11 August 2016
Eteri Kublashvili's review from Baku.
All in all, it is already less than a month's time separating us from the start of 42nd Chess Olympiad in Baku. I arrived in the Azerbaijani capital for a few days in the heat of final preparations for the prime team tournament of the year to see for myself how seriously and meticulously the organizational process is set up and going.
The magnificent Baku has in recent years turned into a venue for a number of major events such as the Eurovision, the European Games, the Formula-1 stage, the World Chess Cup... The Azerbaijani organizers have set a very high bar, giving athletes and visitors, heading for Baku, joy and confidence that everything is going to be fine. I have no doubt that the upcoming Olympiad will be yet another outstanding event both for Baku and the the entire country in general.
The Operating Committee, headed by Mahir Mamedov -- its Director and Vice President of the Azerbaijani Chess Federation -- carries out a tremendous amount of preparatory works. Organizers are paying very close attention to all aspects, beginning with such issues as setting up necessary conditions in the playhall, facilitating visa applications, getting through the airport customs, putting up exhibition stands in shopping malls and ending with installing countdown clocks around the city. They are also busy handling logistic issues, kooking into ways of speedy accommodation of newly-arrived delegations, preparing the opening ceremony, and developing an additional program - just to name a few.
A countdown clock at the Azneft square
There is expected to arrive a record number of chess players, which will be hosted by the Baku Crystal Hall, built in 2012 for the Eurovision. Enormous playhall premises will not only signify comfort for all participants and spectators, but will also allow creating comfortable environment for a variety of technical services and mass media since all key "spots" are relatively close to each other. An extensive other-than-chess program is in store for guests and participants in a vast exhibition hall, where exhibition stands, display of photographs, as well as a lot of other attractive activities will be organized.
The playhall cannot but amaze you with its dimensions
Every possible detail is taken care of in the field of logistics, the transport department doing its best to assure participants' maximum comfort during shuttles between hotels and the playing hall. A lot of volunteers will be there ready to assist delegations when required.
Chess-themed cabs with the Crystal Hall as a theme object
Not only do all Organizing Committee employees know to work well, as is peculiar to true professionals, but also to recreate in style. Your correspondent was invited to a corporate dinner: it was a lot of fun, but the conversation would inevitable come back to the main point. I think that such events should open not only a second, but a third breath even, because while the Olympiad is not that far away, there is still a lot of things to catch up with.
I wish stamina and endurance to all those who take part in the event organization, as well as good luck at the finish line connecting us with the event. Below our readers can find some pictures, as well as an embedded promotional video clip prepared by Chesscast, which will be in charge of the live video broadcasting from the Olympiad.