Exclusive || Smooth execution of Chess Olympiad will be testimony of India’s ability to host global event: Tamil Nadu Sports Development Minister Siva V Meyyanathan

Chennai, popularly known as Chess Capital of India is geared up to host the 44th FIDE Chess Olympiad, this year. The mightiest of the game will grace the Four Points by Sheraton Mahabalipuram Resort and Convention Centre in Mahabalipuram’s Poonjeri village, a UNESCO Heritage site from July 28 and last till August 10, 2022.

While, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the coveted tournament on Thursday, July 28, The Quotes, got the mind behind organising and pulling off a daunting task into dream reality, Tamil Nadu’s Youth Welfare and Sports Development Minister Siva V Meyyanathan, to discuss different aspects of successfully organising such a global tournament under a strict deadline. Excerpts of the conversation.

Congratulations on hosting 44th FIDE Chess Olympiad in Chennai. It’s one of the highly-anticipated tournaments of the year and some of the mightiest in the game of chess are arriving in the state to participate. What does it mean for the state to host such a global tournament?

Answer: The state of Tamil Nadu takes immense pride in organizing and hosting a global tournament of such stature. It’s our extreme pleasure and we are honored to welcome the best minds of Chess in our beautiful and traditionally-rich capital of the state i.e., Chennai.

As, rightly termed by our honorable Chief Minister MK Stalin, Chennai is the Chess Capital of India and has given majority of grand masters to the country. Tamil Nadu will leave no stone unturned to make 44th Chess Olympiad as one of the most successful sporting events of the year. The marque event has also given us opportunity to showcase our potential and capabilities to host the competition of such stature.

We want to assure the players and everyone who is travelling along with them as well as the tourists, that we have made all the necessary arrangements. We welcome players of all ages from different countries and would like to tell them to enjoy their game and stay in the city.

As a result of the preparation, we created a World record of maximum live games in Open Rapid Chess Tournament created in Chennai on Sunday. It attracted 1,414 entries and became the largest open competition ever where all the games were played on electronic boards.

Were you expecting such a turnaround and how did the team feel after successfully conducting the test event?

Answer: Prior to the actual event, we had planned to conduct a mock drill to evaluate our preparation. We are extremely delighted to pull off a successful mock drill and simultaneously, notched up a world record of maximum number of live games in an open rapid chess tournament.

Initially we were nervous and held so many discussions at all level to chalk out the plan, we faced several challenges and obstacles but I believe honest approach towards the mission brought us here. The 44th Chess Olympiad will be testimony of the fact that India has the capacity to host global tournaments of any magnitude.

The chess Olympiad is being held in India for the first time and the tournament will be held at Mahabalipuram. Players from over 180 countries will be participating in the Olympiad. Kindly let our readers understand what steps have been taken by the state government to make the proceedings smooth.

In order to ensure smooth proceedings of the event, we roped in the best minds in the business and collaborated with them to provide amenities like road facilities, power & water supply, parking, hop-on hop-off bus services for tourists, accommodation and control room facilities to assist participants, guests and public.

Wide publicity and promotion of the events took place at various level to inject interest and awareness about the event amongst the public. Our teams went through various layers of mock-drills to check the preparations. Technical nitty-gritty has been carefully fine-tuned. Each aspect of the event is being meticulously planned and executed by the respective task forces.

In his review meeting, the Chief Minister has instructed to make specific arrangements for the top-notch players coming from all-around. Kindly help us to understand what are the special arrangements and how the security is being beefed up to keep everything intact.

Players from different countries have started arriving in Chennai. More than 2000 sportsmen and women are expected to participate. Their reception, accommodation and various facilities for a hassle-free stay have been arranged. Security arrangements has been given top priority.

CM has also stressed on the importance of digitalization to deliver the information smoothly. Please share some information regarding the same.

Digitalization plays a vital role to communicate information in a better way and also to quicken the processes. CM has categorically directed to use digital technology to execute the things related to Chess Olympiad. An app has been developed to deliver the information smoothly.

What were the initiatives taken from the state government to make the marquee tournament popular in the state? Could you please share some such initiatives taken by the state government?

Wide publicity and promotion has been given for the event. Painting the Napier bridge, Official Mascot Thambi, popularising it and the event through displays in public transport, advertisements, theme songs by popular musicians, campaigns like selfie with Thambi, walkathons, cycle rallies etc are some of the steps taken.

Various promotional activities are being carried out across Tamil Nadu to popularise the event. To further popularise the 44th International Olympiad, the State Government on Sunday conducted a special walkathon from Napier Bridge to Light House. An awareness cycle rally was also conducted from Lighthouse to Napier Bridge.

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