Community Featured

Ukraine Wins Chess Olympiad and Cheers up the Nation

Ukraine won the international women’s Chess Olympiad, one of the most heartwarming news stories in the sports world right now

Most participants in the Chess Olympiad thought India would win, but five brave Ukrainian women showed off all other countries in the final rounds. The participants were Anna Ushenina, Mariya and Anna Muzychuk, Natalya Bursa and Yuliya Osmak.

Anna Ushenina is a participant of note, as she became the first Ukrainian woman to win the World Chess Championship in 2012. Upon winning, the Ukrainian team had no leaps of joy or high-fives. There were tears and hugs to commemorate their Olympiad gold. With tears in her eyes, Anna Ushenina silenced the packed room of the olympiad with solemn words: “It’s obviously a great feeling, but the medal can’t stop a war.”

Chess Olympiad
© Lennart Ootes

Ushenina is Ukraine’s first women’s world champion, hailing from Kharkiv. The city of Kharkiv was one of the most affected by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and many of its inhabitants had to evacuate the city with their families without warning upon hearing news of the situation. The Muzchyuk sisters Anna and Mariya were surprised by the surprising start of the war. Anna recalls checking the news, seeing a disaster, and then waking up Mariya to let her know that they had to escape as soon as possible due to the invasion starting. 

Grandmaster Anna Muzchyuk won a team medal in each Olympiad and an individual medal in 2014, 2017 and 2022. Each of the members made major contributions to earning the Olympic gold. The Muzchyuk sisters were personally responsible for racking 13 out of 20 points, while Ushenina earned 6.5/8 and Nataliya Buska 7/10. 

Ushenina stated that Ukraine was the most resolute of all participating teams and didn’t feel pressured because they had already seen worse. What they want now is peace back home. They brought back the gold medal to raise morale in their nation.

Featured Gaming & Tech

Wimbledon Dives into the Metaverse Thanks to the Virtual Hill

The world’s oldest and most prestigious tennis tournament has been virtualized as part of the Metaverse

It’s not only luxury fashion and tech brands diving into the Metaverse. Now, visitors can venture into Wimbledon’s virtual hill. The All England Lawn Club has released a virtual mirror experience for Wimbledon’s iconic viewing spot, brought to users worldwide by American Express.

A user recounted their experience on the Wimbledon Virtual Hill, mentioning how there’s also a feature for playing tennis with other players. There’s a picnic space and you can also find a virtual replica of Sir Andy Murray who will guide you around the hill. Amex cardholders can access an exclusive experience with Sir Andy Murray, in which you join in a quest to take a selfie with him.

Upon arriving, you’ll witness interesting video highlights from the tournaments on the screen scattered throughout the location. The Wimbledon World also features a gift shop where you can exchange WimbledCoins, a crypto token, for digital items. Some of these include clothing items from Ralph Lauren’s 2022 Wimbledon Collection.

The Virtual Hill is what’s known as a metaverse-style socially interactive experience, where visitors can create a virtual camp on Wimbledon’s mound. Fun games and Metaverse experiences are also available for those visiting the virtual Wimbledon. A trivia activity tests users’ Wimbledon knowledge and helps them learn more about its history.

Wimbledon Virtual Hill
The Virtual Hill © Wimbledon

And, there’s an attractive social aspect to Virtual Hill, where users can visit it with family and friends, allowing them to experience the reimagined iconic fan destination together. They have the option to react to the live matches with emojis and even share the moments directly on social media. They can take on daily missions that involve answering the quizzes correctly or finding the hidden treasures scattered throughout the Hill.

Another available experience is the ‘Up Up We Go’ virtual air balloon, which provides visitors with a beautiful aerial view of the Hill and allows them to scout for hidden items in the mound.

Most importantly, creating virtual experiences such as the Virtual Hill drives the Metaverse one step closer to mainstream appropriation as a channel for important events in the sports industry. 

NFTs, the Metaverse, and sports have always gone hand-in-hand. One of the biggest NFT marketplaces, NBA Top Shot Marketplace, exclusively features NBA-related content and digital assets. We’re witnessing a digital revolution of the sports industry in Web3, and things seem to be getting more exciting as we progress into virtual realities.

For more information on accessing Virtual Hill, check out this link to their webpage.

Featured Music

Is Eurovision Coming to Your City in 2023?

The UK could host Eurovision for the first time since 1998

Ever since Ukraine won 2022’s Eurovision Song Contest back in May of this year, there has been widespread speculation as to whether Kyiv could host the singing competition due to the ongoing war with Russia. Finally, the European Broadcasting Union has broken its silence and it’s very possible that the UK will host in 2023.

Rumoured Eurovision Venue
The rumoured Glaswegian venue (From Daily Record)

The EBU has pretty much confirmed that Ukraine is unable to host the contest, due to safety concerns. The EBU released a public statement addressing its thought process, “At least 10,000 people are usually accredited to work on, or at, the Eurovision Song Contest including crew, staff, and journalists. A further 30,000 fans are expected to travel to the event from across the world. Their welfare is our prime concern,” it said, referencing the conflict. “It is therefore critical that decisions made in relation to such a complex live television event are made by broadcasting professionals and do not become politicized.” The decision follows a pattern in the music industry, whereby no international musical acts are scheduled to visit Ukraine in 2023.

