Friday, 30 July 2010

The trouble with visas

When the 2010 Chess Olympiad was awarded to Khanty-Mansiysk the initial concern was how to get there. While the organisers appear to have solved this via charter flights* there is still some obstacles to overcome.
The next worry is that of travel visas. This has been both a perennial problem for some teams, and often the cause of teams arriving with only 2 or 3 players. In the past FIDE have simply blamed the federations for not getting themselves organised sooner, but this excuse cannot be used for this Olympiad. Instead the Russian bureaucracy seems to be the culprit, with the invitation letters that are required to get the visas not being sent out until late August. This leaves teams approximately 1 month to apply and receive their visas, which may seem ample, except for the fact that the turn around time for processing applications isn't that quick (7 business days and $110 in Australia).
For players travelling from Australia this may be a painless process, but for countries that lack a Russian embassy (eg PNG) or for players who are beginning their travels in August, there may be difficulties. I just hope everyone planning to play in the Olympiad doesn't get done over at the application stage, otherwise we may see a repeat of 2008, with 2 player and 3 player teams affecting matches on the lower boards.

*Credit for the charter flights idea should go to Budva, who were an unsuccessful bidder for the 2010 Olympiad. They promised this in their bid, and Khanty then did the same.


Garvin Gray said...

Why was Khanty preferred over Budvo?

Shaun Press said...

Because more federations voted for Khanty :)
Me, I thought Budva would have been fabulous.

Garvin Gray said...

I already knew that more feds voted for Khanty :P

I was wondering why?