Olympiad charter flights changed again

| 0 | Chess Event Coverage
Olympiad charter flights changed againThis week the organizers of the 39th Chess Olympiad had to disappoint many chess federations once more. Yesterday, just four days before many teams would be travelling to Khanty-Mansiysk, the schedule of the charter flights was seriously changed. Again.

We already mentioned the many changes in the Olympiad charter flights in our recent article on the accommodation and transportation issues. To refresh your memory, here's the quote from Ilia Bluvshtein, the father of GM Mark Bluvshtein and in charge of all the organizational elements of the Canadian team going to the Olympiad:

"Delegations had to book charter flights by May 20th. Essentially it meant that delegations had to purchase tickets to European airports at the same time because flights to Europe are linked to charters.

Then without any notification flight schedule was changed in another announcement issued on July 28th. (...) Then without any notification the flight schedule was changed again! The organizers simply changed flight times on the web announcement from July 28th!!! It happened somewhere between July 30th (when I checked previous time) and August 27th (when I found out the new schedule). I know that flight time for charters Khanty-Munich and Khanty-Milan were changed. Probably there were other changes as well…

I know that other Federations are also outraged at all these changes."


You might have guessed it already: this week the charter flights were changed again. We spoke to one of the team captains, who yesterday routinely checked the currently schedule, compared it to his latest information, and to his horror discovered that there were many differences. He made an angry phone call to the Russian organizers, and suddenly fifteen minutes later the following email was sent to hundreds of players, captains and others (in CC, not BCC):

From: [] Sent: wed 15-9-2010 12:14 To: CC: hundreds of email addresses Subject: changes in the charter flight and charters briefing

Dear friends!!

Please, find attached the changes in official charter schedule and charters briefing, where you can find all the necessary information about charters. If the are some problems at airports, you can contact ACS Representatives, whose contacts you can find in charters briefing.

The Organizing Committee of Khanty-Mansiysk hopes for your understanding and wishes you good flight!

Best regards, OC Khanty-Mansiysk transportation

This email had three Word documents as attachments; two containing letters with flight details, and one with the new changes. The latter we copy below.

This document already had the many changes marked in yellow, but it's not immediately clear what exactly were the changes. For this we need to know the previous "final" charter times, as put on the FIDE website and in the news section of the Olympiad website ("Dear Chess Friends!") about two weeks ago. Here's a copy:

If we compare the two schedules, we can make the following conclusions:

  • The Milan-Khanty flight on September 19th leaves an hour later.
  • The first Munich-Khanty flight on September 19th leaves an hour later.
  • The second Munich-Khanty flight on September 19th leaves an hour later.
  • The Prague-Khanty flight on September 19th leaves an hour earlier.
  • As Alexei Shirov notes in the comments, the first Moscow-Khanty flight on September 20th leaves 16 hours (!) earlier. He later adds: OK, they changed it back (also changing the airport but organizing a free transportation) to 3 AM on 20th, also totally ridiculous but maybe lesser evil...
  • The first second Moscow-Khanty flight on September 20th leaves two hours and fifty minutes earlier.
  • The second third Moscow-Khanty flight on September 20th leaves one hour and 35 minutes earlier.
  • The first Khanty-Munich flight on October 4th leaves one hour later.
  • The Khanty-Milan flight on October 4th (at 0.00) now leaves 24 hours (minus 5 minutes) later, on October 4th at 23.55.
  • The second Khanty-Munich flight on October 4th (at 04:35) now leaves 24 hours (minus 5 minutes) later, on October 5th (at 04:30).

Some changes are minor, but some changes are significant. This will no doubt result in less time for changing flights for many teams, or much more, which brings extra costs for hotel rooms. Besides, a big number of players will have to stay an extra day in Siberia after the Olympiad and cancel appointments or even ask for an extra free day at their day jobs.

By the way, we also discovered that the current flight numbers for a Khanty-Moscow flight and a Khanty-Dubai flight on October 4th are the same: U63437. Therefore we won't be surprised if more changes will be announced.

The local organizers in Khanty-Mansiysk keep on giving the same reason for the changes: "The airlines are making these changes, not us." With several different airlines involved, this sounds hard to believe, but they might be right. We were told that the Khanty-Mansiysk airport is very small and so it's a big challenge to match the slots with those of bigger airports, such as Milan or Munch. Which brings up the question why the Olympiad is being held there in the first place.

What is clear is that both the organizers and FIDE are lacking communication skills. They have repeatedly told chess federations that the charter times would be final, while they were never in the position to make such promises.

Or, as Shaun Press put it:

It is as though the organisers of the 2010 Olympiad have decided that the whole thing will run much more smoothly if there are no players to deal with.
Peter Doggers

Peter Doggers joined a chess club a month before turning 15 and still plays for it. He used to be an active tournament player and holds two IM norms.

Peter has a Master of Arts degree in Dutch Language & Literature. He briefly worked at New in Chess, then as a Dutch teacher and then in a project for improving safety and security in Amsterdam schools.

Between 2007 and 2013 Peter was running ChessVibes, a major source for chess news and videos acquired by in October 2013.

As our Director News & Events, Peter writes many of our news reports. In the summer of 2022, The Guardian’s Leonard Barden described him as “widely regarded as the world’s best chess journalist.”

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