Bermuda may not have the strongest team in the Chess Olympiad – far from it, they are seeded only 164th. But they certainly are the most popular among the players, captains and visitors, by virtue of what has evolved into a long-standing and hotly anticipated tradition: the Bermuda Party!
For those new to Chess Olympiads, this major social event is traditionally held on the evening before the free day. Its name is derived from the simple fact that the Bermuda team is the party’s sponsor. The tradition started back in Manila 1992, with current FIDE Executive Director Nigel Freeman in the role of main organizer; he retains this role to this day. The party evolved from a small event of 30-40 participants to a massive celebration exceeding 1500 people; even more are expected to attend the party this year in Baku!
Susan Polgar ran into the Bermuda team in the playing hall, shortly before the start of the round (okay, she chased them down):
Q: Tonight is a special night for you; it’s time for the Bermuda party! How are the preparations going?
A: We (the players) are just gonna be playing today, but we’ve had lots of help from a guy in the Bermuda delegation; he’s now preparing the rum swizzle, which is a tradition for the Bermuda party. So, it’s all in good hands!
Q: Where will the party be held?
A: Umm… (turns to teammates) Do you know where it’ll be? We’ve got the flyer… (laughs) It’s very close to Crystal Hall! (ed: details below!)
Q: And how is the tournament going so far?
A: It’s pretty challenging! Me, for example, I play against International Masters for the first time in my life. It’s great – a great experience!
Q:Have any of you played any other Olympiads?
A: No, it’s the first time for all of us!
Q: Good luck then to all of you! Today, tonight at the part and the rest of the tournament!
A: Thank you!
This year’s edition will take place today, the 6th of September, split in three different levels of the same venue: the Elektra Hall, the Enerji Club and the Terracce; each level will host musicians and DJs of different genres. Doors open at 22:00 (and remain open!), entry is free, fun is guaranteed and everyone is invited! See you there!