The historic torch relay for the 44th Chess Olympiad was launched at Indira Gandhi Stadium, New Delhi. Starting from the national capital, the historic Olympiad Torch Relay will travel across the country before reaching its destination – Mahabalipuram on July 27. Leh, Srinagar, Jaipur, Surat, Mumbai, Bhopal, Patna, Kolkata, Gangtok, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Thrissur, Port Blair and Kanyakumari will be among the 75 cities. Grandmasters of the states will receive the torch at every location.
The ceremony started with the traditional dances of India depicting the 64 squares, and during the show, the hosts showcased the history of chess, its origin, and its evolution. FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich handed over the torch to the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, who in turn handed it over to GM Vishwanathan Anand. Prime Minister Modi also made the Khelo Chess Ceremonial move, followed by Ms Humpy Koneru making a move. Union Ministers Shri Anurag Singh Thakur and Shri Nisith Pramanik, chess players and enthusiasts, ambassadors, and chess officials were among those attending the ceremony.
FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich thanked the Government of India for taking the initiative in starting a new tradition of torch relay which will popularise and galvanize the game all over the world. “The inaugural edition of the Chess Olympiad Torch Relay will only travel through India, but in future editions, it will be expanded to the entire world, in line with the traditions of the Olympic Games. It will travel across all continents visiting FIDE member territories, ultimately culminating in the host country and city ahead of the opening of the Chess Olympiad,” he said.
Speaking on the occasion, PM Narendra Modi dwelled on the Indian heritage in chess. “Our ancestors invented games like chaturanga or chess for analytical and problem-solving brains. Chess, via India, reached many countries of the world and became very popular. Today, chess is being used in schools as an educational tool for young people, for children,” he said. He also noted that in recent years, India has consistently improved its chess performance. India’s contingent in the Chess Olympiad is the biggest this year. The Prime Minister expressed the hope that India will create a new record of medals this year.
The 44th Chess Olympiad will be held in Chennai from July 28 to August 10, 2022. The prestigious competition, which has been organized since 1927, is being hosted in India for the first time.
Photo: All-India Chess Federation