2004 Chess Olympiad: Final Reports coming!

Just returned from Mallorca, Spain for the 36th Chess Olympiad. It was an interesting experience to feel the patriotic energy in the playing venue. However, the tournament ended on a sour note as FIDE Vice President Zurab Azmaiparashvili was beaten up and carted off by the Spanish police during the closing ceremonies after a bitter dispute with the Olympiad officials. Ian Wilkinson and I were sitting right behind the place where Azmaiparashvili was speaking loudly to an official. Later a scuffle ensued followed by a woman screaming. More on that later.

It was a joy to meet many players from the different federations and to see the top players in action.
Viswanathan Anand is a friendly and down-to-earth as people suggest. What was more interesting is my observations in the press room… seeing professional journalists from around the world covering this major event. It was awe-inspiring, but the smoke almost killed me! More in my "reflections" essay later this week, including a tribute to African and Caribbean teams.

I have learned (and I shared with ChessBase's
Frederic Friedel) that it may be easier to cover an event in the comfort of one's home than at the actual site! However, the intricate details of being there, hearing the conversations and feeling the emotions, make the stories much more vivid. Thus, in the coming week I hope to catch up with the reports, photos and provide a number of features to capture the essence of what happened in my few days at the Olympiad. I'll even give an analysis of my pre-tournament predictions. Stay tuned!

Dr. Daaim Shabazz, The Chess Drum

Posted by The Chess Drum: 1 November 2004