The 15th ASEAN+ Age Group Championships officially opened today with a grand opening ceremony held at the Cotai Sands Conference Centre.
Besides the 600+ participants, officials and accompanying persons, the leadership of Macau sports was fully represented, a great honour indeed and indicative of the support and closeness of the relationship that the Macau Chess Association has long enjoyed with local government.
First up was the ceremonial joint cutting of the ribbon.
Then for more luck... good fortune, a dragon dance! Which brought out the many photographers amongst the audience.
In his opening address, Jose Silveririnha, President of the Macau Chess Association thanked all for coming together to make possible the region's most important event, noting that for the first time it is being held outside of the original 10 ASEAN countries and thanked Ignatius Leong, ASEAN Chess Confederation President for believing that Macau could do it! He went on to observe that not only had ASEAN benefited from the event but its regional neighbours, especially Macau, Hong Kong, Taipei and South Korea, also the giants of Asian chess, China and India, now the rest of Asia and even other parts of the world!
Then it was the turn of Ignatius Leong who in his keynote address began by announcing one by one (to great cheers), the 21 countries that were taking part and then went on to recap the history and many ground breaking records achieved by the ASEAN+ Age Group Championships over the years, already looking forward to next year's event!
The huge crowd in attendance.
And fitting the evening ended with a wonderful cultural performance with all treated to a series of energetic Portugese dances.