Greetings from the 2012 Chess Olympiad in Istanbul!

Upon arrival at Istanbul International airport, right after passport control, friendly staff members of the Olympiad Organization welcomed all the participants at the welcome table. They then directed them to the “Olympiad buses” which transported everyone to their respective hotels.

All Olympiad activities are held in hotels and conference centers nearby the Istanbul airport .

The Opening Ceremony started at 9:30pm at the Conference Center at the WOW Airport hotel. It started out with a cultural program, focusing on various Turkish folk dances. Then several speeches followed, including from Mr. Suat Kilic, the Minister of Youth and Sports of Turkey, Mr. Ali Nihat Yazici (head of Organizing Committee), FIDE VP, and finally FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov. He officially opened the 40th Chess Olympiad.

Representatives of the Arbiters (headed by Chief Arbiter Mr. Nikolopoulos of Greece) pledged that they will all do their very best to be fair and impartial in all their decisions during the entire event.

Towards the very end of the opening ceremony, the traditional ceremony of drawing of lots also took place. Two young ladies came to stage, each holding a nice red box, one with a White Pawn hidden in it, and the other one Black.

First it was decided that the highest ranked “Open” team of Russia will start with Black on board one, in Round 1), while the top ranked Chinese Women’s team will start with White tomorrow on board one.

The general ambiance was great, which is typically for all Chess Olympiads. It is always wonderful to see chess friends from all around the world, many of whom it is the only time we all meet at the bi-annual Chess Olympiads.

Chess Daily News from Susan Polgar
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