FIDE delegation visits Batumi
On January 18th 2018, the FIDE delegation consisting of Deputy President G. Makropoulos, Vice-President I. Gelfer and CEO G. Borg met the Minister of Culture, Sports and Protection of Monuments, Mr. M. Giorgadze, the Chairman of Government of Autonomous Republic of Ajara, Mr. Z. Pataradze, the Minister of Economics and Finance of Ajara, Mr. Ramaz Bolkvadze, the Director of the Olympiad Organising Committee, Mr. Z. Azmaiparashvili, and the President of the Georgian Chess Federation, Mr. G. Giorgadze. Mr. Makropoulos congratulated the Georgians for holding the best World Cup he had ever seen.
The team visited the Batumi Olympiad venue and had a meeting afterwards, to discuss several urgent issues concerning the coming Olympiad. During the visit to the venue, the FIDE delegation received explanations about the current building, its facilities and about the planned timeline to complete its construction, within one or two months. The main and most critical issue discussed during the visit to the venue and the further meeting was the additional space/building planned to be constructed starting this month. It was strongly recommended that this project should be finalized at least two months prior to the starting date of the Olympiad, which is September 23rd. The FIDE delegation received a plan of the current building as well as the additional planned one. It was noted that the way the planned building looks, it does not seem to be sufficient enough to meet all tournament requirements and the Organisers should find a way to enlarge the space for these purposes.
During the meeting, Mr. M. Giorgadze and Mr. Z. Pataradze expressed their satisfaction with the cooperation with FIDE and presented a general plan of preparations for the event, emphasizing the fact that they are aware of the little time left for the completion of the above-mentioned construction project. Mr. G. Makropoulos expressed his strong fears that the new building is unlikely to be ready on time. The Minister of Culture, Sports and Protection of Monuments replied to Mr. Makropoulos that he is very confident that this will not happen and the extension will be completed by end of June/beginning of July. He based his evaluation on the fact that they had contracted a very serious and experienced company for this purpose. It was agreed that the Olympiad Organising Committee and FIDE will be able to monitor the work process and check whether the planned timetable is followed.
Several subjects concerning the organization of the Olympiad were touched upon. It was decided that the next inspection will take place in March, to check on the construction progress and supervise the timetable. Two of the most critical issues are the flights and the airport. It was indicated that the current airport cannot serve as a satisfactory solution for 1600-2000 people arriving and departing practically in one day. It was agreed that a solution, either in the form of a new terminal or enlargement of the existing one will be found. As for the flights, it was agreed that the Organising Committee will urgently renew its contact with Turkish Airlines with the purpose of finding a suitable solution in respect of the flights.