Israel Gelfer: “We have to pray for such organizers”

The Honorary FIDE Vice-President, FIDE Advisor, responsible for the organization of the Olympiad, personally visited Khanty-Mansiysk several times during the year before the beginning of the “Nations Tournament”. He shared his impressions and kept on thanking Ugra for the great organization of the Chess Olympiad.

– Everything is going smoothly – it does not matter whether it concerns accommodation, catering or transportation services. As for the Opening Ceremony – I can assure you that it was the best show that has ever opened such tournaments. The organizers had very serious and responsible attitude towards every single detail. FIDE had a great number of requirements including hundreds of details and I am glad to state that everything was taken into consideration. I am happy that our Olympiad is organized on such a high level.

– What kind of difficulties did you have to face during the preparation for the Olympiad?

– There were many changes in the charters timetable even several days before the Olympiad. One year ago when we started this work I hoped that organizers would keep the situation under control. However, 11 charters is too much, moreover, all of them are provided by various companies. Besides, charters are less important than regular flights. Finally some teams had to change their tickets. In any case the problem was solved and FIDE will reimburse those national federations that faced difficulties on the way to Khanty-Mansiysk.

– Was it the only complication?

– Besides during the preparation for the Olympiad we faced some slight bureaucratic complications that are actually typical for Russia. However, I never had an impression that we would not be able to cope with them. For you to judge, since we are all here – everything was solved.

– As it is known, during the preparation for the Olympiad the new Governor Natalya Komarova was nominated. Has she helped you to finalize the organization?

– Several months before the start of the tournament when it came to our knowledge we got a little worried. Of course we did not doubt that Ugra would fulfill the responsibilities, the question was weather the new head of the Okrug would be as interested in chess as her predecessor? Happily, I can state now that Natalya Vladimirovna took an active part in the preparation process and provided us with all necessary support. Besides, I want to mention her brilliant business and perfect sense of humor!

– If we compare Khanty-Mansiysk, Dresden and Torino Olympiads?

– The difference is that I cannot find a single drawback as for Khanty-Mansiysk Olympiad is concerned. For instance, the playing hall is the best that has ever been provided at the Olympiads. Maybe the one in Torino was a little bit better due to the fact that there was only one hall for all the participants of the tournament. As for the accommodation here and in Torino, it is not to be compared, because in Torino we had to use dormitories that were constructed for the Olympic Games 2006 that did not meet the requirements of FIDE regulations.

– You must have heard some feedback of the participants. What are they saying?

– During my stay here I have spoken to many players, delegates and representatives of mass media. Every day I try to find at least one unsatisfied person, but in vain. We have to pray to God for such organizers who have fulfilled such a titanic work.

– Theoretically, is FIDE considering the possibility to hold every Olympiad in Khanty-Mansiysk?

– Of course it is not possible. Every time FIDE tries to host Olympiads in different places. I would agree that all the following «Nations Tournaments» will be held at the same highest level. Let this Olympiad be the challenge to all other organizers!