The 2022 Chennai Chess Olympiad organising secretary Bharat Singh Chauhan at a felicitation function organised by the Rotary Club of Chennai Velachery on Saturday said that the decision to host the event in India was made literally overnight.
"One day there was a rumour that FIDE was going to snatch the Olympiad from Russia. I just texted the FIDE president and I was travelling in a train. He said: 'Yes, why don’t you think about (hosting) the Olympiad?'
"I said I’ll tell the next morning. It was around one in the night, and I thought that there was some more time left in Europe and that he might offer this to somebody else. I was so excited that without talking to any sponsors or hosting any talks I said we are ready to host immediately after I reached Delhi.
"Then, when we started working, the Delhi, Telangana, Odisha, and Tamil Nadu governments were in consideration. I know it (felicitation) is for me today, but the real hero is the chief minister of Tamil Nadu. He came forward, and it was not only about giving the money, a lot of IAS officers and the entire machinery was available!"
He emphasised that no complaints regarding the food and the internet were received.
"We collected the menus of the past three Olympiads, and we hired, with the help of Microsense, a retired chef from the Oberoi's (G.S. Talwar), and believe me, we did not receive even a single complaint about the food.
Most of the Olympiads, players will have complaints about the food and the internet.
He added that he tended to the internet connectivity only two days before the event, and that it was eventually arranged for a budget of around Rs 20 lakh from an initially proposed-to (by a pvt. company) budget of Rs 1 crore.
He also said that the Tamil Nadu government provided excellent medical support with around 486 people tended to for various medical reasons during the event.
"Someone asked me if we'll be able to do the Olympiad. Yes, and not even one but ten Olympiads! When we can do it in four months, we can do many Olympiads. Pre-Olympiad, it was a very challenging thing, but now I think everything is possible."
He concluded by saying that there is work to be done at the grassroot level. "There are 766 districts and we have a presence in 643 districts. There is no reach in 123 districts; no chess players in those districts. So, I think there is a need to work at the grassroot level and on women's chess."
The felicitation was for the medal-winners as well, but no one except B. Adhiban attended the event. Coach R.B. Ramesh was also felicitated.