Finding one's marbles

Svatoslav Sterba, photo: CTK

With all the sports events on in the Czech Republic one might be forgiven for having missed the first World Championship in - that's right - marbles in Prague. But, what a shame if you did! Czechs closed out the competition's top five spots, making it clear that in the Czech Republic marbles are a lot more than just a kid's game.

The winner Svatoslav Sterba, photo: CTK
Earlier I spoke with Petr Sejba, the head of the Czech Marbles Federation and asked him about the Czech win, as well as about what was required for players to take part.

"The players must be in the first 20 places in the Czech national ranking and similar rules applied for international participants. The best five finishers were all Czechs and the best foreigner was sixth.

The man who actually went on to win the title was Svatoslav Sterba - a very talented player we're told.

"This man was the Czech champion in 2003 and after his most successful year he was not playing for a year, and came back this year and trained a bit harder and with success. It is not necessary to train often but it is necessary to have the best condition at the best time, you need to concentrate and you need to be really concentrated the last two or three weeks. "

Here is the sound - wait for it - of a finger flick, that's "cvrnk" in Czech, driving the marble home.

Svatoslav Sterba, photo: CTK
Now, if you are one of those who considers marbles a kid's game you might be surprised to learn that, for example, the average of competitors in the competition was 40. Which made me wonder: were there any major differences between the kid's game and the adult version? For one thing, Petr Sejba says that when you are beaten in competition you don't lose your marbles as you would among kids. Among adults, even in defeat, your marbles are yours to keep.

"Everybody plays with their own marbles and nobody loses his marbles and in my opinion it is a very good rule for beginners."

By now, you must be wondering what Mr Sterba, the winner of the World Championship, won? If you guessed a brand-new bag of marbles, you guessed right. But,...

"These are not classic marbles for play but marbles for collectors, each worth more than 100 dollars."

Petr Sejba says that next year the World Marbles Championship will return and that anyone can try and qualify. If you're interested you can find all the information you need at