Today I got to the playing floor as the third round was starting. I was there as a photographer. We are allowed to take photos in the first 15 minutes of play. I spotted the women's' boards first before they started and I spoke to Irina, our No 1. She seemed happy and smiling as usual and recognised me. We chatted a while and she gave me a fairly long list of shortcomings regarding the players' accommodation in the Olympic village (which is nearby and joined to the Oval playing area by a long suspension footbridge). Ian Rogers had similar complains the other day saying the accommodation was Soviet style, Spartan I suppose: rooms with not much more than a bed in them.
After a long walk around I also spotted the Australian male team, not far from where the Russians were being filmed by professionals. Alex Wohl noticed me while I was using my little video camera on him. They were playing by then, so we didn't get a chance to talk. Rogers was not playing today.
I have a fair bit of film from which I will be extracting some stills, probably tomorrow. I will have to bring my computer in for that and plug in in the Press room. Things are beginning to work a little better today and I can follow the games on the monitors provided. I hope that you in Oz can do likewise, though it might cost you some sleep. I am quite impressed by all boards and clocks being connected for instant broadcasting on the Internet. It has been estimated that nearly two million players around the world watch this live chess show on the Internet.
The Oval here is not overwhelmed by spectators yet, though one of the throw away papers in town mistakenly reported that over a million spectators were here at the Oval.
Amongst the countries participating I was glad to see Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan , here in spite of strife at home. Many of the ladies wear their traditional head covers which adds a bit of colour and photo opportunities. In fact the Olympiad is getting good publicity in the press and on TV in Italy.
- Larry Ermacora
For the next couple of weeks, during the Olympiad, I temporarily surrender some blog real estate to a guest blogger - Larry Ermacora. He will be providing reports all the way from Torino after having been officially accredited by Olympiad officials as a journo for this blog.
Larry is a well known personality in Australian chess circles. He was an administrator in both Western Australia and New South Wales. And, in 1990, he was awarded the highly coveted Koshnitsky medal.