Madras, March 12: The suspense continues as the venue for the 44th Chess Olympiad was moved out of Moscow, Russia by the International Chess Federation (FIDE) following Russian military operations in Ukraine.
The All India Chess Federation (AICF) was the first to submit its bid to host the Olympiad, something of a last-minute bailout for FIDE.
Subsequently, FIDE decided to invite offers from other nations and set March 10 as the last date for receiving offers.
It is known, it is expected that FIDE at its meeting on March 15 will decide on the venue of the Olympiad.
Apart from India, FIDE is rumored to have received one or two more offers to host the event.
The Chess Olympiad is a biennial team event in which teams from approximately 190 countries compete for two weeks.
“About 2,500 people — chess players, coaches, team managers, chess officials from different countries, journalists and others — will arrive in the city where the Chess Olympiad is taking place,” said the British Grandmaster and Vice President of FIDE, Nigel Short.
Even before getting the royal mandate to hold the global chess mega-event, it was learned that AICF officials had checked the facilities available in Delhi and Chennai, such as hotels, transportation and rest options for players.
“At least 50 Grand Masters and several International Masters are ready to volunteer to help AICF hold the prestigious event. Apart from that, there are software companies that would extend the necessary software programming support,” a senior told IANS. AICF official.
India has the experience of holding the Commonwealth Chess Championship several times, although the Olympiad will be a couple of times bigger.
If the event is to be held in Delhi, then the Aerocity could be a suitable venue.
On the other hand, if AICF decides to hold the event in Chennai, the birthplace of Indian chess, then the event could be held at one of the flagship hotels/resorts on East Coast Road (ECR).
With star hotels deprived of guests due to Covid-19 related restrictions, the Olympiad will be a boon for Indian hoteliers to bolster their room occupancy, food and beverage revenue.
At its meeting on February 27, the FIDE Council decided: “Regardless of the organization of the Chess Olympiad 2022, FIDE organizes the annual FIDE Congress during the previously planned dates, from 27.07.2022 to 02.08.2022 with election date 01.08.2022. The preference is to combine the FIDE Congress with the 2022 Chess Olympiad.” The FIDE Council also suggested consultations with the possible organizers of the 2022 Chess Olympiad and allows the adjustment of the dates of the FIDE Congress if it does not imply a noticeable delay of the elections. The FIDE Council confirmed that the continental elections will be organized within their constitutional terms.
According to the rules, elections for FIDE officials will take place in 2022 and are not required to be held in conjunction with the Olympiad.
FIDE officials were silent when asked about the upcoming elections.
The reason is that former Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich is the current FIDE President. He and his team were elected in Batumi, Georgia, in September 2018.
“Before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Dvorkovich was in a comfortable position and was expected to get a second term with no opposition in sight,” a chess grandmaster with a good international reputation who did not want to be quoted told IANS.
If India gets the Olympiad mandate, the Chess Olympiad will be the second largest world chess competition to be held in the country after 2013.
In 2013, the World Chess Championship was held between then defending champion Viswanathan Anand from India and challenger Magnus Carlsen from Norway.
While FIDE has been organizing Chess Olympiads online after the outbreak of Covid-19, the physical Chess Olympiad was supposed to take place in Moscow from July 26 to August 8.
According to Short, the time is right for India to make a successful bid to host the biennial team chess event.
(Venkatachari Jagannathan can be contacted at email@example.com)