" In the third round to be played Monday, the Indian open team will fight it out with the 20th seeded Italians while the fifth seeded Indian women would take on Kazakhstan."
By Venkatachari Jagannathan

Chennai, Aug 4 - The members of the Indian squad to the 41st World Chess Olympiad being played in the Norwegian city of Tromse are not losing sleep over the midnight sun in Norway, the non-receipt of luggage by a team member or the mainly non-vegetarian European cuisine.

The Indian team arrived two days before the start of the tournament and hence we had sufficient time to acclimatise to the conditions here. The weather is only slightly cold and the players have played under much colder climes, team coach Grandmaster (GM) R.B. Ramesh told IANS in an email interview.

Yes, it is a different experience that you see sun throughout the day and night. We just put the shades on and get on with it, he added.

According to the chess Olympiad website, the sun is gone only for a couple of hours each night in August.

The sun rises at around 02:30 (local time) and sets at 23:15 hours. It will not get dark during the night since the sun is only below the horizon for a few hours -- a phenomenon called white nights.

However, food seems to be one major issue for the Indian players who are mostly vegetarian -- though Ramesh said food, climate, and environment have taken a back stage now.

We try to focus mostly on the games and our opponents and handle other issues as best as possible, Ramesh said.

According to him, most of the team members and other players prefer to eat vegetarian food as far as possible.

There are enough salads, vegetables, and breads being served but little or no rice, or vegetarian gravy items making it slightly difficult in the long run for the vegetarians. We will compensate it by visiting local Indian or Thai restaurants and having pizza occasionally, said Ramesh.

But the food seems to be getting better by the day so I think we should manage fine, GM B. Adhiban told IANS.

The cost of living is high here and eating out is very expensive, GM S.P. Sethuraman responded to IANS.

According to Sethuraman, some players initially found it difficult to sleep, but later got adjusted to the white nights phenomenon by drawing the curtains.

The team is staying at a hotel which is about five minutes walking distance from the tournament venue.

However, Adhiban seems to be in a bit of a spot as his luggage has not arrived yet due to some flight delays.

He joined the Indian team at Tromse from Switzerland where he won the Biel tournament.

Ramesh said the security arrangement at the venue is very tight resulting in delay in starting the game.

According to the players, the arrangements for refreshments, toilets and drinking water is not robust enough to handle the needs of over 4,000 people and these need to be improved.

The tournament is just getting started. Hopefully before the end of the event, we all will have pleasant memories, Adhiban said.

The 19th seeded Indian team in the open section won their first two outings against Syria and Canada scoring 3.5-0.5 points.

The Indian women's team also won their first two rounds against New Zealand and Denmark.

In the third round to be played Monday, the Indian open team will fight it out with the 20th seeded Italians while the fifth seeded Indian women would take on Kazakhstan.

(Venkatachari Jagannathan can be contacted at [email protected])


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