Chess Olympiad in Dresden – the Opening Ceremony

11/13/2008 – German Interior Minister Wolfgang Schäuble was present, FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov could not attend, owing to a car accident he suffered in Moscow on the previous day. The 38th Chess Olympiad began with a spectacular opening ceremony, which took place in a giant ice skating hall (and on ice!). Delegations from 152 nations saw a very impressive show. Pictures and videos.

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38th Chess Olympiad Dresden 2008

The City of Dresden, the German Chess Federation (DSB) and FIDE have the honour of inviting all FIDE member Federations around the world to participate in the

38th Chess Olympiad Dresden 2008 (12th-25th November 2008)

and the

79th FIDE Congress Dresden 2008 (17th-25th November 2008)

which will take place in Dresden, Saxony, Germany.

The opening ceremony


Twenty-four hours before the start of the Olympiad: everything in place in the main hall


An hour before the start of the opening ceremony: preparations in the ice skating stadium


A cheer-leader number warms up the audience


The performance is very leggy and very athletic


Balancing acts that leave the audience breathless


And impossibly high girl tossing (all survived without a scratch)


The final spectacular pyramid


A German pop singer on skates


Scenes and songs from the Abba musical "Chess"


A German talent show winner Max Mutzke


The German Minister for the Interior, Wolfgang Schäuble, declares the games opened

FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov was not present at the opening of the Olympiad, as his car had been involved in a traffic accident in Moscow on the previous day and Kirsan had to be hospitalised. We were told by his niece Danara that the injuries were not serious or life-threatening. It does not appear that there was any malice involved in the accident – just a woman driver who ignored the traffic policeman's instructions and drove her Ford Focus into Illumzhinov's Mercedes.


Pictures and videos of Ilyumzhinov's accident in Moscow are available at this "Life" report


In lieu of the injured Ilyumzhinov the Honorary President of FIDE, Florencio Campomanes, officiates


...and is led gingerly across the slippery ice after his part is over


The delegations and teams from from national teams are present in the galleries


Chess youth on the ice, bearing the banners and flags of 152 different nations


Wait a minute, isn't there something missing?


GM Levon Aronian considering a protest since the Armenian group did not have a flag


Just kidding. The good-natured Armenian poses with Indian player Mohota


Two very talented ladies from India: Tanya Sachdev and Harika Dronavalli


While we are at it: here is the entire Indian team, with trainer Elisbar Ubilava left


Viktor and Petra Korchnoi pose with the Iranian women's team

Pictures by Frederic Friedel in Dresden

Video by Europe Echecs


Video reports provided by Gérard Demuydt and GM Robert Fontaine by Europe Echecs

Live coverage on Playchess

A selection of 32 games will be broadcast live on our chess server Playchess.com. There will also be live video interviews with players after their games. If you are not a member of the Playchess community (which as of Monday, November 8th 2008 had 307,966 registered users) you can download the free PGN reader ChessBase Light, which gives you immediate access. You can also use the program to read, replay and analyse the PGN games. If you have ChessBase, Fritz or any Fritz-compatible program (Rybka, Hiarcs, Shredder) you can automatically access the server. All these programs come with a one-year subscription to Playchess. Note that if you have a trial account you may not be able to watch the games if too many registered members are logged in.

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