His father is a Vietnamese businessman and he was born here in the Czech Republic. Thai Dai Van Nguyen is one of many second-generation Vietnamese who are fluent is Czech, as in other foreign languages, hard-working, disciplined and ambitious. At just 16 Van became the youngest chess grandmaster in the Czech Republic and less than two years later he is among the five best players in Europe in his age group. I asked him how his success story began.
It used to be a common form of transport and fun in winter months centuries ago, but its popularity receded with the introduction of motor vehicles and skis. Now luge riding is making a comeback, with several specially designed luge natural-tracks sprouting across the country. One of them is located in Smržovka, a winter sports centre in the Jizera Mountains that also hosts an annual luge racing competition.