I dedicate this essay to my father and to my Baduk masters. That’s why it contains so many personal details. It’s a recording of my personal experiences and reflections concerning Baduk. For most of them I’m indebted to people fascinated with Baduk. Meeting these people thoroughly changed my entire life. These were not only opponents I vigorously wanted to beat in order to become a champion. A contact with their personalities contributed to my development as a player and as a human being.
I would like to show you, summoned here due to love to Baduk, how does a man from Europe understand and get enchanted with Baduk. I hope it will help reach the important aim - to make Baduk popular all over the world and to make it the most famous game, because Baduk is really worth it.
Already as a child I was in touch with mind games. Chess were the beloved game of my father so they were also the main topic of discussions at home. My father devoted his whole life to chess. I listened carefully to stories of great players, brilliant moves, sacrifices of pieces, splendid combinations leading to victory. My father organized lots of tournaments in Gdynia and had me arrange chess sets.It was my first job in my life. I listened attentively to anecdotes about customs and games of great masters and thanks to my father I had the opportunity to get acquainted with many of them. The biggest impression on me was made by a Hungarian grandmaster Flesch who once played in Gdynia simultaneously on 25 boards – blindfold. Flesch was siting backwards to his opponents and was verbally responding to their plays until morning. Undoubtedly a great memory and imagination are indispensable to cope with such a task.
My father was also fascinated with the rivalry of Bobby Fischer against Soviet grandmasters. Their shocking defeats surprisingly didn’t worry my father – communist. On the contrary – he was delighted and publicly admired the style of Fisher’s victories. He worked as the referee at the Poland – United States team match and caught the opportunity to conduct an interview with him. At home my father was solving and creating new chess problems all day long. He was also chess journalist in the biggest local newspaper of Gdańsk region. My colleagues were mostly juniors from local chess club. It was therefore natural for me that one of most important and most interesting things to do in the world for you and me is to play a game that requires thinking.
For a change my mother loved bridge and she enjoyed playing in company of good and amiable partners. No wonder that I played both bridge and chess with enthusiasm. To tell the truth I tended to follow my mother’s steps and she was proud of my bridge successes. At that time I heard a lot of Italian Blue Team achievements. As I studied extraordinary plays and masters’ bidding systems I had a lot of pleasure while discovering the highest level of playing. The joy of learning, comprehending, atmosphere of intellectual adventure used to be the essence of each day. For a young player climbing on the top, satisfaction derived from each victory are the experiences strongly encouraging to further strenuous work. I noticed then how important are: the ability to concentrate and to control one’s emotions along with everyday hard work in order to play effectively during tournaments. For a bridge player a tournament gave the only opportunity to meet and fight against better and more experienced players. These games taught me most. After several years I became one of the best juniors and I was sure that soon I would become a European level bridge player. I couldn’t predict an earthquake that would be created in my life by one anticommunist.
Both chess and bridge are mind games and are known to everyone in Europe. Everybody either has tried to play those games or at least has had a chance to watch others playing, even if he can’t play himself. It’s not difficult to find opponents; moreover in each house there is chess set or a pack of cards. It’s much more troublesome to play Baduk, as few people know that such a game exists and what it looks like. Rules of Baduk are basically unknown and it’s hard to buy a set of Baduk. Nevertheless more and more Europeans start to be aware that there is a game more difficult than chess and more interesting than bridge.
When I finally met one well known Polish bridge player, an author of many books concerning bridge I was very skeptical and full of doubts having been promised to be taught a game more complex and absorbing than every other I had heard of until then. He didn’t waste time convincing me but seated me behind a board and explained the rules. My disbelief only rose. The stones don’t move? They are all of equal strength? The game is dynamic? Difficult? I’ll soon beat that jackanapes! My teacher was patient. After a few games I was discouraged because of my helplessness. After a few next games I was confident that the game was perplexing. In the next games I achieved a few small triumphs. I was illuminated: Baduk is an extraordinary game and I will be good at it!
Janusz Korwin-Mikke is a philosopher and mathematician of a mutinous soul and a bridge player known out of his unusual plays. He’s also been one of first Polish who can play Baduk. He is in favor of freedom of a human being and he fought actively against communist system in Poland. I’m indebted to him for teaching me Baduk and freeing me from the poison of communist ideology.