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Checkers (Grade 6)

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Checkers

Can you imagine playing the game of checkers with pieces made out of lead? Every move would be a slow one because the pieces would weigh too much to move very quickly. If you happened to be a part of a very unusual checkers tournament held each year in the country of Estonia, however, moving the pieces would be slow, but not really heavy. Why? It is because these people are playing the game at the bottom of a public swimming pool. The checkers board is strapped to the bottom, and the pieces are made of lead so that they will not float away.

For the last three years, this odd checkers contest has brought dozens of players of all ages and skill levels to the city of Janeda in Estonia. They put on bathing suits, and then pull on masks, flippers and air tanks. Finally, they dive into the water, kick down to the game board and decide which move to make.

Each person is allowed to play seven games and whoever wins the most is named champion. Each game lasts for six minutes. That might now seem like much time, but when you have to spend it focusing on a board and staying in the same position underwater, it can feel like an extremely long time. Some divers wear weighted belts. It helps them stay in the right spot while they decide which checker to move next.

How did such a unique checkers contest get started? Estonia's winters are quite cold. When the temperatures dropped, so did most people's interest in swimming. A local diving company came up with the idea of creating an underwater game to attract divers. It was a success. Now if players can just figure out how to say "crowned" from the bottom of a pool!
1. 
What would make the best title for this passage?
  1. The Fast and Easy Way to Win at Checkers?
  2. Surviving the Harsh Estonia Winters
  3. Have Mask, Will Play Checkers
  4. Life at the Bottom of the Swimming Pool
2. 
What is the main idea of this passage?
  1. Checkers is such an easy game, it can be played anywhere.
  2. The winters in the city of Janeda, Estonia are extraordinarily cold.
  3. Some Checkers games actually have pieces made out of lead.
  4. Estonia is the home of an extremely unusual checkers game.
3. 
Which idea is supported primarily in the third paragraph?
  1. How challenging it is to stay in the same position underwater
  2. Why an underwater checkers game was originally created
  3. What steps divers go through in order to play this game
  4. How the winners of this different competition are chosen

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