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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Moscow Hosts World Chess Olympics

To the uninitiated, the 31st World Chess Olympics being held in Moscow's Cosmos Hotel would appear chaotic -- endless rows of chess tables in the playing hall, multilingual crowds of players, officials and journalists milling around.

According to Andrei Makarov, head of the Russian Chess Federation, the Olympics began Thursday with a record 126 sides competing in the men's tournament and 78 countries in the women's.

"This is an absolute record in comparison with 93 at the previous Olympics. We even had an application from Palestine," he said at the press conference of the organizational committee.

Each men's team has four players and each women's team three. The Olympics will continue until Dec. 15.

The tournament was originally to be held in Thessaloniki, but the event was transferred to Moscow from the Greek city for a lack of funding.

The World Chess Federation was then helped by the Russian federation headed by Andrei Makarov and world chess champion Garry Kasparov who managed to find $3 million to hold the event in Moscow.

The backing came despite Kasparov's move, together with Britain's Nigel Short, to leave the World Federation championships in order to set up an new organization, the Professional Chess Association, which led to their exclusion from the official FIDE rating list.

"For the first time in the history of the World Chess Olympics all participants will live and play in the same place. This is a real chess Babylon," Kasparov said before the opening ceremony.

"This chess festival is extremely important for the future of Russian and world chess. It could help to end the abnormal confrontation between FIDE and PCA," he added.

Kasparov also heads the Russian team, which is favored to win despite the fact that Kasparov's long-term rival, Anatoly Karpov, current FIDE champion, refused to play under Kasparov.

According to a report of "Sport Express" newspaper the permanent conflict between Karpov -- who doesn't support the current Russian Chess Federation -- and Kasparov continued Thursday when Karpov was refused accreditation to observe the Olympics.

Some of the main results from the mens's draw are: Russia A 3, China 1; Croatia 2, Canada 2; Italy 1, Bosnia-Herzegovina 3; Bulgaria 3, Indonesia 1; China 3, Mexico 1; Latvia 3, Peru 1; Lithuania 4, Chile 0; Phillipines 1.5, Holland 2.5, Hungary 1.5, Poland 2.5.