Opening Ceremony – The legend of Chess From India to Georgia. From a game to an art and a sport!
24 September 2018
Opening Ceremony – The legend of Chess From India to Georgia. From a game to an art and a sport!

Once upon a time in India, a game has been invented by a wise man. It was played on a 8x8 board. It started to cross the borders of any country of Asia from east to west. Apparently, it was a wargame but without any bloodshed. It was more « something » like an art. The story says that the first proof of its practice by the Georgians is a mention in a letter of the 10th century.

More than a thousand years after, the organizers of the 43rd Chess Olympiad have glorified this magical game with a magnificent opening ceremony. It took place in the avant-garde Black Sea Arena in Shekhvetili, 45 km from Batumi. The show was broadcast live on the 1st national television channel 1TV.GE. as well as on the official site of the Olympiad and social media.

The President of Georgia Giorgi Margvelashvili has honored with his presence the thousands of Chess players who will compete in Batumi. He reminded the greatest Georgian players and notably the two absolute Chess legends Nona Gaprindashvili and Maia Chiburdanidze who hold the WWC title during 30 years. The recounting of their epic and fantastic battles and victories was one of the most emotive moments of this spectacular opening ceremony! Nona, Maia and the most famous Georgian players were present in the Black Sea Arena.

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

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."

Mr Makropoulos opened the Olympiad: "I declare the games open, celebrating the 43rd Batumi Chess Olympiad!" 

The show was titled CHESS Stories. It was a mix of tradition and modernity. Its creator was Aka Morchiladze. The thousands of players and representatives of the 189 countries were fascinated. Thanks for the pleasure!

The drawing of colours took place on stage with Nana Dzagnidze, team gold medal at the Women’s Olympiad 2008, and Vishy Anand. It’s the first participation of the former World Champion in an Olympiad since 2006.

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.