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.
Let me also thank GM Ian Rogers for directing Larry to myself.
Here is our man's first report: (Actually it's for round 1 but, for some reason, it was not received! Email problems).
Yesterday, after running into Ian and Cathy Rogers and Shaun Press, I snuck in to the Opening Ceremony though I did not have an official invitation. I can't say it was really worth it with the usual load of boring speeches where everyone thanks everyone. However, a famous Italian composer of film music, Morricone who also plays chess, had composed a hymn to chess. Also, more importantly, Piero Angela very well known on Italian television for his cultural programs, speaking excellent English said he was preparing a program on chess.
This should be good publicity for the game and may be SBS in Australia could use it when it comes out. (There was also an excellent adjunct to Italian national TV news the other day covering chess and how good it was for the mind and putting in a strong plug for chess in schools.) There was a long parade of all the nations participating (140 male teams and 117 female, I think)The ceremony ended with the Fide President declaring the Olympiad open and then the orchestra entertained the remaining crowd.
Today I got myself accredited as a journalist for the Closet Grandmaster. Though they had no record of previous applications I had no problem in doing it on the spot by smiling and speaking in both Italian and English!
The Oval is an enormous playing area, so big that you one would find binoculars useful. My pass doesn't allow me access to the playing area but only to the surrounding stands which give a good overall view but certainly one can't see the play on the boards. Even with access to the playing floor one is restricted to aisles from which one can only see the nearby boards. In fact, from where I was, I was not even able to spot the Australian teams in this sea of players.
It may be easier tomorrow when hopefully they will put up visible signs of country names or flags. Of course the games are all available instantly on Internet, so I don't need to add to that. There is an area here where the top four games and the Italian teams' games are projected on large screens. I haven't heard anyone giving live analyses though.
There is also a large area set aside for open tournaments to start in a couple of days. I am thinking of entering if there is one low enough for me. Other than chess, I am enjoying exploring the town of Turin whose centre, by the river Po and once a royal capital, I find very attractive.
- Larry Ermacora