Balazs Szegedi’s Bridge Championship

Balazs Szegedi is not only ISB’s Director of Operations, but he is also a passionate Bridge player and Champion. In March 2022 he represented team Hungary at the 45th World Bridge Championship in Salsomaggiore, Italy. Therefore, it was a big achievement when they won 5-8 place out of 24 teams. Also considering that the teams who finished in front of them were all professional bridge players. 

Mr Szegedi started playing Bridge at 16 when his physics teacher introduced him to it during a field trip. During high school and University, he built a passion for it, playing for hours and studying to get better at the game. Eventually, he started competing at local championships at 18 years old. As described by Mr Szegedi “Bridge is the best card game ever invented!” as it is both a mind-stretching game and can be fun for everyone. It’s played in pairs with poker cards and while the rules are simple; the strategies can be complex. 

Of course, Bridge is considered a much better game than Chess by Mr Szegedi; but he does understand why someone might prefer it to Bridge. It might be due to two main differences: Bridge is played in pairs, so you need teamwork and Bridge is a “limited information” game where the opponent’s cards and possible moves are hidden, as opposed to Chess. On average, Mr Szegedi plays Bridge twice a week for training purposes and then goes to competitions and championships, like the 2022 European Bridge championships in Madeira, Portugal where Hungary only got 16th place. 

Mr Szegedi has won several Swiss and Hungarian national titles in his 25 year long bridge career, and most recently he finished 2nd in the Swiss national pairs championship with his partner in January 2023. According to Mr Szegedi, he has failed many many times in Bridge – however all these failures have made him a better player.

He also ran his own Bridge school in Budapest between 2005 and 2010 but this is the first year at ISB that he opened an ISBX club every Friday lunch in room 2.15 (Infinity) for young players to enjoy Bridge as much as he does. Unfortunately, there are only a few hundred players who play Bridge competitively around Hungary and Switzerland. Bridge is not as popular as Chess amongst young people. But you can change that by joining the ISBX club!

When he is not playing Bridge, Mr Szegedi likes to spend time with his family and go road cycling around Basel. His most memorable games so far have been the World Youth Championship in 2005 in Sydney, Australia which is where he has travelled the farthest and where he decided he would start his own Bridge school. Finally, Mr Szegedi likes to travel to different places and seek out the local Bridge clubs to meet with people with whom he shares a passion as he enjoys the balance between his full-time job, his family and his fulfilling and beloved hobby. 

Images used courtesy of World Bridge Federation

Article by Luisa, Grade 10