News & Reports Aug 1, 2014 | 12:18 PMby Tarjei Svensen

One day to go

New banners for the venue

We’re into the final hours before the start of the Chess Olympiad and the organisers here in Tromsø are working very hard on last-minute preparations. Today a spectacular opening ceremony will take play at Skarphallen and the first round will start at 3pm on Saturday.

All the electronic boards are ready, the commentary room is done and the VIP lounge is up and running!

Here’s a quick summary of some of the Norwegian coverage in the days before the Olympiad:

NRK to broadcast more than 60 hours of chess!

Even though we’re still a day away from the start, the Norwegian media has had extensive coverage of the Chess Olympiad so far. Obviously the main focus has been on Magnus Carlsen and the Norwegian team. Yesterday World Champion and superstar Magnus Carlsen arrived in Tromsø. The news was even covered live by local Tromsø newspaper Nordlys.

Magnus was excited about playing a Chess Olympiad in Norway for the first time, telling NRK.

It will be really fun to play in Norway. This is actually a huge event, and to have an Olympiad taking place at home has been a dream really, actually ever since we first heard about the plans.

And playing chess won’t be the only thing Magnus will do while in Tromsø. He’s already said that he wants to climb one of the Tromsø mountains and indicated that he wants to accept the offer to train with Tromsø’s football team that’s in the second tier of the Norwegian league.

No translation required!

The Norwegian media wasn’t alone in showing up at the airport. Susan Polgar also recorded this video where she not only speaks to Magnus Carlsen, but also Wesley So, Ulf Andersson and the President of the Norwegian Chess Federation, Jøran Aulin-Jansson.

You can find all Chess Olympiad videos on the dedicated video page.

The Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK) has exclusive rights for the whole event. In fact, this is the largest production for Norway’s state TV channel in 2014, with more than 40 people working on the coverage! For the chess world, it’s an exciting prospect to have our biggest event covered on national TV and, knowing how well they did with the production of the World Championship match last year, it’s bound to be of the highest standard.

NRK brought some serious equipment to the venue! | photo: Georgios Souleidis

NRK have built their own studio where commentators IM Torstein Bae and IM Atle Grønn will provide expert analysis of the games. With the strongest Norwegian Olympiad team in history, it will be exciting to see how well they can do. Bae himself actually thinks they can win a medal!

I don’t think people understand how strong we’ve become. It’s absolutely realistic winning a medal.

Social media is an important way to promote chess, and on their Instagram account, NRK posted an interesting quiz: “How many chess pieces are there in the playing hall?”

“It’s freezing!”

But the Chess Olympiad is about more than Magnus Carlsen. Players from 174 nations are coming to Tromsø, and how do they like the city? Christian Rios of Colombia told iTromsø:

We usually play in very warm places during big events. The air here is fresh, so it’s incredibly nice to play chess here when you have so many opportunities to clear your head.

It was hardly a surprise that the Venezuelan team also thought Tromsø is rather cold. Felix Yvojsa commented:

It’s freezing! In Venezuela it’s incredibly warm, so it’s quite a change for us.

Tromsø’s Deputy Mayor Anni Skogman is one of many volunteers working for the Chess Olympiad. She received the Turkish delegation on Wednesday evening. Their coach, GM Evgenij Miroshnichenko, was happy about the climate in Tromsø when he spoke to iTromsø.

It’s been more than 40 degrees in Turkey where we’ve been recently. That's why I was relieved when I arrived and it was raining.

Ilyumzhinov was greeted at the airport by the Chairman of Tromsø 2014. He told journalists he was looking forward to the Olympiad | photo: Anders Mo Hanssen, Nordlys

“Sjakk Mack” - Tromsø’s official Olympiad Beer

The city of Tromsø is clearly very supportive and proud of hosting the Chess Olympiad. As the event is taking place in a brewery, wouldn’t it make sense to have a “chess beer”? The beer is specially made for the Chess Olympiad in a collaboration between the organisers and the brewery.

It can only be bought in Ølhallen, next to Mackhallen – the playing venue.  Mack’s brand marketing manager Cathrine Giæver told iTromsø:

As the closest neighbours to the arena it makes perfect sense that Mack comes up with a beer. Brewery master Rune Andreassen is behind it.

But there is one thing you need to keep in mind. Only 900 litres of the unique beer have been made. Beer-thirsty chess fans need to hurry up if they want to taste the first Chess Olympiad beer!

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