There are six, six wonderful ones. Young Polish bridge players returned from the Junior World Team Championships under 16 held in Veldhoven, Netherlands, with a gold medal. Why did they choose this sport instead of chasing the ball on the football, volleyball or basketball pitch? Young heroes have their say:


– Good morning, my name is Milena Klimiuk, I am 14 years old, I am an eighth-grade student of Primary School No. 1 in Skalina. My passion is bridge. – Good morning, my name is Kacper Kisielewski, I go to the 6th Secondary School in Krakow, international profile, I was born in 2009, bridge is my favorite sport. Both Milena and Kacper are bridge world champions in the junior category up to 16 years of age. Together with them – and it should be emphasized – in the golden team were also Jakub Michalski, Aleks Bukat, Szymon Grabala and Jan Łuczeczko. Marcin Kuflowski, coach of the champions, explains: “They don’t need to be encouraged to play the game themselves, because they caught the bug very quickly. However, I encourage them to take part in more difficult, more tedious, but necessary elements, i.e. solving bridge tasks and puzzles, reading bridge books where new techniques are described, and – let’s say – working independently, within four walls.”


Milena Klimiuk

So the basic, simplest question – why bridge? Why not football, not volleyball, basketball or skiing, cross-country or downhill, whatever? Milena: – I took my first classes when I was 10 years old. I got there because the coach’s wife found out that I had mathematical skills and that I took part in various mathematical competitions and olympiads. I really liked it, from the beginning. So much so that I didn’t want to hear about any other sport anymore. What did I like? I don’t know, I don’t remember, it was a long time ago, four years ago. Is she good at math? – Yes, I guess so, thanks to the fact that I play bridge, I think.

So does mathematics help in bridge or does bridge help in mathematics?

I think it works both ways. It complements itself. I like both mathematics and bridge. Kacper: – I played football, but I didn’t feel good on the pitch. I like sports and I really wanted to try something different. My mother’s friend played bridge and recommended us a club in Skawina, near Krakow. He attended his first training session a little earlier, as a nine-year-old. And he stayed, he couldn’t imagine missing bridge in his life. – I liked the fact that bridge is a mental sport, like chess. I play other sports, such as tennis, volleyball and swimming, but I have always felt more cerebral somehow. Bridge is a hit because it is a game in which you have to count your opponents’ cards. It consists of two stages, at the beginning there is an auction in which a given contract is selected. You bid in pairs, i.e. me with my partner and two opponents. We choose the optimal one and the next phase of the game begins, i.e. – depending on whether we won or lost the auction – we play or defend. Yes, math definitely helps with all of this.

Favorite subject? I don’t really have a favorite, none of them are too difficult for me. Books by Remigiusz Mróz, why not? How does a bridge player train? How much time does he devote to training – daily, weekly? Is – as in every sport – important is talent, the divine spark, but also the arduous work that supports it? Kacper: – It all depends on what you want to achieve. Every day you can do nothing about it, just come to training. And it is known that it is also worth training individually, and for me bridge is about individual work on yourself. I analyze, learn from mistakes, read bridge books. There are a lot of them, there is a lot of information in them. Are there other books? – Yes, I like science fiction very much. Or those on serious topics, usually historical ones, preferably from the period of World War II. Milena also trains both in the club and individually, of course. In the club – twice a week, for an hour and a half. Plus camps where there is a lot of bridge, often outdoors, among nature. It’s very nice then. Books? Of course, yes, for relaxation, those with lighter themes, including those by Remigiusz Mróz, why not?



To become a high jumper, you need to be tall and slim. A basketball player – tall, muscular and strong. What to do to become a bridge player? – Everyone can play bridge – Milena and Kacper say in unison. She: – Everyone can achieve a high level, provided they try hard. Yes, even someone who is not good at math. The most important thing is willingness and perseverance. He: – A strict mind helps, that’s for sure. Some mental predisposition, getting used to this game, falling in love with it. And the obvious, like talent and hard work. Okay, what next? Do they want to become professional bridge players? You can get away with it hold? Milena: – I would love to. You can make a living from it, but it’s very difficult to get to that level. This is available to only outstanding bridge players. If not bridge, then what? – My favorite subject is not mathematics, but biology. And I’m thinking about becoming a doctor. Kacper: – If I had the chance, it’s clear that I would like to play bridge professionally. It’s a dream. Unless? I have a problem with this for now, I don’t know what to choose.

The rules of the championship are explained by coach Marcin Kuflowski: “The team consists of six people, i.e. three pairs. For us, these were the pairs Kacper Kisielewski – Jakub Michalski, Milena Klimiuk – Aleks Bukat, Szymon Grabala – Jan Łuczeczko. Two pairs play, one pair rests in each match. The match consists of 14 hands in the final phase, 12 in the elimination phase. The winner is decided by the sum of the scores against the scores of the opponents. The match lasts about an hour and a half, the statutory time limit is two hours. The difference between the so-called social bridge and the sports version is that in the former the result depends on the quality of the cards awarded, and in the latter – on the comparison of results, the winner is the one who achieves a better result having exactly the same cards as his rivals, better use this set of cards.”

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