Record breaking 158 nations start competing today at the Wolrd Chess Olympiad in Istanbul, Turkey.
The games begin at 15:00 local time and can be followed live at the official website.
The drawing of colors was performed during the opening ceremony. The top seeded team in the open section Russia will play with black on the first board. The top seeded team in the women section China will start with the white color.
The opening ceremony of the World Chess Olympiad took place August 27th at 20:30 CET at the WOW Convention center in Istanbul.
The ceremony began with the national anthem of Turkey, followed by a tribute to historical world chess players. The audience enjoyed a rich cultural program including traditional dances. FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, the Minister of Youth and Sports Suat Kilic, and the Turkish Chess Federation President Ali Nihat Yazici greeted the participants.
The FIDE President Kirsan Ilymzhinov stated, “The representatives of 158 national chess federations have arrived to Istanbul to participate in the prestigious Tournament of Nations. This is the new record in the Olympiad’s history. The players will demonstrate their skill and strength of character in tense matches for the main team trophy in chess: Cups of Hamilton-Russell, Vera Menchik and Nona Gaprindashvili.” Ilyumzhinov added, “I would like to express our sincere gratitude for holding the event on such high level. This Olympiad is another confirmation of high authority of the Turkish chess school. ”
Ali Nihat Yazici thanked the government, the Minstry of Youth and Sports, the FIDE leadership, the city management and Mayor of Istanbul, and the sponsors for the essential support for the 2012 Olympiad. Mr. Yazici said that chess is highly developed now in Turkey and the number of chess players exceeds 235 000, with additional 60 000 chess trainers and coaches working in the chess clubs.
The Minister of Youth and Sports Suat Kilic welcomed everyone to the record breaking Chess Olympiad. Mr. Kilic said that he is very happy that the 40th Chess Olympiad takes place in Istanbul and emphasized that he will support the Turkish Chess Federation in the future, in order to see chess globally around the country.
After the official anthem of FIDE and the rising of the “Gens una sumus” flag, the Chief Arbiter IA Panagiotis Nikolopoulos was invited to the scene to conduct the drawing of colors. The top seeded team in the open section Russia will play with black on the first board. The top seeded team in the women section China will start with the white color on the first board tomorrow.
The final element of the opening ceremony were the oaths of the players, arbiters, officials, and trainers.