forty fourth Chess Olympiad: Meet the military of chess lovers behind the scenes

As India hosts the forty fourth FIDE Chess Olympiad 2022, MetroPlus spends a day behind the scenes on the venue in Mamallapuram

As India hosts the forty fourth FIDE Chess Olympiad 2022, MetroPlus spends a day behind the scenes on the venue in Mamallapuram

Moscow’s loss is Mandya’s acquire. When the forty fourth FIDE International Chess Olympiad was shifted from Russia to India due to geo-political causes, one of many myriad ripple results was a dream-come-true alternative for Nandhipati Madhuri, a chess participant who teaches the game to blind gamers on specifically made chess boards within the district of Mandya, Karnataka.

She brushes apart conversations about assembly the greatest chess gamers of the world, What will get her excited is one thing else completely, “I can learn so many things here, about how to conduct a tournament, what to do, what not to do. That is my plan, to understand how the Government goes about putting together something like this. I want it to happen again; I want the players to want to return to India, purely for what we have to offer,” says Madhuri, who has already chosen college students among the many academy in Mandya, who’ve the potential to be educated for the Chess Paralympics. “There is so much talent here, Indian chess has improved a lot,” she appears nearly fiercely, wanting to flaunt her nation.

As a volunteer workforce chief, Madhuri is part of a veritable military of 400 chess gamers and coaches that has landed in Mamallapuram from throughout the nation as volunteers to host international-level chess gamers on the Olympiad.

“They are a group of young people, extremely passionate about chess, who have taken 25 days off and traveled from far to be a part of this event. Half of them are FIDE (Fédération Internationale des checs) rated; many of them are coaches or competitive players, present or former. Some are currently in extremely diverse lines of work: there are chartered accountants, engineers, stand-up comedians, YouTubers… all brought here by their passion for chess,” says Prateek Mohan, volunteer-in-charge for the match.

An army of 400 chess players and coaches has landed in Mamallapuram from across the country as volunteers

An military of 400 chess gamers and coaches has landed in Mamallapuram from throughout the nation as volunteers | Photo Credit: Johan Sathyadas

A former State chess champion, Prateek helms a Mamallapuram-based consultancy agency that aids such occasions. He provides, “What we wish first is workforce constructing, to deliver them collectively as a cohesive entrance. Then, we concentrate on hospitality administration: learn how to be calm and interactive with overseas delegates.”

There are teams assigned to the actual match venues as arbiters, fair play in-charges, and spectator managers. There are volunteers in charge of VIPs and protocol, ticketing, media, cloak room (at the drop-off points where people are checked and sanitisation protocols are put in place), and more.

While the volunteers train in one of the smaller — yet sizeable — halls at Four Points by Sheraton, other parts of the property are abuzz with preparations of a different kind. It is one thing to erect a makeshift arena with a roof and seating; and completely another to create one that is not only heat-proof and sound-proof, but also equipped to live-stream dozens of matches out to the globe. And yet, preparations for exactly that circumstance are complete.

The makeshift main hall can accommodate 128 matches at a time

The makeshift primary corridor can accommodate 128 matches at a time | Photo Credit: Johan Sathyadas

The lodge’s primary convention corridor, of proportions substantial sufficient for conferences and weddings, is now the smaller chess enviornment, fitted for 49 matches at a time. “The normal flooring here is tile, above which we have put planks. Above the planks, we have put foam to make it sound-proof,” says R Anatharam, vice president of Tamil Nadu Chess Federation and venue-in-charge. On top of the foam sheets is a gray mat, upon which players, volunteers and audiences can walk without the echo of footsteps distracting players from the match of their careers.

Focus being a key part of chess, an entire team of volunteers will be dedicated to just keeping things quiet and managing the spectators — who will be seated at gallery seats along two walls. “Around 150 spectators can be seated in the smaller hall, and 600 in the larger hall, at a time. So, divided into two batches per day, we have the capacity for 1,500 spectators per day,” says Anantharam, who’s on the bottom dealing with operations.

