Olympiad Round 1 – First impressions

I want to divide this into two parts, the Danish team and the organisation of the tournament.

First of all, the atmosphere on the Danish Team is the best I have ever experienced of any team. And I have played for teams almost 30 years. There are no conflicts or tensions, even though you have this painful daily process of telling one guy that he is not playing. It is my feeling that the same is the case with the Danish Women’s Team and I am sure their captain agrees with me (as saying “I agree” has become a running joke, example: “I played like a clown today”, “I agree”).
There is an honest belief in the team that we will do well here and that we will do even better in the future. So far I am quite positive about having taken on the job as Danish National Coach (from October – after retirement).

Now we get to the less positive part. In 2008, my Scottish team mates were all deeply optimistic about Istanbul as a host. But so far it has been a disaster on almost all accounts.
You can read up on all the political conflicts. I don’t take a side, but feel that connecting them to the Olympiad is unfortunate and has definitely hit many innocent individuals. I know a few.
The place we are staying is desperately uncharming. The hotel is actually fine, even though there is only Internet access here early in the morning, because their bandwith cannot take 200 chess girls uploading their photos to facebook at the same time. But the area is half constructed and will be a sad industrial area once finished. Seeing the planes rise is the only charming thing about the place.
The tournament hall looks fine from the outside, if you are a player. Any spectator will find this a dour experience. The complex is vast, but there is no way you can see the games. Only about 20 games are visible (board 1s 2 meters from the string-barrier (what are these called), but luckily the organisers have 10 people there to push you away, should you get close enough to actually see enough of the board to determine the position.
The live transmission also did not work well at all.

So, so far I am having a good time because I am here with my friends and team mates, proud to play; but the tournament is not well organised.

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