In September 2016, Baku will host another significant global sporting event - the 42nd World Chess Olympiad will be held on 1-14 September. The prestigious competition, which will be held in Azerbaijan for the first time, will be held at the Crystal Hall. In the days of the Olympiad, a regular meeting of the FIDE Congress will also be held.
In connection with preparations for the Olympiad, Baku was visited by a FIDE delegation headed by Acting President of the World Chess Federation Georgios Makropoulos. After meetings with Minister of Youth and Sports Azad Rahimov and the leadership of the Organizing Committee of the Baku Chess Olympiad, FIDE officials familiarized themselves with preparatory work for the prestigious competition. The FIDE delegation also inquired about organizational work at the Crystal Hall, where the Olympiad will take place.
They inspected the games hall, the press centre, the medical room and seats for spectators there. The FIDE representatives were informed that an extensive special centre will be established for the convenience of the press. During the Olympiad, it is also planned to ensure comfortable attendance at the competition for viewers. Monitors installed in the games room will help to monitor the games in all directions.
FIDE Acting President Georgios Makropoulos, who got acquainted with the situation in the arena, expressed satisfaction with the work done. The head of FIDE emphasized that a vast area has been allocated to players in the games hall. Pointing out that the preparatory work is in a critical stage, the director of the Organizing Committee of the Baku Chess Olympiad, Mahir Mammadov, said that all the necessary work for the prestigious competition will be carried out at the highest level.
In an interview with R+, Makropoulos noted the high level of preparations for the competition: "The Chess Olympiad is one of the most important sporting events of our calendar. Imagine, about 3,000 chess players, coaches, visitors and other persons from 175 countries of the world will arrive in Baku. Meeting all these people and putting them up is not so easy. Therefore, as a rule, representatives of FIDE prefer to visit the city in advance of the Olympiad to become familiar with the organizational work on the ground. Of course, this is not our first visit to Baku. The capital of Azerbaijan is famous as a chess city. There is special love for chess here. At the same time, it is necessary to assist the Organizing Committee of the Baku Chess Olympiad in the preparatory work and in certain matters."
According to him, Baku will hold a competition that will be remembered by all: "As a rule, at prestigious competitions the arena in which they will be held is extremely important. The Baku Olympiad will be held in the Baku Crystal Hall. Eurovision and competitions of the first European Games were organized in this arena. During our visit to Baku, the arena amazed us. It is great and perfect for the Chess Olympiad," Makropoulos said.
"As for the results of the visit, I appreciate the work of the Organizing Committee. Work continues as planned. Since this is a mass competition, more than 300 teams will play at the same time. A broad area is therefore necessary. It is the Crystal Hall. We discussed transport and visa issues. In my opinion, the organizers approached their work with full responsibility, and I think that there will be no problems in this regard. At the same time, we got acquainted with the security measures, and seats for the media and spectators. One might say that preparatory work is at a crucial stage. The Chess Olympiad will be an important event not only for each participant, but also for children and youth. Baku will, first of all, inscribe its name on the list of cities that have hosted this great competition. On the other hand, the tournament, which will be attended by 175 countries, will become an arena of competition for the strongest chess players of the planet. After these competitions, the interest in chess will further increase in the country," he said.
Georgios Makropoulos said that the capital of Azerbaijan has experience of major chess events. According to the FIDE head, this is why he believes that Azerbaijan will hold this prestigious competition at the highest level: "So far, Baku has hosted such authoritative chess competitions as Grand Prix and the World Cup. The last tournament - the World Cup - is the second prestigious chess competition after the Chess Olympiad. Baku hosted the World Cup last year. All its participants were satisfied with the organization of the tournament. We believe that it will be the same during the Olympiad. During our visit to Baku, we signed a cooperation agreement with the hotels where participants and guests of the Games will be put up. They will all be staying in the best hotels. I think Azerbaijan will hold the best Olympiad in the history of chess."
In the future, FIDE officials will pay monthly visits to Baku to familiarize themselves with the preparatory work for the Chess Olympiad. "We appreciate the work already done. Since we have entered the decisive phase, our representatives will visit Azerbaijan every month. Our experts will assist the Organizing Committee in the required fields. As you know, a FIDE congress will be held during the Olympiad. We are pleased with the progress of preparatory work for both events. In the coming months, the registration of the participants will begin," he said.
The director of the Organizing Committee of the Baku Chess Olympiad and vice-president of the Azerbaijan Chess Federation, Mahir Mammadov, said in an interview with R+ that currently scenarios of opening and closing ceremonies are being prepared: "We held discussions on a number of important issues with FIDE officials and carried out some work. Preparations are under way for beginning the registration of participants. Scenarios of the opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympiad are being prepared. The knowledge and skills of local experts will be used in this issue. At the opening ceremony, we will try to promote our national culture. Two arenas are offered for this ceremony. The final decision will be taken in the coming days."