The opening ceremony was the first time that most of the chess players, coaches and officials taking part in the 2014 Olympiad had gathered together in the same venue, with a huge range of people from all around the world making the short trip to the event in Tromsø's Skarphallen. Here are just some of those who attended the ceremony:
Traditional fiddle music from Hekla Stålstrenga began an hour of varied musical numbers - from Sami 'joik' by Inger Biret Gaup, a number from 'Chess' by West End star and Tromsø native Lisa Stokke, the Arctic Philharmonic Orchestra and finally new Norwegian pop favourites Violet Road. In between, Tromsø mayor Jens Johan Hjort smoothly introduced event videos and guest speakers.
FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov welcomed the gathering to the 41st Chess Olympiad and praised the natural beauty of the event's setting. All 174 participant nations were introduced in a flag ceremony, and there was an enthusiastic international welcome for the arrival of the Norwegian team on stage, led by world champion Magnus Carlsen.
You can replay the flag ceremony below:
Carlsen told the crowd:
It is very special to be on home ground - and this is a unique opportunity! I have great faith in our team, and am sure that we can give anyone we meet a real fight.
Carlsen was also designated to make the official drawing of colours for the open and women's events. Both times he pulled out a black king to give the odd-numbered teams black on first board in the first round.
He then amused the crowd: "Let's pull the other piece out as well to make sure there's no monkey business going on", and produced a white king to ensure that everything was above board.
The evening's entertainment was produced by Gyro and streamed live online by national broadcaster NRK, with an edited version shown on their main TV channel later Friday night. Let the games begin!
Photos by official photographers Georgios Souleidis and Daniel Skog - more here