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!