Editor: Welcome to the first edition of Gardiner Chess’s latest blog! FM Dusan Stojic and WIM Alexandra Jule are currently over at the World Chess Olympiad where Alex is representing Australia in the women’s team for the first time. Dusan has started up a blog which we will re-post here with his permission, to keep everyone updated with events from Baku, Azerbaijan where the Olympiad is being held.
By Dusan Stojic.
The official arrival date for the Olympiad is Thursday 1 September (click here for Schedule), but Alex (below) and I arrived on Wednesday (yesterday), as did most of the Aussies.
The Arduous Journey
We traveled most of the way with WIM Heather Richards (B1 for Aus Women’s team) and IM Richard Jones (B1 for the Welsh Open team). The flight from Sydney to Doha was quite draining – 14.5 hours, and sleep was hard to catch.
Doha Airport was very modern and impressive – certainly a lot has changed since I passed through last in 2010. The view of the city as we flew in was very obstructed by the morning dusty haze.
What we had most trouble with was working out what the giant figurines in the children’s playgrounds were supposed to be. The positioning of the staircase (below, right) was interesting, designed for the children to climb up the figurine’s – ahem, abdomen…
Finally, after some 36 hours in travel, we arrived in Baku! First impressions: a marvelous city, which combines tradition with modern architecture. Government buildings are all spectacular, and the visitor gets a sense of solemnity and grandeur being among these monuments (below left to right: Baku Olympic Stadium, Heydar Aliyev Sports Centre, Heydar Aliyev International Airport).
Park Inn by Radisson
The Aussies are staying at the Park Inn( below left), a four-star hotel. There is a bit of a hierarchy for accommodation: the official website explicitly states that teams that have a higher average rating are the ones who get a better stay, and the FIDE officials are apparently in the famous Flame Towers. But in any case, there’s nothing to complain about for our hotel.
At team dinner, Moulthun was the man of the hour, being Australia’s latest GM-elect. He won his last GM norm in style in Abu Dhabi the other day. Let’s hope that the great individual form of the Open players will carry over to the Olympiad!
That’s all for now, dear readers. I’ll blog daily in the mornings (Australian evenings). Games start 3 pm local time, 9 pm AEST. Round one on Friday.
Next up, the Opening Ceremony. Stay tuned!