In July 2005, the first World Marbles Championship in individual hole game took place in Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic. The championship started on Friday, July 22 by official training. On Saturday, July 23, the competitors played against each other in two groups. They competed for better position in Sunday’s double elimination system — the group winners were seeded as number 1 and 2, players on the second places were seeded as number 3 and 4 etc. So the group winners played with the last one from another group in the first round on Sunday.
On Sunday, July 24, the crucial part of the tournament started. Everybody had in mind that the winner of the double elimination system will become the World Marble Champion. After many hours of dramatic matches there were known the finalists – Svatoslav Sterba and Zbynek Fojtik (both representatives of the Czech Republic). It was very equal match in the beginning. But over time Svatoslav Sterba improved his game and rightly won the title of the World Marble Champion.
A few months later, in the time when the new marble season starts, we interviewed Mr. Sterba and asked him the following questions:
1. You won Czech Marbles Championship 2002. In the year 2003 you beat over 200 competitors and was #2 in the Czech National Ranking. Next year you didn’t participate in any marble tournament. And in April 2005 you were back and in very good condition — in the first national tournament of the year 2005 you won 3rd place. Do you remember how did you feel before and after this tournament and what was your ambitions for the incoming season?
Yes, I remember it very well. I have had serious health problems during all 2004 year. For that reason I was not able to play nor to train not only the game itself but also my physical condition. So I did not expect some results on the first tournament and also in course of the whole season 2005. The most important to me was to be back and in the condition enabling me to play. The third place was very agreeable surprise form me.
2. You easily qualified for the Czech National Championship. It was (except the Word Championship, of course) the most important tournament of the year. But your results were not according to your wish. What happened?
I had a complete drop-out of my form, the real blackout which hits me only once or twice a year, fortunately. In addition to it there was bad weather at that time and I really do not like to play after rain in wet and dripping grounds. Everything summed-up resulted in my finishing after three matches.
3. Czech National Championship took place 5 weeks before the World Championship. When did you forget the bad result and began to concentrate for World Marbles Championship?
I put the bad result on the Czech National Championship out of my mind very quickly. As I do not know exactly the reasons of my total blackout, it would be senseless to be concerned with it. In the other side, in the same weather conditions existing in the World Marbles Championship, the things would had turned out with me similarly as in the Czech National Championship.
4. What was your ambitions just before the World Marbles Championship? Did you believe that you will win?
I have never dreamt of that. Not even after the first day when I won the qualifying group. The reason also was that my first rival on final was the Czech player and I did not wont it. Besides I lost all matches with him in the whole season 2005. Some of them were balanced up to the end but I did not manage the finish. Therefore I was very afraid of the first match in the World Marbles Championship final and I did not think of the victory at all.
5. What was your tactic before and during the Championship?
I had not any special tactics. I tried to concentrate on each marble and to avoid my usual mistakes. Of course, Ill not reveal my mistakes to facilitate my rivals situation in future matches.
6. On Saturday you played very well and you won in your group. It was good position for next day because you was seeded as #1 for the double elimination. Did you feel that the title is very close? How did you prepare in the last hours before the final part of the tournament?
I already answered it partly above. Before the day of final matches I was very nervous, I even slept bad and far too little. For that reason I came to the court earlier to warm up and get going. A great help was also beautiful weather as well as beautiful surroundings where the tournament was realised – view of the river Vltava, Charles Bridge and National Theatre is really splendid and calming.
7. From your point of view, what was the most important moments in your way to the World Marble Champion title?
Even that I outlined above. For me it was very important that I was successful in the first match with the rival which whom I in this year (2005) did not win. And it was in the situation when I rather easily lost two first games in this match and the situation seems bad. After it I won two following games and in the decisive fifth game I won too.
8. World Marbles Championship 2006 is coming soon. What are your ambitions this year?
I am very happy to be historically the first world champion in this beautiful game. Its my duty to do the maximum for the successful fight and defence the title. But I realise that to defend the title is always much more difficult than to win it first time. All will depend on the weather, on my game and also on my health.
This are the words of current World Marble Champion. Maybe there will be interview with you next year — you are welcome to come and represent your country. World Marbles Championship committees would like to invite people from all countries to participate in this tournament. For more information please visit the official World Marbles Championship 2006 website and contact the organization staff today!