Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday marked the first torch relay of its kind for the Chess Olympics ahead of the 44th edition of the event, which will take place in Mahabalipuram from July 28th to August 10th.
The International Chess Organization, FIDE, has for the first time introduced the torch relay, which is part of the Olympic tradition but has never been held in the Chess Olympics.
FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich handed over the torch to the prime minister, who presented it to the legendary Viswanathan Anand.
The torch will be taken to 75 cities within 40 days before arriving in Mahabalipuram near Chennai. The chess grandmasters of the state will receive the torch at any place.
Leh, Srinagar, Jaipur, Surat, Mumbai, Bhopal, Patna, Kolkata, Gangtok, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Trisur, Port Blair and Kanyakumari are among the 75 cities.
This is the first time in the nearly 100-year history of the Chess Olympics that India will host the prestigious event. With 188 countries registered for the upcoming Olympics, the country will witness a huge congregation of nations for a sporting event for the first time on Indian soil.
Speaking on the occasion, Prime Minister Modi, who made a ceremonial move on the chessboard against the female grandmaster Knero Humpi, said:
“We are proud that the sport has risen from its birthplace and made its presence felt all over the world. We are glad to see that chess is returning to its place of birth and to celebrate our success in the form of a chess olympiad.
“FIDE has decided that the torch relay will start in India. This is not only an honor for India, but also an honor for chess. Modi said chess is not just a game, but has now become an educational tool.
“In India, wrestling, kabadi, malkhamb were played in order to stay in shape and for analytical skills, our ancestors invented chess. Chess has traveled the world and become popular. “Today, chess has become an educational tool, chess players are becoming crucial problems,” he said.
Modi said that yoga and meditation are vital to success in chess.
Sports Minister Anurag Thakur, who also attended the grand event, thanked the prime minister for supporting the sport.
“For India, it is a great opportunity for the country where the Shah originated to host this country. I thank the Prime Minister for his efforts and support. ” “When the torch relay happens, it will start in India. “In 1956, India participated in the Chess Olympics for the first time and then took years to win a medal, but then never looked back,” he said.
“Today there is a huge awareness of sports in the country, thanks to our Prime Minister. He is not just a sports enthusiast, a sports fan, he is also an avid sports fan who takes care of our athletes. ” The president of the World Chess Organization, Dvorkovich, said he was grateful to the Indian government for hosting the prestigious event.
“I am happy to launch the new traditional torch relay in India. The Olympic flame is a symbol of the Olympic movement and friendship, as will the torch relay. In the future, we plan to extend the torch relay to the whole world, but it will always start from India.
“FIDE is grateful to the Government of India for taking this initiative, which will make this game popular. “I hope that chess can become part of the educational program in all schools in India and around the world,” he said.
“Today, India is the fastest growing chess country in the world. My dream is to host the Olympics in India. The ceremony began with traditional Indian dances depicting the 64 squares.
The program also showed the history of the ancient game, its origin and evolution.