Spectacular Opening Ceremony of the 43rd Chess Olympiad in Batumi Print
Saturday, 22 September 2018 19:22
opening idThe 43rd Chess Olympiad was opened with a solemn but highly entertaining ceremony, held at the Black Sea Arena, attended by the players, captains and officials of the 185 participating countries.

The ceremony started with a play re-enacting the legend of the invention of chess and the famous "wheat and chessboard problem" and then the Goodwill Ambassadors of the 43rd Chess Olympiad addressed the guests through video messages.

On the stage in the Black Sea Arena the speeches were delivered by Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sports of Georgia Mr Mikheil Batiashvili, Chairman of the Government of the Autonomous Republic of Adjara Mr Tornike Rizhvadze, FIDE Deputy President Mr Georgios Makropoulos, and President of Georgia Mr Giorgi Margvelashvili.

Mr Makropoulos delivered an impressive speech, stressing the need for a new era of politically and financially independent FIDE and presenting a very positive vision.

"I am certain that the Organizing Committee will do everything possible to have one of the best Chess Olympiads in the history." Mr Makropoulos said, adding "FIDE, National Chess Federations, chess players, we must all demand the best for our sport, for our game and for the image of FIDE worldwide. We have great weapons in this fight! Famous chess champions, new technologies, Chess in Schools and of course the national chess federations, who work very hard and with great dignity to develop chess in their countries!"

Mr Makropoulos opened the Olympiad: "I declare the games open, celebrating the 43rd Batumi Chess Olympiad!" (Full speech below)


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Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sports of Georgia Mr Mikheil Batiashvili giving a speech


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Chairman of the Government of the Autonomous Republic of Adjara Mr Tornike Rizhvadze giving a speech


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FIDE Deputy President Mr Georgios Makropoulos giving a speech


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President of Georgia Mr Giorgi Margvelashvili giving a speech


The anthems of Georgia and FIDE were followed by the defile of flags, the trademark Georgian polyphonic songs, traditional dances, a DJ performance, a rock band, State Symphony Orchestra and Georgian National Ballet, all coupled with impressive choreography and visual effects.


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"Today is a very special day and we are happy to share this moment with you", the announcer said before inviting the Chief Arbiter Takis Nikolopoulos, the Batumi Olympiad Goodwill Ambassador Viswanathan Anand and Georgian chess star Nana Dzagnidze to the stage to perform the drawing of colors.


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The colors were to be decided by white and black pearls hidden inside the seashells. Viswanathan Anand picked the white pearl, meaning that the top seeded team in the Open section - USA will start the Olympiad with white pieces on the top board. Nana Dzagnidze picked the black pearl and the top seeded team in the Women section - Russia will play with black pieces on the top board.


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Vishy Anand picking a white pearl


At the end of the ceremony there was huge fireworks show in the skies above the Black Sea Arena.

The ceremony was broadcasted live on the Georgian TV First Channel.

The first round of the competition will start on 24th September at 15:00 local time. There will be 185 teams competing in the Open section (full list here) and 151 teams in the Women section (full list here).

For more information visit the official website of the 43rd Chess Olympiad.


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President of Georgia Mr Giorgi Margvelashvili with Georgian organizers and the guests


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Former Women's World Champion Mrs Susan Polgar, President of Georgia Mr Giorgi Margvelashvili, FIDE Deputy President Mr Georgios Makropoulos and ECU President Mr Zurab Azmaiparashvili


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FIDE Deputy President Mr Georgios Makropoulos with Georgian chess stars Nana Aleksandria, Nana Ioseliani and Maia Chiburdanidze


The full speech of FIDE Deputy President Mr Georgios Makropoulos:

Dear chess friends,

Welcome to the 43rd Batumi Chess Olympiad!

Dear Georgian friends! Congratulations for a spectacular opening ceremony!

I am certain that the Organizing Committee will do everything possible to have one of the best Chess Olympiads in the history.

I have said many times in the past months that FIDE must and will move to a new era! Today, the Georgian organizers have made one big step towards this! And we all have many more steps to make, in order to achieve what is better for chess, what is better for FIDE and the 189 national chess federations!

Georgia is a country of chess legends, such as Nona Gaprindashvilli and Maia Chiburdanidze who held for 29 years the women's world champion title. Independent Georgia has won Olympiads 4 times. World and European level tournaments have been organized in Batumi for 20 years now, and I would like to thank my good friend, the European Chess Union President Zurab Azmaiparashvili.

But an Olympiad is, of course, the highest difficulty level. I know it personally since the memories from when I organized the Olympiads in 1984 and 1988 in Greece are still vivid - and I also know that the active support from the state is necessary to organize an Olympiad. This is why we all have to give special thanks to the former Prime Minister and greatest Georgian Maecenas, Bidzina Ivanishvili! We also have to thank the Georgian Chess Federation.

Each chess Olympiad reminds us the Olympic dream that we have for chess, to one day be included in the Olympic Games. FIDE is already a member of the IOC and we are grateful for the examples and the guidance that the IOC gives us, for Good Governance and a politically and financially independent FIDE.

The Olympic motto is Citius, Altius, Fortius! Faster, higher, stronger! FIDE’s motto is Gens Una Sumus! We are all one family! Let’s do it! Let’s be united, let’s fight for the best, in our games, over the chess board and besides the chess board, in our national federations, and in our world chess federation!

This must be our goal! FIDE, National Chess Federations, chess players, we must all demand the best for our sport, for our game and for the image of FIDE worldwide. We have great weapons in this fight! Famous chess champions, new technologies, Chess in Schools and of course the national chess federations, who work very hard and with great dignity to develop chess in their countries!

We must use this talent, we must make the right moves, and I promise you we have a winning position to accomplish our dreams for a new era for FIDE, for a FIDE which will achieve the Olympic destiny of chess, for a FIDE where everybody will be proud to be a member, proud to represent chess in their countries, proud to have a strong, active, independent voice!

I declare the games open, celebrating the 43rd Batumi Chess Olympiad!




Batumi is ready for the start of the Chess Olympiad

The Organizing Committee of the 43rd Chess Olympiad is concluding the preparation for the start of the event. At the same time the players, arbiters and officials are arriving to Batumi.

The Chess Olympiad will start on 23rd September with a grandiose Opening Ceremony at the Black Sea Arena in Shekvetili.

Specially for the Opening Ceremony of the Olympiad - Maestro Nikoloz Rachveli and DJ Kordzi have created music, Nina Ananiashvili choreographed a ballet performance and the Sukhishvili ensemble will present the new dance, choreographed by Iliko Sukhishvili.

On the stage will be the famous Georgian singer Nino Katamadze, Georgian baritone Lado Ataneli, singers Liza Bagrationi, Giorgi Ushikishvili, violist Giorgi Tsagareli, the indie rock band Nika Kocharov & Young Georgian Lolitaz, the folklore ensemble Lashari, the Batumi cappella, the Evgeni Mikeladze State Symphony Orchestra directed by Nikoloz Rachveli and the Sukhishvili Georgian National Ballet.
Distinguished Georgian writer Aka Morchiladze is the author of the text for the Opening Ceremony booklet.

The actual competition will start on 24th September at 15:00 local time with the games of the first round.

There will be 185 teams competing in the Open section (full list here) and 151 teams in the Women section (full list here).

For more information visit the official website of the 43rd Chess Olympiad.


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