On 20-22 May 2016, the 1st Polish Snooker Championships for Business, Artists and Sports were held. This was the first event on this scale in the history of snooker and English billiards. The prestigious tournament had a splendid setting of the picturesque Heron Live Hotel. The competitors included many celebrities. Let us discuss the event with its organiser, Marcin Nitschke.
Snooker is called a gentleman’s sport. Why?
Due to its formal constraints, snooker is indeed viewed as a gentleman’s game. The tournaments require impeccable clothing, which include a bow tie, a shirt and a waistcoat. Proper manners are also a must: unlike other sport disciplines, snooker requires the players to admit to a foul when it happens, even if the arbiter fails to detect one.
What matters the most at a snooker table? Luck, skills, or composure?
Speaking as a professional player with 23 years of experience, what matters the most is your disposition on the day of the game; however, only practice makes perfect. Only by perfecting your skills every day can you develop and excel. What also matters is that snooker has taught me to focus, think strategically, be humble and restrained; these qualities are useful both at a snooker table and in life. Only an appropriate mixture of these features can let you succeed in snooker and be satisfied with each game. However, I must admit that a bit of luck is also a contributor.
Where is snooker now in Poland?
Snooker hails from India, and the name for this game was coined in 1875 by a British colonel, Sir Neville Chamberlain. The first snooker game was played at an officer’s mess hall in Jabalpur in India. The game was imported to the British Isles by John Roberts, another officer of the British Empire. Since 1977, the world championships in snooker have been played at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, England. The championships in Poland are held by the Polish Association of Snooker and Billiards. As snooker is not an Olympic discipline, it lacks funding from the state. In 2007, I decided to take the matters into my own hands and hold Hot Shots Mastersin Zielona Góra, the first tournament show in snooker. Now it is a part of the local tradition in Zielona Góra and has become the largest snooker event in Poland, and one of the major ones on the European level. World-class stars have attended, including Stephen Hendry, Ken Doherty, Ronnie O’Sullivan, Shaun Murphy, Mark Selby, Neil Robertson, and Judd Trump. The tournament is an opportunity to popularise snooker; it is broadcast live on an all-Poland TV channel (and the surveys show that it has 4 million Polish viewers!). It is also my opportunity for meeting many different people and win sponsors for my own education on the road to more titles and medals. I am very glad to have found out that billiards and snooker are really increasing in popularity. Many corporations hold meeting and training events that feature classes in snooker; the business seems to understand the benefits of snooker training, which includes improved focus, or building strategic thinking skills.
How did you get the idea to invite artists, businessmen and athletes to a snooker table?
I became the Ambassador of Heron Live Hotel in January and organised a training workshop for billiard game amateurs. It was then when I got the idea to organise the Polish Snooker Championships for Business, Artists and Sports.
This beautiful place and the prestigious venue of Heron Live Hotel, complete with billiards and snooker tables from Maestato, are the perfect facilities to host an event like this. The feedback I received from artists and business people was very positive. Everyone is equal at a snooker table. What counts is the skills and composure, not what you do every day. The best proof that I have made the right decision is that even now, just after the closure of this year’s event, I’m receiving a lot of calls with requests for enrolment in the next year’s Championships!
Who can you find at the snooker table and how did the competition go?
The Polish Snooker Championships for Business, Artists and Sports were attended by: Leszek Lichota, Przemysław Sadowski, Rafał Maserak, Antoni Królikowski, Paweł Domagała, Andrzej Nejman, and Tomasz Oświeciński, to name but a few. The most emotional game was the game held between Tomek Oświeciński and Andrzej Nejman. The concept of the Championships was so attractive that TVN covered 4 live broadcasts during the Dzień Dobry TVN Saturday morning show, and the event will also be featured in ‘Co za Tydzień’.
Such a prestigious tournament requires a special setting. I reckon that Heron Live Hotel was not chosen by accident?
No, the entire concept was born right in the very hotel, and the plans for the snooker championships have been inextricably linked to this place ever since. Heron Live Hotel is a unique spot: it boasts a picturesque landscape, splendid interior design, a wonderful atmosphere and great customer service.
Will the Polish Snooker Championships for Business, Artists and Sports be a permanent feature at Heron Live Hotel?
I would love it to happen and yes, I really hope it will be so.
An interview by Justyna Kowalczyk