Exactly 50 years ago today, the Czechoslovak national ice hockey team beat the Soviets in the world championships for a second time, setting off a series of celebrations – which soon turned into protests, at times violent, against the ongoing Warsaw Pact occupation. Though a moral victory, in a sense it proved a Pyrrhic one.
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.