44th Chess Olympiad 2022: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the world’s biggest chess event – the 44th International Chess Olympiad– at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai Thursday. It will is scheduled to take place from July 28 to August 10 at Poonjeri village in Mamallapuram.
On July 22, Minister of Environment – Climate Change and Youth Welfare and Sports Siva V Meyyanathan tweeted that according to the directions of the state’s CM M K Stalin, a review meeting to discuss the arrangements for the event with officials was also conducted.
The Olympiad was originally scheduled to take place in Russia but due to the ongoing Russian-Ukraine war, the International Chess Federation (FIDE) started looking for new bidders. India emerged the topper among other countries and won the opportunity to host the high-profile event for the first time. The Union Government provided the hosting rights of the world’s biggest chess event to Tamil Nadu.
Chief Minister M K Stalin said the authorities are expecting over 2,000 participants from 187 countries across the globe to take part in the event for which the state government has set aside Rs 92 crore. On June 19, PM Modi flagged off the first-ever torch relay for the Chess Olympiad. The torch was aimed to be taken to 75 cities within the country before arriving in Mamallapuram.
The Tamil Nadu Government also announced a holiday for schools, colleges, and other non-essential government offices in four districts for Thursday, July 28, in view of the opening day of the Olympiad.
Tamil Nadu CM Stalin chaired a meeting at the venue a few weeks ago to review the arrangements ahead of the event. He directed the officers to set up a 24×7 control room to assist the participants, guests and public, and ensure that the accommodation and other facilities such as parking, water and power supply, road facilities, etc are being taken care of. The authorities have been directed to provide wide publicity of the event in all districts.
The Greater Chennai Police have put in place a five-tier security arrangement and have deployed 22,000 personnel ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the city on July 28. Flying of drones and other unmanned aerial vehicles has been banned in the city limits on July 28 and 29 under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code. According to a statement issued by the police, under the City Commissioner of Police, four Additional Commissioners, seven officers of the rank of Joint Commissioner/DIG and 26 officers in the rank of Deputy Commissioner/Superintendent have been deployed for security duty.
The state government has already started dedicated efforts to give maximum promotion for the mega event. The official mascot ‘Thambi’, a horse clad in the traditional Veshti –Sattai, and the logo was also unveiled.
Stalin flagged off buses bearing ‘Namma Chess, Namma Pride’ promotional slogans to travel across the city.
The teaser, directed by Vignesh Sivan, was shot at the city’s British-era Napier Bridge near Marina Beach and also at ancient monuments in Mamallapuram. The video featuring Stalin and also Oscar winner A R Rahman was set against the backdrop resembling a chessboard.
Apart from giving a makeover to the entire bridge in Chennai, the mascot Thambi was also placed at Namma Chennai selfie point, at ECR and other areas. Billboards featuring the details of the event are installed at major bus stands.
Promotions were also done at Chennai Metro stations. In other cities such as Coimbatore and Trichy, the district administration had made arrangements like pasting stickers on the buses as part of boosting publicity for the event.
To make the programme more interesting, the organisers have announced a few contests as well where the people have been asked to take pictures with the mascot and post them on social media to stand a chance to win tickets to the opening ceremony at Nehru Indoor Stadium.
You can book tickets by logging into https://tickets.aicf.in./
There are two playing halls – Hall 1 and Hall 2. According to the website, the prices for Hall 1 are high as it will feature top ranking teams (28 boards in open and 1 in women’s section).
To witness the competition at Hall 2, the ticket price is Rs 2,000 for one person, and Rs 6000 for a foreigner. Students aged below 19 years, women and Tamil Nadu government staff can avail the ticket at a discounted price of Rs 200.
The price of a ticket to Hall 1 that will feature top-ranking teams is Rs 3000, whereas a foreign national needs to pay Rs 8,000. Students under 19 years, women and Tamil Nadu government staff will get the benefit of discounted ticket price at Rs 300.
According to the organisers, the visitors would be allowed to enter the venue after a thorough security check. As no electronic device, including mobile phones, is allowed inside the tournament hall, the gadgets of the visitors can be deposited at the counter.
From Monday, the Tamil Nadu Tourism Department is planning to run five hop-on hop-off buses for tourists to and from Mamallapuram, free of cost.
Speaking to Indianexpress.com Sandeep Nanduri, Managing Director, Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation (TTDC) said the buses would start services from Madhya Kailash and will run via the IT corridor Rajiv Gandhi Salai to Sholinganallur junction and then take the East Coast Road route.
“The hop-on hop-off bus services were in action 10 years ago. Now we are relaunching them alongside this Olympiad. We have identified 19 stops, a total of five buses will be used to take the visitors every one hour and it will be free of cost,” he said.
Further, the Tamil Nadu Tourism Department is planning to rebrand the auto-rickshaws in the coastal town as ‘Tourist-friendly Autos’. Close to 25 auto-rickshaws have been identified and they are set to be decked up in new designs.
Director Nanduri said the department is providing behavioural training for the auto drivers so that passengers do not experience issues, especially on fleecing. The drivers would also provide a snippet about the destinations to tourists.