Breaking news: "There will be a Chess Olympiad"

by ChessBase
6/5/2014 – That's the good news the twitter account ChessOlympiadNorway could spread to the chess world. After doubts whether the 41. Chess Olympiad 2014, which will take place from 1. August to 14. August in Tromsø, Norway, could be financed, the Norwegian parliament has come to the rescue. With 12 million Norwegian Crowns (about 1.47 million euros).

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Olympiad in danger – now saved

In the middle of May we reported that the organizers of the 2014 Chess Olympiad, scheduled to be held in Tromsø, Norway, had admitted there was deep concern due to a shortage of funds, and that there was uncertainty of the event being held at all. This came after they petitioned a further 15 million Kroner (roughly 2.5 million USD) from the Ministry of Culture, only to see their request denied. The missing millions NOK was pretty much what the organisers had spent for the FIDE World Cup in Tromsø last August.

But all was not lost: in an interview the Director of the Chess Olympiad, Børge Robertsen, said that if the 15 million Kroner was not allocated, it would mean less hospitality for the participants, and a reduced cultural program and opening ceremony. Chairman Hans Olav Karde, on the other hand, said that the organizers had looked at the numbers and found that the Chess Olympiad could not be implemented without further funds.

Joran Aulin-Jansson, Deputy Director of the Chess Olympiad and the President of the Norwegian Chess Federation, explained that a significant part of the problem stemmed from the record interest in the event. "When we sent the application we expected 140-150 nations. Now it's 181 nations. There has never in history been near that many."

To our report at the time we added the following note:

We have spoken to ogranisers and Chess Federation contacts in Norway and did not find the mood pessimistic or gloomy. They are working hard on a solution, and the prediction is that the Olympiad will go ahead as planned.

Our assessment, which was contradicted by numerous dire reports on chess blogs, turns out to have been correct. Today the following tweet was broadcast by Chess Olympiad organisation:

That is very good news. It seems that politicians changed his mind and provided the Chess Olympiad with additional NOK 12 million, with hopes of that being raised to 15 million. Joran Aulin-Jansson: "Now we can be absolutely certain that there will be an Olympics in Tromsø." Norwegian Chess Federation President "J-J" believes that the current activity in Norwegian chess may have moved the politicians to set aside more money for the Chess Olympiad.

In the last couple of days the Norway Chess 2014 Super-GM in Stavanger had received a lot of positive feedback from the media and the chess community –among other things chess legend Garry Kasparov had said that this may be the world's best chess tournament. "It is clear that Norway Chess 2014 may have contributed to the politicians making their decision," said Aulin-Jansson. "This tournament shows the dimensions of chess. We see how big it is, and having a personality like Kasparov visit is not something that happens every day."

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