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HomeNationalChess, dosa and vada, the 44th Chess Olympiad has it all MPNRC...
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Chess, dosa and vada, the 44th Chess Olympiad has it all MPNRC News

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Van der Velde’s social media post also received a reply from Prime Minister Modi. (Photo credit: Twitter/@blackatlantic)

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Mamallapuram, Tamil Nadu: The battle of brains is on at the 44th Chess Olympiad here, with players from abroad showcasing their prowess on the board and relishing it with local cuisine. According to Geert van der Velde, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Chessable, an e-learning platform for mastering the game, it was his first time in India and eating food from a banana leaf was a very pleasant experience for him.

“Well, I was not new to Indian food but already a fan. I have enjoyed Indian food ever since I discovered it. But, of course, since this was my first time in India, I had not tasted authentic Indian food cooked in India. “What was completely new to me was eating with my fingers. I didn’t know this is a traditional way of eating food in India. I have eaten before in Ethiopian restaurants that have this custom. But, I had never eaten Indian food from a banana leaf and it was a very pleasant experience,” said van der Velde. PTI.

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His Twitter post “Loved the food so much I went back and brought the whole team…” went viral and saw Prime Minister Narendra Modi share it with the comment “India’s culinary diversity is legendary”. You will find a dish for every occasion. Glad to see you enjoying Chennai and exploring the city.”

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Van der Velde was pleasantly surprised to see the Prime Minister reply to his tweet and said, “Of course, I was pleasantly surprised when Hon’ble Prime Minister Modi shared a picture of me having lunch with my colleagues at Adyar Anand Bhavan in Mahabalipuram.”

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He added, “The richness of flavors in Chennai cuisine is very special. There’s a lot of depth to the flavor.”

“I must admit that I have not yet developed the palette to fully appreciate this type of deeply spiced food. But, I hope that in time I will be able to appreciate more than before. It is now clear to me that I have only been able to sample a very small portion of all the fantastic dishes that Indian cuisine has to offer,” he added.

The Chasable CEO added, “And, now that the photo has gone viral, I had to laugh at myself a little bit. Totally unexpected but a pleasant surprise. ” He and his team had tried Masala Dosa, Vada and Gobi Manchurian and liked it too, though it was “a bit spicy” in addition to the fried rice variety. They have enjoyed local food at the venue and hotels and restaurants in the area.

Van der Velde said the Olympiad was a great opportunity to come to India and interact with many people, including athletes. “…It’s a great opportunity for us to connect with them while we’re here. It’s a beautiful program. The best chess tournament in my opinion,” he added.

The Dutchman from Spain has since tried different dishes and uploaded them to social media and received recommendations on what to try. “I’ve got a list of foods I want to try,” said van der Velde, who has become a fan of local cuisine.

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Meanwhile, overseas players are feeling right at home with the hospitality and food on offer. Dosa seems to be a hit among foreigners here for the Olympics. Many athletes have posted the food they have eaten on social media. Tallulah Roberts from Jersey posted on Twitter “The dosa is delicious” while others echoed the same sentiment.

Georgian women’s team captain Davit Jojua said “the food here is good” and they stuck mostly to seafood, while Iran’s GM Pouya Idani said, “The quality of the food in general was very good.”

Meanwhile, chefs at hotels where the participants take part said they were given specific instructions to focus on European dishes on the menu and keep the food less spicy! “Happy to help”

Volunteers are one of the reasons why the Olympiad runs smoothly. Some 400 of them worked tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure everything ran smoothly. “We are helping in almost every area,” said Prateek Mohan, a volunteer in charge of the programme.

There are around 150 volunteers at the venue. From being in the hall, helping arbitrators, making sure no one brings electronic gadgets into the hall…we also have volunteers in the media center and expo area,” said Pratik Mohan, a state-level chess champion during his school days. PTI. The transport team has volunteers, who help ensure that the players reach the venue ahead of time (matches start at 3pm every day), he said.

He said that a lot of thought went into the selection of the volunteers selected after screening. Knowledge and interest in chess and vaccination were also criteria. Importantly, it was decided that volunteers must be in the age group of 18-30, though there are some exceptions, he added.

The selected volunteers underwent around 20-odd days of training in the lead up to the Olympiad. Interestingly, there are people from various walks of life who have volunteered at sports showpiece events.

He said there were engineers, lawyers, CAs and doctors along with dentists besides chess arbitrators and coaches. Their love for chess brings them together to help in the Olympiad. “It was an interesting and pleasant experience for me. I hope it will be the same for others. Being involved in volunteer work for many years gives you a feel for things. This is a unique opportunity,” he signed off.

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