World Youth Olympiad: Amdavaad!

An Introduction by Priyadarshan Banjan / Read Main Report here.

This is clearly the biggest chess event of India for the year 2017.

The World Youth Chess Olympiad kicks off in less than 12 hours at the Karnavati Club in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. It is not the quietest of times here, though.

Being the fifth largest city in India, this is obviously a very important city for the Indian economy. It is over 600 years old, and it also was chosen to be a World Heritage City by UNESCO, the first Indian city to own this honour.

Of course, the mind-boggling pollution — with the air so thick, you can assume it is a black blanket —  can make you think this is not a city for you. But once you actually begin exploring it, you begin to see the beauty of this beast.

It is all about the architecture here. The centuries-old mosques and mausoleums to cutting-edge contemporary design, you can see it all. The hustle and bustle of the city is offset by the tranquility of the Sabarmati Ashram — Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi’s former headquarters. [Yours truly, when he was younger, began his education of history with a visit to the Ashram and a copy of ‘My Experiments with Truth’, Gandhi’s autobiography.]

The Sabarmati Ashram

Anyway, I promise you a tour of this city in the following days.

Right now, it is a very tense moment in the life of Gujaratis. The elections are in the process and the entire state is in a state of flux. You can feel it in the air, everywhere — airplane, airport, bus, drivers chitchatting, common people discussing (which is far more civil than rioting, you know), and of course…

…posing with ministers on election duty. Here, you can see the arbitrating team with Dr. Sambit Patra, the National Spokesperson of the BJP.
The players are staying at the Aloft Hotel, SG Road, Ahmedabad. This is clearly one of the best hotels in the city.

But what caught my fancy was some of the interesting names for the various amenities. You don’t call it a ‘Swimming Pool’ here; you call it a ‘Splash’. A gym is called ‘Re:Charge’.

Cozy Rooms, check.
Infrastructure to prepare, check.
This mega-event is made possible by the Sports Authority of Gujarat, Sports Authority of India, the GSC Bank, and the Gujarat State Chess Association.
The White King (not queen — look clearly), welcomes the players at the Karnavati Club, the Venue Sponsor of the tournament. (Fun fact: Karnavati is an old name for Ahmedabad).
An elephant masquerading as a rook.
Woah, that escalated quickly! A bishop is a camel in Indian chess parlance.
A stallion without its knight.
The AICF and GSCA office bearers inaugurate the tournament.
The top seeds India Green pulled the black colour in the drawing of lots. The pairings are:
Round 1 on 2017/12/11 at 1400
Bo. 16

Bangladesh

Rtg FED 1

India Green

Rtg FED 0 : 0
1.1 FM
Mohammad Fahad, Rahman
2234 BAN GM
Aryan, Chopra
2536 IND
1.2
Subrota, Biswas
2182 BAN IM
Praggnanandhaa, R
2517 IND
1.3
Nayem, Haque
1991 BAN IM
Iniyan, P
2452 IND
1.4
Noshin, Anjum
1849 BAN WIM
Vaishali, R
2329 IND

Full pairings here.

The coach of the top seeds India Green team, Prasenjit Dutta was fairly optimistic about his wards. He commented, “They are all so strong already. My job would be focused on motivating them. Let them learn from each other, and I myself will learn from them in the process!”

FIDE VP D.V. Sundar gives the inaugural speech.
AICF Secretary Bharat Singh Chauhan delivers a speech.

Some pictures of the various folk dances of Gujarat at the Opening Ceremony: