Interview with Alexander Gerber

Director of the Center of Assistance to the World Chess Olympics, for RusBusinessNews

Chess Olympiad 2010

Russia does not have many cities that can boast their “Olympic” status. Very soon their number will be added up with Khanty-Mansiysk that will host the World Chess Olympics from September 19 through October 4, 2010. The “RusBusinessNews” reporter met with Alexander Gerber, Director of the Center of Assistance to the World Chess Olympics, who welcomed us to the halls that one month later will witness Bird’s Opening, the Sicilian Defense and Queen’s Gambit.

RusBusinessNews – Alexander Ernstovich, the first question that opens now all the talks about the Chess Olympiad: Will Khanty-Mansiysk be able to accommodate with comfort more than three thousand chess-players, judges, coaches, and reporters? Can you off hand dot all the if’s and say “yes” or “no”?

Alexander Gerber – In pre-Olympic Khanty-Mansiysk everything is changing for the better with every passing day. For example, yesterday the operating team of the Olympyiskaya Hotel, which will receive about 1,400 chess-players, started commissioning of the rooms. The catering for chess-players has been arranged. At the moment, we are signing contracts for purchasing and delivery of food products. In the middle of the next week, the final meeting chaired by Yugra Governor Natalia Komarova will take place; the agenda includes the report about the readiness condition of Olympyiskaya. We are planning to sign the Commissioning Act of the hotel serviceability on August 25.

RusBusinessNews – What does the hotel look like?

Alexander Gerber – The Olympyiskaya Hotel is a 13-storey building for 846 rooms. The first and the second levels accommodate a restaurant, fitness-club, service and office facilities. Olympyiskaya offers both single suites and standard rooms for 2-3 people.

RusBusinessNews – Does it mean that chess celebrities like Veselin Topalov, Magnus Carlsen and Vladimir Kramnik will be able to stay there with comfort?

Alexander Gerber – We have not received any enquiries from their representatives concerning the quality of the required hotel rooms. However, we are ready to offer them comfortable accommodations that fit their stellar status.

RusBusinessNews – Where are chess-players going to stay, if they fail to book a room in the Olympyiskaya Hotel?

Alexander Gerber – 10 more city hotels are ready to accommodate participants of the Olympiad. On August 10, I had a meeting with their representatives. All the hotels are ready to offer their services to chess-players anytime.

RusBusinessNews – What are the catering arrangements for chess-players who will come from different parts of the world?

Alexander Gerber – The World Chess Federation (FIDE) did not make any requests. However, we, offering hospitality, require that the hotels should offer the cuisine traditional for those countries that are represented by chess-players – the future guests of these hotels. The hotel menu has been scheduled in every detail. The catering will be provided as buffet service.

RusBusinessNews – Has the transportation schedule been prepared?

Alexander Gerber – Certainly. Chess-players will use charter flights to come to Khanty-Mansiysk from Milan, Prague, Moscow and Dubai. The main airport of Yugra is completely prepared to receive airplanes. In Khanty-Mansiysk, chess-players will be offered comfortable shuttle-buses. The trip between any hotel and the Center of Tennis Sport Development where the Olympiad will be held will take 10-15 minutes.

RusBusinessNews – By the way, why was the Center of Tennis Sport Development selected for the Olympics, but not the Yugra-Classic Concert and Theater Center that already hosted World Chess Cup championships?

Alexander Gerber – The main problem is that Yugra-Classic lacks the required space. Only 200-250 chess-players took part in the World Cup, whereas the Olympics will attract ten times as many. The Center of Tennis Sport Development has enough space to accommodate them. All the chess-players will be able to start the game concurrently. By the way, at the previous Olympics in Dresden, the game hall was smaller, but it still was enough to accommodate everybody.

Chess Olympiad 2010

The central court and venue of the Olympiad

Chess Olympiad 2010

The Tennis complex, general view

RusBusinessNews – Will it be possible for the audience and reporters to watch the tournaments?

Alexander Gerber – The hall stands have 3,500 seats. The second level of the building is equipped with screens for broadcasting the most interesting tournament games. There are also well-equipped rooms for sportscasters. As for reporters, about 30 journalists have been accredited to the Olympics so far. They will have their own office. We do not expect that many mass media representatives will come to Khanty-Mansiysk. Chess is the game that can easily be analyzed via the Internet.

RusBusinessNews – Chess enthusiasts will equally be interested in the FIDE Congress that will also take place during the Olympic days. What can chess org-people expect in terms of work conditions?

Alexander Gerber – The Congress will be held in the Chess Academy. This complex has no rivals in Russia. The total floor space of the Academy is 2,845 square meters. Its opening is scheduled for August 25, and at the end of September, there will be a grand ceremony, at which the new FIDE president will be elected and the capital of the Chess Olympics – 2014 will be named.

The interview was prepared by Andrei Kascha, read the whole article at “RusBusinessNews”

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Chess Olympiad 2010 Index