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The first-ever torch relay for the Chess Olympiad

The 44th edition of the Chess Olympiad will be held in Mahabalipuram, near Chennai, from July 28 to August 10. Today India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi flagged off the first-ever torch relay for the Chess Olympiad!

Photo: PTI

With an impressive ceremony at the IG Stadium in New Delhi, India welcomed chess players and the chess fraternity from around the world to celebrate the very first torch relay in a Chess Olympiad. According to news9live, FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich handed over the torch to the Prime Minister who gave it to the legendary Viswanathan Anand.

The torch will be taken to 75 cities in a span of 40 days before arriving in Mahabalipuram, and at every location, chess grandmasters of the state will receive the torch. 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.

The 44th edition of the Chess Olympiad was initially scheduled to take place in Russia. However, with the war-like situation between Russia and Ukraine, FIDE began searching for new hosts and invited new bidders. The strong efforts from the federation and All India Chess Federation Secretary Bharat Singh Chauhan brought the impossible to reality as FIDE granted India the rights to host the Olympiad which has been taking place for the last 95 years. So, in nearly 100 years of the history of the Chess Olympiad, it’s the first time that India will be hosting the prestigious event.

“We are proud that the sport rose from its birthplace and has made its presence felt all over the world. We are delighted to see chess return to its birthplace and celebrate its success in the form of the Chess Olympiad.” PM Modi said, adding: “In India wrestling, kabaddi, malkhamb were played to remain fit and for analytical skills, our forefathers invented chess. Chess traveled to the whole world and became popular. Today chess has become an educational tool, chess players are becoming problem solvers!”

With 188 countries registered for the Olympiad, India is set to witness a huge congregation of nations for a sporting event for the first time on Indian soil.

Find more about the 44th edition of the Chess Olympiad at the official website.

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