FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich and Managing Director Dana Reizniece Ozola opened the Queen’s and Social Pavilions on the first day of the 44th Chess Olympiad.
Sonja Johnson, Chairperson of the Planning and Development Commission, welcomed Dana to the stage, and Dana addressed the audience. “188 Men’s teams, 162 Women’s teams are participating; it seems like the whole world is participating! Such diversity, such enthusiasm! We make the world round by putting together these little elements, and this is something that very much connects with our social initiatives,” said Dana, further adding, “Chess is not only about professional sports: it’s about using our great game for the benefit of society, embracing its diversity.”
Dana also explained how these two Queen’s and Social pavilions would be telling the stories of the projects that FIDE has launched. There will be special days dedicated to Women in Chess, Chess in Prisons, Chess for Refugees, Chess for ageing people and more! These pavilions will celebrate the beauty, minds and achievements of the women chess players. Strong women, getting stronger! She also thanked the men in the audience for being there and supporting the Year of the Women in Chess.
President Arkady Dvorkovich thanked the All India Chess Federation, the host association of the 44th Chess Olympiad, for pulling off the biggest festival of chess in such a short time. He also extended his gratitude to every chess federation that has been involved in FIDE’s social initiatives. Arkady said “I would like to thank the people who devoted their hearts and time and their lives (partially at least!) to chess!” He added, “Human capital is not just a word; it’s a real thing! You have to put your hearts to make these projects a success story.”
How can a splash of colour and joy not be added to such a beautiful and important project by FIDE? The event ended with a Bharatanatyam dance piece by two professional dancers.