2012 Chess Olympiad: Opening ceremony

8/27/2012 – The event is being staged in the WOW Hotel and Convention Center, just minutes away from the airport, where many of the top teams and all the dignitaries are staying. On Monday the technical meeting was held, and then the spectacular opening ceremony, with a rich and colourful cultural program, including the often extremely vigorous traditional Turkish dances. Impressions of the opening day.

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The 40th Chess Olympiad is scheduled to take place in the Turkish metropole of Istanbul, from August 27 to September 10th, 2012. The Olympiad is a biennial chess tournament in which teams from all over the world compete against each other. The event is organised by FIDE, which selects the host nation. The previous Olympiad was held in 2010 in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia, the next will be in Tromsø, Norway. The first was held in Paris, France, in 1924, with 16 nations participating. The last Olympiad had 143 nations, 1294 competitors, and included no fewer than 254 grandmasters, 65 WGMs, 159 IMs, and 90 WIMs. This time the organisers are expecting even more.


Arrival in Istanbul by air, with a view of the geographic border between Europe and Asia


The WOW Hotel and Convention Center where the Olympiad is being held

Captains' meeting


Monday evening: the first item on the agenda was the technical meeting convened in
the Convention Hall of the WOW Hotel.


The Chief Arbiter IA Panagiotis Nikolopoulos


158 teams are registered for this Olympiad, of whom 128 attended the meeting

Some important announcements:

  • Four players from each team are allowed in the playing hall
  • The fifth (reserve) player can observe the play from the spectators' stand.
  • The team captains must remain behind their players during the entire round, with no visual contact allowed.
  • Discussions between the players are forbidden, neither are the draw offers before the 30th move.
  • The Zero Tolerance Rule will be in effect.
  • Mobile phones are not allowed in the playing hall.

The Opening Ceremony

The opening ceremony in the WOW Convention Center started with a rich and colorful cultural program, which included the often extremely vigorous traditional Turkish dances. They were performed in front of a giant backdrop projection and accompanied by very intensely amplified music. Here are our impressions without comments.


Filming all the action with her smartphone: Women's World Champion Hou Yifan


The Chinese teams, who are in contention for medals in both sections


Turkish Chess Federation President Ali Nihat Yazici, FIDE President Kirsan
Ilyumzhinov, and the Minister of Youth and Sports Suat Kilic greet the participants.

Ali Nihat Yazici thanked the government, the Minstry of Youth and Sports, the FIDE leadership, the city management and Mayor of Istanbul, and the sponsors for the essential support for the 2012 Olympiad. He said that chess is highly developed now in Turkey and the number of chess players exceeds 235,000, with additional 60,000 chess trainers and coaches working in the chess clubs.

The FIDE President Kirsan Ilymzhinov: "The representatives of 158 national chess federations have arrived to Istanbul to participate in the prestigious Tournament of Nations. This is the new record in the Olympiad's history. The players will demonstrate their skill and strength of character in tense matches for the main team trophy in chess: the Cups of Hamilton-Russell, Vera Menchik and Nona Gaprindashvili. I would like to express our sincere gratitude for holding the event on such high level. This Olympiad is another confirmation of high authority of the Turkish chess school."

In the end there was the drawing of colors for round one, which resulted in the top seeded team in the open section, Russia, getting black on the first board, and the top seed team in the women section, China, getting white.

Photos from the official web site and Frederic Friedel


Schedule of the Olympiad with Playchess commentators

There will be live commentary of the most interesting games on Playchess.com, beginning around half an hour after the games have started

27 August 2012 Arrival, Opening
Playchess commentary
28 August 2012 15.00 1st Round
Reeh/Müller
29 August 2012 15.00 2nd Round
Daniel King
30 August 2012 15.00 3rd Round
Valery Lilov
31 August 2012 15.00 4th Round
Daniel King
1 September 2012 15.00 5th Round
Lawrence Trent
2 September 2012   Free Day
3 September 2012 15.00 6th Round
Daniel King
4 September 2012 15.00 7th Round
Yasser Seirawan
5 September 2012 15.00 8th Round
Daniel King
6 September 2012 15.00 9th Round
Yasser Seirawan
7 September 2012 15.00 10th Round
Yasser Seirawan
8 September 2012   Free Day
9 September 2011 11.00 11th Round, Closing
Daniel King
10 September 2011 Departure

Some hours after the end of each round we will be posting video summaries by Daniel King on our news page. If possible they will appear on the same night, otherwise early the next morning. We also expect best-game video commentary from Andrew Martin.


Pre-Olympiad reports

2012 Chess Olympiad: Women's Teams in Istanbul
26.08.2012 – The Russians dominated the last Olympiad with a perfect score, followed by China four points behind. This time, with the two highest rated players on boards one and two, the Chinese women are going to mount a serious challenge. But we mustn't forget Georgia, which monopolised the Women’s World Championship for 30 consecutive years. Olympiad preview by Yorkshire Chess.

2012 Chess Olympiad: teams and players
26.08.2012 – The biggest chess event of the year is just two days away, with teams arriving and preparing for round one on Tuesday. The top seeds are Russia, Ukraine, Armenia, Hungary, Azerbaijan, China, USA. One of these teams has won four consecutive Golds in the past – can you guess which? Learn more about the leading teams in the Yorkshire Chess Association's excellent Olympiad preview.

Kramnik and Klitschko: heavyweight preparation
25.08.2012 – The chess Olympiad starts on Monday, the teams will be swarming into Istanbul from their various training camps. One of the players had a somewhat unusual session: Vladimir Kramnik spent some days in Austria with his old friend and WBA Heavyweight Boxing Champion Vitali Klitschko, who himself was preparing for a tough match. We bring you a photo report of the unusual training session.

2012 Istanbul Chess Olympiad preview
21.08.2012 – After the London 2012 Olympics, in which we saw a number of records fall with participants from 204 nations, the upcoming Chess Olympiad in Istanbul, Turkey, should be no less impressive. Players hailing from over 160 countries are expected. The official website is already up with a list of the many teams and their makeups, and expect to enjoy photos and videos as well. Here is a preview.

Istanbul Chess Olympiad – Turkish teams youngest ever
20.06.2012 – At a Chess Olympiad the host nation has the right to field three teams. Typically the third team will have 2500+ GMs. Not so in Istanbul, where the Turkish Chess Federation is giving youngsters a chance. The average age in the third Open Category team is – 8.2 years! They may get clobbered by the likes of Morozevich and Grischuk in the first round, but watch them playing lesser countries.
Chess Olympiad in Istanbul – officials from seven countries banned
09.06.2012 – At a recent FIDE meeting the Turkish Chess Federation, which is host to the 40th Chess Olympiad, was given a list of arbiters for the event. TCF President Ali Nihat Yazici rejected any officials from seven countries – England, France, Georgia, Germany, Switzerland, Ukraine and the USA – for supporting court cases against FIDE and causing financial damage. The affected federations have protested.
Chess Olympiad in Istanbul – official web site up
06.04.2012 – The 40th Chess Olympiad is scheduled to take place in the Turkish metropole of Istanbul, from August 27 to September 10th, 2012. With just over four months to go the national federations will have to make haste with the arrangements. The official web site, launched this week, provides information on rules, travel and accommodation. Details, contacts, videos.

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