In a first of a kind event, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the torch relay of the Chess Olympiad in Chennai on Sunday, 19 June. This year, for the very first time, the International Chess Body, FIDE, has instituted the Chess Olympiad Torch which is part of Olympic tradition but was never done in the Chess Olympiad. India became the first-ever country to have the Chess Olympiad Torch Relay.
The opening ceremony showcased the Indian values of vasudhaiva kutumbakam before the floor was given to Sports minister Anurag Thakur. The former BCCI president announced that it is quite encouraging that the first ever torch relay for the Chess Olympiad would begin from India. He further added that the torch relay, going forward, will start from India before going into all of the continents.
— ANI (@ANI) June 19, 2022
Notably, taking the Indian roots of Chess to a greater height, this tradition of Torch Relay for the Chess Olympiad will henceforth always begin in India and travel across all continents before reaching the host country, said an official release.
FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich handed over the torch to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who in turn handed it over to Grandmaster Vishwanathan Anand.
This torch will then be taken to 75 cities in a span of 40 days before the final culmination at Mahabalipuram near Chennai. At every location, chess grandmasters of the state will receive the torch.
Speaking at the event, the Prime Minister of India said that India was proud that a sport with Indian roots has gone abroad and has made its mark across the world. He further added that in the era of the internet, chess is still being celebrated by many across the world.
Chess Olympiad games
Chess Olympiad games host
Sports, , passion : PM
— PMO India (@PMOIndia) June 19, 2022
“Chess was present in its earliest form as Chaturanga in India and it is a matter of pride that the first Torch Relay will happen from India.”
He expressed thanks to FIDE for their role in this process and said that whoever won the tournament, it would be a win for the sport itself.
He delved into a history lesson a little, narrating that the forefathers in India created games like Chaturanga to keep their brains sharp and in the modern world, kids are growing up to be problem solvers after playing the game of chess since childhood.
The 44th Chess Olympiad will be held in Chennai from July 28 to August 10, 2022. The prestigious competition, which has been organised since 1927, is being hosted in India for the first time and in Asia after 30 years.