Darts in the Czech Republic

by Paul Backer

I remember when I first came to the Czech Republic. There was a major ad campaign about who was going to win the decathlon in the 1992 Olympics. Who was it going to be, Dan or Dave. Surprise, it was a Czech man named Dvorak. Who has since gone on to break 9,000 points in this event, as has another Czech. The Czech hockey team won the winter Olympics in 1998, and have been world champions ever since. Still waiting for the outcome this year.

Czech athletes are not to be underestimated. Neither should the darters. There aren't any world champions from the Czech Republic, yet. But, darts is a rapidly growing sport. Largely due in part to electronic darts. It's common to find a machine in bars of all sizes, even in the small villages. I live in a village of 200. There was a machine in the village pub, until it closed. In the next village there are two machines, and a weekly tournament. In fact, within a 25 mile radius it is possible to find a tournament 6 days a week! Not on Sunday, because that is league day. There are both A and B leagues, both full of fierce completion.

I don't know how well the world champions play, because darts is as ignored in the media here as it is in America. However, I have seen these guys and gals play in regional tournaments and one international friendly and they are good. Lot's of 180's and seldom lower than a ton in the finals. What a pity darts isn't an Olympic sport. What an opportunity wasted to see all these players get together.

The main game is 501 double out. Cricket is played in leagues as the tiebreaker; I believe it is the cutthroat variety. You win by going out first with the least amount of points. In our league it's 4 players, each playing 501 against the other 4 and playing pairs one time, a total of 19 games, counting cricket. Tournaments are played with a double knock out system. We play middle for diddle to see who goes first. I have played in some tournaments where we flipped a coin, and middled for first in the tiebreaker. Normally, playing best of three.

The local tournaments are usually about 100kc (a dollar is about 35 crowns) to enter, with no payout, except a trophy. You usually don't have to feed the machine during the play either. Lower priced entry fees usually mean feeding the machine. There are Masters events with payouts about 2,000kc, and Grand 8,000kc. And year-end tournaments with prizes like TV's and stereos etc. But, I must stress this is in my organization and things are different in others.

Our organization is the cesky sipkovy svaz, a member of The SWDF. There are two web sites, www.cdt.aktualne.cz and www.sipkovysvaz.cz . They are both in Czech with no English.

Interesting to note is that we use the English, or American double out and triple and the English names for the games. Other than that, everything is Czech. It is a beautiful country, with many good players. Anyone planning a European vacation should make a stop here, and bring their darts! There are steel leagues, which I unfortunately don't have any information on. In Prague, the best steel tip club is probably Bulldog's. Visit their site at:www.mujweb.cz/zabava/bulldogs

Some things to know about playing here: this is the country that invented pilsner beer, There is a Budweiser beer not to be confused with the American variety, and it costs about 50 cents a half liter. Beer is a national pride, much like the hockey team. There are hundreds of smaller breweries, sadly being bought up by the bigger foreign conglomerates. The local brewery in my area started in the 1600's. It's in an Abbott. I wonder if those monks had dartboards up there? It explains the life a little better, hanging out with guys all the time, brewing and drinking beer. There had to be a dartboard in there somewhere.

Some useful words:

Darts sipky pronounced shipkey
Beer pivo pronounced peevo

What other words do you need?

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