“It’s exciting, empowering to give your opponent a leg.”
LEEK – At 79 years old, Roel de Vries, who has lived in Leek since 1986, is still a passionate designer. It was brought to him by his father with a spoon. Her father takes her to the company’s ladies’ club in Groningen, where Roel learns the ropes from his father. In his father’s shop, where they also sell checkerboards and stones, many designers entered the shop at the time: “Yes, so you grow up with it and you play. To this day he has given De Vries a lot of fun.
Later, De Vries was one of the Groningen Ten, of which former world champion Harm Wiersma was also one. The ten participate in the national competition under the name of Roxy Dual. During the train ride, the players of future opponents are scrutinized. For example, it looks at the color a player prefers to play with. Opening shots, difficult for opponents to parry, are also discussed. The games played will be analyzed on return.
During his period of service with the Royal Netherlands Air Force, de Vries made it to the final of the Dutch Military Championship. If the game is already advanced, De Vries has an optical advantage with 2 additional stones. Victory is in the pocket, he thinks. He’s already lighting a cigar. It was the prelude to the party’s loss. He has become nauseous, loses his concentration and loses the game. Literally and figuratively, de Vries is the cigar of the competition. Now he can laugh about it, but it was the unique opportunity to become champion one day.
The Leek / Roden Draft Club has only 24 senior members. Unfortunately, there are no young members. Acting president de Vries also notes that there are often older members at the club. Not so long ago, 2 youth trainers were working with the young members for 1 hour per week. Unfortunately, this was not continued. Around the March period, there are annual school draft championships in the Westerkwartier / Noordenveld. About 50 primary school students participate. Based on this initiative, the association hopes to encourage new enthusiastic draft players to join.
There is also little growth of young talent at the national level. De Vries would like to see primary schools bring drafts, in particular, but also other mental sports like chess, more to the attention. He teaches children to be smart and to think. It is an excellent support for their development in the form of part of projects. One hour of lessons per week will undoubtedly encourage children to play checkers.
De Vries hopes to be able to continue tournaments and matches after the pandemic. At the moment it’s only possible to play online, but the draftsman in Leek / Roden sees this as a positive as well. You now also play against strangers, against whom you would normally never have played. For example, de Vries recently played against a good acquaintance who now lives in New Zealand.
The Leek / Roden association has a permanent playground where the competitions take place. Leek Sports Center is a great place where there is enough rest and people around to play well. De Vries remembers that he was allowed to play in completely different places. The Heracles stadium, Artis or a dark room in a pub then come to the fore in his memory. The club plays at 1e class at the national level. It can be called modest. It’s pure pleasure for the ten of Leek / Roden. Likewise, the ten play against the ten, of which the world champion Ton Sijbrands is also a member. All the players in de Vries’ team are perfectly behind the boards. There is no opponent to see, but 1 minute before the start, the Sijbrands team enters the hall in sponsor’s uniform. All the players are totally upset and the game is lost. Intimidated and overwhelmed, the players fail to reach their level.
The Bridge Foundation de Groningen, where De Vries has been very actively involved in drafting for 40 years, was also able to accommodate around 80 draft players with physical / mental disabilities. Because the mentally handicapped no longer live in houses as they did before and have started living on their own, the drafts have stopped completely. De Brug plans to restart these controllers for people with disabilities. De Brug always has in mind to keep the gap between limited and unlimited as small as possible. In the past, many draft players with a disability have been integrated into regular clubs.
Opening shots are very important in the ladies. This is how you have the Dutch opening. You attack from the center in order to gradually surround the opponent. There is also a Polish opening. We use the flanks, therefore via the outside of the board, to surround the opponent. You still play checkers with a clock. Roel de Vries would like to introduce young people to women’s sport. It’s exciting, stimulating to give your opponent a leg. Take a look at the site www.damclubrodenleek.nl for information.