CHENNAI: As Tamil Nadu gears up to host the 44th Chess Olympiad, to be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi here on Thursday, Prateek Mohan, volunteer-in-charge and part of the organising committee of the Chess Olympiad 2022 talks to DT Next about the preparations behind such a big event.
Mohan (29), a former State chess champion from Gujarat, has helped organise several marathon races.
The volunteers involved with the conduct of the Olympiad swung into action as soon as the event was allotted to the city and have ensured that no stone is left unturned to ensure everything is in place before the players get started at 3 pm on July 29.
"I have been leading the team since its inception. We chose 400 volunteers from across India and wanted to give the young chess players and enthusiasts an opportunity to be part of this unique event. We are giving them a decent stipend, good accommodation and food," he said.
According to him, 150 volunteers are present at the venue. Right from being at the hall, assisting the arbiters, manning all the gates, ensuring none bring electronic gadgets into halls to ensuring food and beverages are served properly, handling the spectators etc, these volunteers are responsible for the proper conduct of the event.
Volunteers will be also put in place at expo area and at the media centre.
"We have 140 volunteers in the transportation team. We have 125 buses, 100 cars and 30 luxury cars. The matches start at 3 pm IST. So, we have to ensure the players reach the venue by 2:30 or 2:45 pm. Players, officials and delegates are staying in a total of 21 hotels. We have a three-member team in each hotel. We have 75 people in the accommodation team. Twenty five volunteers have been decided to the FIDE Congress at Leela Palace," he said.
The oldest volunteer among the group is 55-year-old Sripriya, who has worked in a lot of chess events. "She was extremely enthusiastic to come here. We had a two-day training session. From the feedback that I have got, she has gelled well with the people in her group," Mohan continued.
Interestingly, one-third of the volunteers are women and all the volunteers are broadly between the ages of 18 to 30 years.