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What has diving got to do with a board game like Checkers? A lot, if you are thinking of competing in the national Checkers championship in Janeda, Estonia. That's because, the entire tournament takes place underwater!
Now in its 3rd year, the 'watered' down Checkers competition is the brainchild of a local diving company that was trying to keep divers interested in practicing the sport in a swimming pool, during Estonia's freezing winter months, when the outdoor temperatures often drop below zero.
This year's event, which took place on January 15th, attracted 42 contestants. While impressive it was not as good as last year, when 55 hopefuls set the Guinness World record for the largest number of people playing underwater Checkers simultaneously.
Since the main objective is to practice diving skills, anybody regardless of gender, age or Checkers expertise can enter the competition. The rules of the championship are simple - Every competitor plays seven games, with each lasting six minutes. The person who wins the most, is declared champion.
While it may sound easy, most divers say it is grueling to stay underwater in one position for six minutes and focus - Some even resort to wearing belts filled with heavy lead to stay still. And, incase you are wondering how the board and game pieces manage to stay put - The former is strapped to the floor of the swimming pool, while the latter are made of lead! Wonder if they will think about introducing Chess next!
Resources: Telegraph.co.uk, ndtv.com