As the news broke, this year’s winners, Kalush Orchestra voiced their distress to Metro, “I’m very disappointed because we had hoped to host it in Ukraine,” said Oleg. ‘It’s very important to help our country at the moment.” He continued, “We help as much as we can. I have a volunteering organisation, one of my musicians is fighting on the front line, and we’re also raising donations and money from the ticket sales, and we send it all to Ukraine.”

Since March of this year, Ukraine has been defending itself against neighbouring Russia, which launched a full-scale military invasion of the peaceful nation. Over the course of the year, Russia has seen a unified condemnation of its actions from international governments, the private sector and the sports and the entertainment industry. And the Eurovision Song Contest is no exception.

The news that the UK could host the competition has even reached Number 10 downing street. A spokesperson hinted that if the UK were to host, it needed to reflect “Ukraine’s rich culture, heritage and creativity, as well as building on the ongoing partnership between our two countries”. However, Nadine Dorries, the UK’s minister for culture deflated the excitement. Her tweet read, “Spoke to @Otkachenkoua this afternoon to discuss the Eurovision Song Contest. We remain 100% supportive of our friends in Ukraine being given the opportunity to host Eurovision next year and demonstrate to the world the enduring richness of Ukrainian culture and creativity.” Dorries continued, “We call upon the @EBU_HQ to review their decision and to ensure that Ukraine’s proposals are given full and proper consideration. They won it, they quite rightly want to host it. Slava Ukraini.”

Eurovision 2023
Rumoured presenters of Eurovision 2023 (From

Despite the government’s dousing enthusiasm for the UK to host, it hasn’t stopped the bookies from putting forward their predictions for next year’s contest, who have named Glasgow as the favourite! The Scottish city is closely followed by Birmingham, London, and Cardiff, which all meet the requirements set out by the European Broadcasting Union.

For many, hosting Eurovision seems like a burden and a waste of taxpayers’ money. For others, it’s an opportunity to showcase the UK’s dominance on the world stage. It’s no secret that Eurovision is a politically driven competition. And with a conflict on the continent, Britain has the opportunity to show Europe its ability to step up and support a country in need.

Community Featured

Anji Silva-Vadgama From Team BRIT: In Conversation

“Disability doesn’t define us – we are so much more than that,” Anji Silva-Vadgama from Team BRIT

Anji Silva-Vadgama is a racing car driver from Northamptonshire. With an interest in cars and racing since childhood, there was a time when Anji couldn’t imagine her life without cars. That was until 2018 when she received the diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. With constant pain in her right eye and pins and needles down her legs, Anji found herself in a position where giving up driving seemed like the only option. Luckily, that didn’t last long, and after starting treatment for her condition in 2019, she found herself on the Rookie Development programme at Team BRIT in 2021. 

Now a confident race car driver, Anji is showing people that no matter what disability or chronic condition you’re dealing with, you can still achieve your goals. 

To find out more, Chapter Z caught up with Anji Silva-Vadgama to find out about her experience with Team BRIT and race car driving with MS.

Anji-Silva-Vadgama Team Brit
Anji-Silva-Vadgama © Team BRIT

In Conversation With: Anji Silva-Vadgama

Let’s start at the beginning; when was driving first introduced to you? You only joined Team BRIT last year, but when did cars or racing first become an interest of yours?

Driving has always been in my blood, my grandfather was one of the first rally car champions in Tanzania and my dad was a mechanic and also took part in banger car racing.  I’ve grown up with cars and was lucky enough to see all sorts through my dad’s garage.

What is it about racing cars that resonated with you and made you want to pursue it?

I think for me it was more the message that Team BRIT brings to the table and the fact they give disabled individuals like myself a chance to race on a level playing field.

How did your diagnosis of MS influence your decision to join Team BRIT? What about the experience turned you to driving?

I actually stopped driving completely after I got diagnosed with MS. Seeing what Team BRIT has accomplished helped put confidence back into my driving and has allowed me to actually drive not only in the fast lane, but also on a personal level.

Can you give us an idea of what a day in the life of a member of Team BRIT looks like? 

I guess it changes depending on what day it is, whether it’s getting ready for a race day or a track day. But I can tell you it’s always fun, yet serious when we’re behind the wheel of the car.

How did becoming a part of Team BRIT change your outlook on life and MS?

My outlook has always been positive but meeting other people through Team BRIT helped to concrete that positivity. I take each day as it comes. Team BRIT is changing motorsport and changing lives.

Anji Silva-Vadgama
Anji Silva Vadgama © Chris Overend

What advice would you give to someone else who is coming to terms with an MS diagnosis or something similar?

It doesn’t define who you are and it doesn’t cost anything to ask for help. I’m always here if anyone wants to reach out. I’m always there to listen, it’s how I actually got through my diagnosis by talking to a volunteer through the MS Society. That gentleman now refers to me as his adoptive daughter and I see him as my MS Dad.

Why do you think it’s so important for people with disabilities or chronic illnesses to see other people achieving success and with platforms for their voices to be heard?

At the end of the day, we are also human. Hearing things like “you won’t be able to do this”, then proving people wrong just makes you feel good. It shows that our disability doesn’t define us – we are so much more than that.

And, finally, as you’re a rookie driver right now, what are your goals with Team BRIT over the next few years?

The goal is to make it to Le Mans 24hr and be part of the first all- disabled team to get there.