From playing checkers at the highest level to being a checkers commentator at the matches of his former colleagues. Roel Boomstra, former Emmen resident, has three world titles to his name, but has now turned his back on top sport. Back at the place where he played one of his biggest games, he looks back on his career. “It was one or the other.”The moment that Roel Boomstra became world champion for the second time is still clear in his mind. “Without exaggeration: this is the most beautiful place I have ever played checkers.” Boomstra walks through the studio space of RTV Drenthe and the World Cup at the end of 2018 immediately comes back to life. “I think there was a table around this spot and I was playing a match against a Russian,” he says. “Here I won my second world title, so I have great memories of this room.”
Those days are now behind him. The 30-year-old will no longer participate in the European Checkers Championships, which will take place in Beilen on October 28 and 29. His professional checkers career is over. “I still enjoy playing checkers, but I ultimately decided that I still want to pursue a social career. Last year I took the decision.”Checkers therefore lost out to the desire for a social career. “That was a combination of factors. On the one hand, I noticed that I have already achieved so much in checkers that my motivation became less. And on the other hand, I also found it difficult that I was very professionally involved in the sport, but that the drafts world itself What can be done more professionally is that sometimes a playing room is not completely in order.”
Forty hours a week
And so the former drafts player now works for DUO (Dienst Uitvoering Onderwijs). “Checkers was really a top sport. I was working on it forty hours a week. It was one or the other.” Yet he cannot completely leave the drafts world behind and Boomstra becomes the commentator for RTV Drenthe for the European Championship. Can he stomach standing on the sidelines? “I still really enjoy the game, but I am also very competitive. And at the moment I cannot deliver what I have always delivered.”
Moreover, he expects a lot from the Dutch team and especially from Wouter Sipma, also from Drenthe. “The Netherlands is absolutely among the world’s best. Wouter Sipma knows very well how to tackle his opponent and he also knows how to divide his time well.”Who will win the European Championship title? “I hope Wouter. He is also one of my best friends, so if I have to choose I will always go for him. “But Sipma cannot count on being spared in Boomstra’s comments. “If he does something really stupid, I just say, ‘That was really stupid. How is it possible?'”
European Checkers Championships in Beilen
The European Checkers Championships will be held this weekend in Beilen and will be broadcast by RTV Drenthe. The live stream can be viewed on Saturday from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM via the website and app. The final three rounds will be broadcast on TV from 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM. Then the so-called Rapid games are played, which is 15 minutes on the clock and 5 seconds per move. The livestream can be seen on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and the last three rounds on TV from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Then the Blitz games are played, lasting a maximum of five minutes and three seconds per move.