Sports master T.Enkhsuld and a ninth grader of the Bayangol District’s 20th school, studied under the guidance of Sport’s master at international level R.Manlai and became a champion. Athlete of the “Golden Boy” club, he brought Gold (rapid) and Silver (blitz) medals from the Asian Junior Checkers Competition in 2022 from Tashkent, Uzbekistan. In the same year, he was the champion in both the main 100-square game board checkers and the 64-square game board blitz in the National Championship. We talked to T.Enkhsuld who won the school championship in 2016-2019, the district championship in 2017-2018, and the Budding League in 2019, and who has competed in continental and world competitions.
It is said that the first competition of an athlete inspires and has a great impact to train harder and achieve success, is that true?
That’s right. I participated in the school championship for the first time and won the gold medal. After that competition, teacher T.Altankhuyag introduced me to Sport’s master at international level and coach R.Manlai. I joined the “Golden Boy” club when he had me playing against one of his best checker player and tied twice. Later, I was encouraged by winning the district championship, and when I participated in the National Championship, I saw that the best compete against each other and make the competition fun. Although I did not win a medal, I gained a lot of experience. I still remember losing to my opponent because I think that if I think long and move calmly, I play well.
When you participated in the Asian Championship for the first time, you won gold and silver medals. How did you feel about it?
During the five years of training under the guidance of my coach, I have successfully participated in international, continental and world competitions and won many medals. Every country I visited gave me a pleasant feeling. In particular, it felt good that the weather and climate of Uzbekistan is similar to ours. Before setting foot in Uzbekistan, I competed in the 2019 tournament in Russia. Many athletes from Mongolia participated in that tournament, so I joined the Buryat checkers and won a bronze medal. I noticed and observed many things when I became a team with the Russian players. They seemed a little different psychologically in character than us. After coming back with a bronze medal, the relay of awards did not stop. My skills have also improved. For me, 2022 was a year of self-discovery and self-improvement. I won the championship in the main category of 100-square game board checkers and won the silver medal in the 64-square game board checkers at the National Championship. The athletes who won the first three places in the National Championship, went to Tashkent after getting the right to compete in the Asian Championship.
When you set foot there, did you feel the atmosphere of how the continental competition would be?
In the blitz category of 100-square checkers, I won the silver medal by beating an athlete from Uzbekistan, and in the rapid category, I defeated the player of “Khiimori Khulug” club, B.Baasanbar and became the champion. For me, my game position was better than his. Among the checkers I met, the strongest competitor was N.Lazizbek, an athlete from Uzbekistan and vice-master of the World Checkers Federation. He is one of the youth athletes who won 64-square checkers and became the hope of his country. I beat him in the seventh match and took the medal. I am happy that I played calmly and meticulously and made rational moves according to my teacher’s advice. As the Chinese players did not participate in the Asian Championship due to the pandemic, it was noticed during the competition that the athletes of the host country were trying to be the best.
Shortly after winning the Asian championship, you went to Antalya, Turkiye, and competed in the World Championship. Can you talk about that?
Yes. Competition for the selection of participants for the 2022 World Championship was held there and the first 10 places in their age group would receive their rights to join the championship. Among them, I won first place in the total number of points and got to compete in the championship. That year, I came home from the World Championship in Antalya with a silver medal and made my teacher and family happy. Last year’s World Championship was held in Police, Poland in November, and I won two silver medals and one bronze medal.
From your competitions, it seems that the Dutch and Ukrainian athletes will not give up easily.
The fact that these countries have developed intellectual sports is evident from the skills and competition of their athletes. In addition to them, I met players from Latvia and Taiwan at the World Championship. In Asia, Mongolians are among the countries with high achievements in checkers. Among the checker players who I played with, Ukrainian and Dutch players are very strong competitors. The board move of the Ukrainian player is interesting but very sharp. His tactics and plans, which he plays in many scenarios, attracted the attention of not only me but also many people.
What advice does your coach give his athletes before the competition?
My teachers told us, “Feel how your opponent will play. Time it carefully, stay calm and don’t panic. Make the right decision and move after thinking carefully.” Everything they teach and advise is very useful during the competition. According to my observations, Mongolians compete equally with foreign athletes in blitz and rapid. I competed with a fellow Mongolian athlete D.Iderjavkhlan in the rapid category. I have met him quite a few times, so I know his methods well. He plays from a selective position.
Who introduced you to checkers?
The first person who taught me checkers was my father. From the time I started playing this sport, he supported me, had me participate in competitions regularly, and paid attention to developing my skills. I once participated in a school championship checkers competition and won. After that, when I joined my school’s checkers club, teacher Ts.Altankhuyag offered me to join his club. By training at “Golden Boy” club and raising my level, I won a medal from the World Championship for the second time. The support of my parents and the hard work and dedication of my teachers contributed a lot to my hard work and success. I am one of the three athletes from the club who competed in the world championship. As for me,
I successfully participated in the National Championship and got the right to compete in the Asian Championship. I now have the title of master of sports. In 2022, I won medals at national, continental and world competitions and fulfilled my promise. Among the students at school number 20, P.Uudam and I have been consistently studying checkers and achieving success.
What qualities of your coach are you proud of?
Coach R.Manlai is hardworking and humble. He is persistent and responsible. I am very proud of the way he trusts his students. Training starts on time and ends efficiently. Like my athletes, I have to rush to the club after school to train. Two years ago, the Asian Championship was held during the summer break. When the school management, teachers and classmates heard that I came back from the championship with a trophy and a silver medal, they congratulated and encouraged me. I am the youngest son in the family and have one sister. My mother’s name is B.Dariimaa, she is a teacher. She works as a primary school teacher at my school. I would like to thank my teachers and my family for always supporting me.
You organized a competition in Must soum of Khovd Province. Could you tell me more?
Yes. I am happy to be an honorary citizen of Must soum. My father’s name is Ts.Togtokh. Must soum of Khovd Province is the birthplace of my parents. Shortly after returning from the Asian Championship, I went with my family to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the soum, and organized a tournament named after himself in the over-18 category. Many people participated in the competition. Among them, those who won the first three places were awarded medals and handed gifts and cash prizes.