Tuesday 20 September 2022

44th FIDE Chess Olympiad Report

 

- By  LAMBODAR PADHAN

Information and Selection:

I got to know about the volunteering opportunity at the chess olympiad by ChessBase India YouTube channel's community post. Then I filled the Google form for selection on 30th April, 2022. I was shortlisted for virtual interview and it was scheduled on 26th May, 2022. The interview was taken by Prateek Mohan (Volunteers’ Head). After my interview was over, I thought I got selected for the volunteer program. But I didn’t get any response. I got disappointed. 

However, as everything is destined, on 13th of July I got to know that I was in the waiting list. Certain formalities such as submitting journey tickets, character certificate, passport details, etc. were necessary. I had uploaded every details on 15th July. And on the next day I got the selection letter from All India Chess Federation (AICF).


Journey to Chennai:

  Journey from Sambalpur Junction railway station 

I started my journey by train on 20th of July and reached there on 22nd July at about 12am. My train was running late and olympiad bus left me due to delayed arrival. Also Chennai was welcoming me with heavy rain. I had to book a cab to reach my hotel.

Accommodation and Training:

My accommodation was allotted at Mermaid resort. Accommodation facility was beyond my expectations. The resort is far from the city, full of natural scenarios, playgrounds, swimming pools, etc. There I attended Volunteers’ training programme for two days along with about 80 volunteers. 

  During the training session

 Basically we were trained for meet and greet, hospitality, communication etc. Our trainers engaged us by group activities, fun games and motivated to work as a team. We got olympiad souvenirs such as t-shirts, track pants, cap, badge, notepad, etc.           

Receiving volunteer’s training certificate       

Visit to the venue(Four Points by Sheraton Mahabalipuram Resort & Convention Center):

After the training programme, Jaikar sir took us to the venue. There we were motivated by the olympiad director Bharat Singh Chauhan and volunteers’ head Prateek Mohan. They told us that we are the pillars of the event. Then we helped in setting chess pieces , clocks and chairs. 


Hall 2 in making                                 

                    Faheem Sait(Master trainer) & Prateek Mohan

  Primary Role & Responsibilities:

I was in transport team (primary). On the next day, transport volunteers met to transport head Gurudayal Prajapati. He informed us about the work and the resources we have. There will be a protective security officer (PSO) with you. You have to contact with him for any issues. Motor vehicle inspectors (MVIs) will be there to provide vehicles for transport. He told that everything is planned and you have to just follow the instructions. He selected some team leaders under whom we have to work. I was allotted at Chennai international terminal for airport duty. There we received many players, arbiters, and FIDE congress delegates. On the first day we received less than 50 people. For next two days we received more than 500 people.


 Received Vishy sir at the airport 

 I assisted in transport of players and arbiters to their respective hotels. Where accommodation volunteers were there to help them in check-in. After three days, airport duty was over for some days. 

                               Dropped Australian players at their hotel                                   

  During shuttle service                                          

                                         Received Dr. Sanjay Kapoor (AICF President)


Opening ceremony:

On the opening ceremony I escorted the players and delegates from Netherland, Croatia, Greece and Spain to Jawaharlal Nehru indoor stadium, Chennai. There we enjoyed the cultural events followed by speeches of Thiru Siva. V. Meyyanathan (Tamilnadu Sports Minister), Shri Anurag Thakur(Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports of India), Arkady Dvorkovich(FIDE President), Thiru M. K. Stalin(Chief Minister of Tamilnadu), Shri Narendra Modi (Prime Minister of India). 

         Going to opening ceremony 

  Fusion of eight classical dances of India 

Our Prime Minister handshaking with FIDE President

During Game Days:

For next three days, I transferred plyers from Gokulam Park Sabari hotel to venue and bring them back to hotel. I coordinated with team members and P. Anitha(MVI) if everyone returned to the hotel safely or not. During the playing hours, I used to roam in expo area or activity area and rarely in food court. In front of food court, there was an open stage where India Rocks cultural festival was taking place sponsored by Tamilnadu tourism. There was a giant chess board which was a centre of attraction.

At Queen’s Pavilion       

8 year old girl Randa Sedar(Youngest player of the olympiad) playing with

Meyyappan. M(Volunteer)

                                                   

Food Court

Media persons with giant chess pieces

When I joined to venue team:

I worked at venue by helping in setting players’ card, putting match pairings on to the notice board. Then I worked at store room where we packed chess sets, souvenir bags and helped in doing tally of the products. Before the last round of the olympiad, a group picture of volunteers was taken. I got to know that I have night shift airport duty for departure of players. So I visited the venue for the last time as I can’t attend the closing ceremony. 

On departure duty:

On 9th August, I was sent to domestic airport for departure of players. But there were more players at international terminal. So, we were called by Prateek sir to international terminal. We were giving instructions to players that they should be ready with their passports and tickets. 

Next day scene at domestic airport: 

There was long que of players at departure gate. S. L. Narayanan to me: “I am S. L. Narayanan and was playing for India team A at the chess olympiad. I am getting late to my flight. Please help me to get in.” He could have entered the que. Although he is one of the top chess players in India, he introduced himself and requested to get in. Such a man with simplicity. He entered the airport. Then Hari and Arjun came. We took a selfie with them.

     With Hari and Arjun 

Major Difficulties faced :

Sometimes we were in trouble due to lack of information such as unexpected arrivals and unexpected departures. Sometimes we lacked manpower as some volunteers got fever and their replacement was not done. Sometimes we have to do overduty if replacement team was not able to reach on time. After the opening ceremony, I was unable to find a lady player from Spain whom I escorted to the programme. Finding a person in the footfall of thousands was the major challenge I faced. However, I tried my level best to accomplish the assigned duties. Although I am an introvert person, I made some good friends there. I have taken fond memories from the olympiad.

I left Chennai on 11th August and seven days later I got a sum of 18,068₹(Stipend 10k + Bonus 5k + Traveling expenses) into my bank account. I learned to adopt to new teams and working environments. I interacted with many players while traveling. Everyone was praising about the event. In the very short time, India evolved as the best chess olympiad host country. This is really once in a lifetime experience for me.

With the Olympiad Director Bharat Singh Chauhan

           The volunteers team 


 

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