Have you ever visited Prague's historic Tyrs House, in the Czech Republic?
Tyrs House is the home of the Czech Sokol Organization, and is a famed sport and conference venue. Throughout its long history it has played a major role in the Czech athletics scene. And now, coming up at Tyrs House from October 14 through October 16, is the 2005 World Youth Qualification Tournament, as part of a major checkers event which includes other qualification and world championship tournaments. It seems that the enlightened people of Czechoslovakia rank mind sports right alongside physical sports!
Yunior Lopez and John Post are to represent the International Checker Hall of Fame, the American Checker Federation, and the United States in the Go-As-You-Please (GAYP) section of the World Youth Qualification Tournament--- if they can raise enough funds to be able to make the trip. The winner of this event may well be declared world youth champion, as reigning champion Clayton Nash has crossed over the age-21 barrier.
The competition is expected to be tough indeed, as the world's best young players contend for first place. But Yunior and John are no easy marks, and are expected to show well. Yunior began playing checkers in 2000 and played his first live over-the-board tournament in 2004. In addition, Yunior ably captained the American Internet Team, which this past spring played an historic electronic match with Great Britain.
John has an even longer record in the game, having attended US Nationals several times as well as playing in Arkansas state tournaments, and currently serves as president of the Arkansas State Checker Assocation.
But now Yunior and John need to raise at least $1,100 each for airfare, not to mention food, lodging, and incidental expenses. It's a costly proposition for these deserving young checkerists, and they need our help.
There are several ways to assist. You can donate directly to Yunior and John; you can contribute through the American Checker Federation Online Store; or you can purchase a US-Great Britain Internet Match Booklet from Yunior. John Post can be reached at 105 Evergreen Estates, Russellville AR, 72802. Yunior Lopez can be found at 1200 Declaration Drive, Las Vegas, NV 89110, and he is offering a match booklet to anyone who donates $15 or more. If you would rather contribute through the ACF, go to their online donation site and page down to Dream Young or Travel Fund.
Yunior summed it all up in an exclusive Checker Maven interview: "My experiences with checkers have been great and this is why I still play checkers. When you attend a live tournament it is something like no other. You are in a room with great people where you can have great conversations, great games, and overall a great time. We are ready to play!"
The Checker Maven asks you to give the future of checkers a real boost, by helping Yunior and John represent America in Prague this October.
September 19, 2005 followup: We have learned that John Post unfortunately won't be able to make the trip to Prague.