, it was thanks to my friend Maciej Hutyra, who invited me to join the Polish Slow Horses team, in which there were already four players willing to join. I would also like to thank my other colleagues for trusting me and accepting me into the team, as I acted as the fifth player to support the two regular pairs when someone would be tired.
How often do you play, online or live?
I play live bridge almost every week, because there are a lot of competitions in Poland. I also play online bridge almost every day because I teach courses and online training. I also train with my bridge partner.
How did you train before the championships?
I trained on online bidding tables, I played with my Marrakech Partners in heavily attended live tournaments in Poland, we also did a lot of bridge analysis.
What result were you expecting?
Coming to the World Team Transnational Championships, I wanted to play my best for my team and myself. I didn't set any expectations for the result, I thought it was realistic to advance to the top 32 teams, and then every day could bring something new and surprising 🙂
I achieved with my Partner in Marrakech the best butler after the elimination round, which made me very happy and gave me confidence that we can go far in this championship together.
How did the week go in general?
My bridge week consists of a full day's play and an evening's rest with the team at dinner, although even there we happened to analyze hands to make it even better in the next game. I didn't have much time for sightseeing, as we made it all the way to the World Championship finals 🙂
What impressions were you left with from the event?
I was hugely impressed by the organization of the entire championship and the hall in which we played. Conditions for the game were excellent, the atmosphere at the championship was fantastic. Of course, I was impressed once again by Michal Klukowski, Jacek Kalita, Michal Nowosadzki and the entire team from Switzerland, who once again showed incredible power, skills at the highest level and physical and mental resilience playing so many days.
Could you tell us about the other members of your team ?
My team is a mix of routine and experience, and young and very ambitious players. My partners, Jeremi Stępiński (captain of our team) and Dariusz Kowalski with whom I played are very titled players both in Poland and abroad, Tomasz Sielicki is a titled bridge player with titles of Polish champion and a chess player who successfully combines both passions and analyzes very much and carefully, and Maciej Hutyra is a player of the extraclass team, winner of many medals of the Polish Champion, many times he was already close to winning a medal at an international event in the mixed team, and now we managed to win silver together
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
I wanted to tell all bridge players in the world that it is worth training and developing your passion for bridge, because if you want very much, you can achieve success and you should not give up after a few failed attempts. My dream was to win a medal at the World Championships and after years of training I won silver 🙂