How to observe

Seats are restricted. Tickets will be purchased at

Prices begin from ₹2000

There are particular charges, beginning at ₹200 and ₹300 for college kids, girls and Tamil Nadu Government officers

While most lodges and resorts are booked out for the Olympiad, you may strive for homestays and hostels in Chennai, an hour’s drive away

Cogs in a large wheel

The on-ground preparations for the Olympiad have been afoot for nearly four-and-a-half months. Venue apart, properties in and round Mamallapuram are actually steadily welcoming gamers and volunteers. With 25 lodges being taken up by the chess groups alone, a big majority of the seaside city’s hospitality sector has clearly spelled out duties, together with what to serve and the way.

While Four Points by Sheraton performs host to the Olympiad video games, two-star to five-star properties alongside the ECR, main as much as elements of OMR, had been booked a lot prematurely for the gamers. At Grande Bay Resort, 40 rooms had been reserved for 60 gamers, with 4 rooms as standby in case of emergencies. “Since they are chess players, they will want a quiet environment and good food,” says Muthu Venkatachalam, gross sales supervisor at Grande Bay, including that a lot of the gamers are visiting India for the primary time.

Their prime requirement, Muthu provides, is high-speed web, “in case they wish to have any online training sessions in the rooms.” Players from the identical continent are put up collectively, for consolation and familiarity, provides Anantharam.

Chennai-based consultant chef GS Talwar has come up with an extensive set of menus for the players

Chennai-based marketing consultant chef GS Talwar has give you an intensive set of menus for the gamers. Photo Credit: Johan Sathyadas

Chennai-based marketing consultant chef GS Talwar has give you an intensive set of menus, handed out to every lodge and resort with clear directions about spice ranges, allergen labeling and extra. “It is natural that restaurants want to lean towards cuisines that are their specialty, but with players coming from different countries for the competition in mind, we want them to be served food they are broadly familiar with,” he says.

Besides drinks, reduce fruit, soups, chilly meats and cheese, salads, 4 non-vegetarian primary course objects (from butter hen to meat loaf), 5 vegetarian objects (from gobi manchurian to semolina-based gnocchi), breads, rice and desserts Offered every day, lodges are additionally required to have a reside pasta counter with greens, meats and sauce choices, apart from a second reside counter that varies from day after day.

Chef Talwar’s project included analysis: not solely into the palates of friends, but in addition into the strengths, specialties and capacities of all of the lodges in and round city. “Some of them are stronger in a certain cuisine than others; some have been functioning on shorter staff since the pandemic. We had to keep all of this in mind and come up with meal plans that they all could deliver equally.”

Beyond the board

Since chess is a recreation of the thoughts, the gamers’ downtime kinds an integral part in preparations. Though the Olympiad will see solely someday with no tournaments (August 4), a lot has been deliberate for the gamers.

Now would even be an excellent time to notice that reigning world champion Magnus Carlsen is an avid soccer fan. Anantharam remembers how he liked to kick the ball round when he got here to Chennai in 2013 for the World Championship. And so, Anantharam says, “On the 4th, we plan to take interested players for a friendly football match in Jawarharlal Nehru stadium in Chennai.”

Apart from this, in the primary venue — beside the primary corridor — a separate enviornment stands devoted to leisure actions, workshops and showcases of cultural arts to entertain the gamers. In an try to introduce South Indian performing arts to those that should not within the know, a workshop will likely be held. “Queen’s Commission, which is part of the World Chess Federation, has planned a Bharatanatyam workshop for the women players, arbiters and council members. Trainers from Chitramaya School of Arts, Chennai will be leading the workshop after which a performance will also be held,” says Praphul Zaveri, in-charge of promotional actions. On the identical day, gamers who want to see Mamallapuram and elements of Chennai, will likely be supplied with transport at their comfort.

Back on the venue, within the volunteers’ coaching corridor, Madhuri takes a break from discussing hospitality and advertising and marketing to consider her 40 college students ready again in Mandya. They know she has traveled far to rub shoulders with the very best. She has to deliver again tales to inform.

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