Today the 42nd World Chess Olympiad kicked off in Baku. The head of the organizing committee of the Baku Chess Olympiad, Vice-President of the Chess Federation of Azerbaijan, Mahir Mammadov, told Vestnik Kavkaza about the organization of one of the key chess events of the year.
- What can be remembered at the 42nd Olympic Games by its participants and spectators?
- Azerbaijan has great experience of hosting major international events, and not just sports events. Last year we held a fantastic World Chess Cup and the world press noted that it was the best World Cup in history. For us it was a final rehearsal before the Olympiad. 176 countries registered to participate in the 42nd World Chess Olympiad in Baku, 181 men's and 142 women's teams will compete – a record number in the history of Chess Olympiads. All the conditions were created for the Olympiad at a high level, the organizing committee set up in February 2014 by order of the Azerbaijani President, professionally implemented all the processes. As a result of joint work of all the relevant bodies, Baku Crystal Hall is ready to host prestigious events.
- What does this Olympiad mean for Azerbaijan?
- First of all, this is another opportunity to show the world that Azerbaijan is able to host any large-scale competition at a high level. The World Chess Olympiad was attended by more than 3 thousand guests, more than 250 representatives of local and foreign media were accredited. In the days of the Olympiad Baku will also host the next FIDE Congress, which will be attended by representatives of 183 countries. I hope that all chess players, coaches, fans and reporters will feel very comfortable in Baku. Except for an interesting competition at the Olympiad, there's a lot to see in the city and if there is free time, participants will be able to take a tour.
- How do they meet and accommodate such a large number of guests?
- For the convenience of delegations, a simplified visa regime was applied under the presidential decree. All the necessary measures to ensure the safety of athletes were taken. About 500 volunteers are involved in the organizational work. 12 hotels within the city limits, near the Boulevard Ring, were allocated as accommodation for participants, which facilitates the movement of guests of the tournament. In addition, special Chess buses, where you can play chess, run through the city. We all want it to be the best Olympiad in history and we will do our best.
- What are your expectations from the Azerbaijani team?
- Azerbaijan will be represented at the Olympiad by three men's and three women's teams. We always expect great results from the main team, the main goal is to win. The chances of the women's team are not so great, but the men's team has always been one of the strongest in the world. At the last Olympiad in the Norwegian Tromsø we took places from the 2nd to the 5th, we have become champions of Europe twice for the last 8 years. Azerbaijan has enough experienced and award-winning team. There are reasons to expect them win. Although this is sport and everything is possible here, we will try.