Of course some recent traditions were maintained, starting with the usal scrum to register team lists before the first round. The organisers are using the online registration system that was first used (successfully) in Istanbul. But not all team captains had log ins, so members of the Technical Administration Panel were besieged by captains all wanting to fix their problems.
The next tradition (that people really should cope with by now), is the huge queue to get into the venue on the first day. Due to security screenings, getting through the door does take time, and people were in the line for over 45 minutes. Interestingly I got to the venue about 90 minutes before the round start, and waltzed straight in. The long lines meant the round did start late, but to the organisers credit, it was only a 20 minute delay, which was a big improvement from 2 years ago.
The round also began with missing teams and players. Although the dreaded 'zero tolerance' rule is in place, this was more to do with non-arrivals in Norway. I don't think any player who was at the venue lost by default, but it may have happened.
Once the play was underway, it felt like a real Olympiad. The organisers are good about access to the playing areas, so I was able to wander quite freely among the games. As an accredited media person I could take pictures for the first 10 minutes, but after that I was still able to get close to the action. (It may have also had something to do with the fact I was wearing a suit, and they just thought I was important).
You get a different coverage of the Olympiad from outside the event than inside, and in fact I suspect people reading this blog know more about the results and upsets than I do from actually being there. The website looks good, and I was able to download games without trouble. The game on Match 1, Board 1 resulted in a interesting miniature by Grishchuk, while David Smerdon had a similar kind of game against the US Virgin Islands (a tactical shot rebounding on his opponent). 4-0 to Australia was a good start, with first up wins to debutantes Ikeda and Smirnov.
The press facilities are quite good, although they do get confused with my accreditation ('It says Press twice on your card, but what is your second name'). So if I have the time and access, I may make a number of different posts per dy, concerntrating on different facets of the tournament. (Women's Olympiad, Oceania teams, the mighty PNG, general impressions etc).
Smerdon David (2513) - Van Rensselaer William (1908) [B01]
WCO2014 Tromso (1.5), 02.08.2014