28 C
Mumbai
Wednesday, September 28, 2022

How did India pull off a successful Chess Olympiad?


.

Not the big fancy sporting hubs of or Delhi, but a town famous for its tourism and historical spectacles, Mamallapuram is hosting the Chess Olympiad. Located about 50-km from Chennai, this is the second big event the Tamil Nadu’s coastal town has anchored in recent times. The first being a political one — an informal summit between Prime Minister Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping two years ago.


.


Mamallapuram’s excellent transport connectivity, handful of luxury star hotels and resorts with beach facing rooms to incorporate influx of VVIPs, and the historical importance worked in favour of the seaport town. Also the relatively calmer environment, as compared to the big cities, meant that players, after the games, would relax in the lap of nature.


.


After the event was pulled out of Russia due to the Ukraine war, the All India Chess Federation (AICF) sniffed an opportunity. With no financial backing or sponsors at the time, the federation went out of its way to show its interest in hosting the event.


.


But, to host an international event of such a scale– that usually takes years to organise– the AICF was racing against the time. This is where the state and central government authorities stepped in. The Tamil Nadu government backed the federation by guaranteeing $10 million to put up a bid in the first place. Together, the state and the centre have allocated Rs 100 crore for the event. The Central ministries wasted no time in clearing the visas for players from over 180 countries.


.


India’s international standing in the world of chess also helped. In the last eight years, Indian chess grandmasters have more than doubled to 75. India has the world’s largest chess-playing population with 33,000 internationally rated players. Despite several controversies and infightings, the Chess federation came out with flying colours in a nurturing long-term Chess ecosystem.


.


The 44th edition of the Chess Olympiad, which is held every two years, has a record participation with 343 teams from 187 countries. Six Indian teams are competing in the Olympiad – three in each section. Five-time world champion Viswanathan Anand opted not to play in the Olympiad and has taken over the mentor role for youngsters in the Indian side.


.


To accommodate over 2,000 players in the mix, the national chess Federation moved proactively at breakneck speed to rope in major sponsors. In addition, the AICF worked out subsidies for national federations, which lacked the resources to send teams.


.

Several international players have taken to social media platforms to laud the arrangements.


The organisers have also pulled out all stops and went on a marketing blitzkrieg in making the Olympiad a success and also to take the event deep into India and around the world.

.

with the iconic Napier Bridge wearing chequered back and white look, a spectacle of an opening ceremony involving A R Rahman and Rajinikanth was held and a ubiquitous mascot Thambi, with folded-hand greetings, is featured everywhere from milk packets to billboards.

.


The sponsors and authorities were also a step ahead by adopting new technologies like virtual reality and artificial intelligence to give an immersive experience to the fans. Tech Mahindra has launched Fan Nxt where users can track the board moves of top players in the event.

.


A successful Chess Olympiad will for sure put India on a high pedestal, showcasing its abilities to host such events of scale, and hopefully more such events will follow. It will also help make chess become more mainstream.

.

Dear Reader,

Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.

We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor




First Published: Tue, August 02 2022. 07:00 IST




























Latest news
Related news