The Tromso Olympiad is drawing near and 181 teams are expected to assemble on the grandest stage for chess. About a month ago there was a lot of speculation that the event was in danger, but the Olympiad organizing committee got a timely allotment of 12 million krones.
The record number of teams will travel to Tromso, Norway not only to compete in the Olympiad, but to partake in the civil process of a Presidential election. Former World Champion Garry Kasparov is challenging incumbent Kirsan Ilyumzhinov for the Presidency of FIDE. Ilyumzhinov has been at the helm for 19 years. The campaign has already descended into accusations with both sides claiming political dealings and improprieties.
The stage is set for Tromso as the Norway will be led by World Champion Magnus Carlsen who will be defending his title later in the year. There may be some surprises near the top as China seems poised to make a breakthrough. Levon Aronian has been struggling with form for defending champion Armenia.
Who will be the Cinderella team this year? Cuba? India? In Istanbul, it was the Philippines, but with Wesley So changing federations, they will go back to rebuilding for the next 10 years. For the women’s competition, China will be heavily favored with their powerful trio of Hou Yifan, Ju Wenjun and Zhao Xue.
Teams are finalizing their preparations and the June 1st deadline has passed for completing registration. See you in Tromso!