Modi launches torch relay for 44th Chess Olympiad as India prepares to host event for first time
Prime Minister Narendra Modi handing over the torch for the 44th Chess Olympiad, to be hosted by India, to grandmaster Vishwanathan Anand after receiving it from FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich, in New Delhi on June 19, 2022.

Modi launches torch relay for 44th Chess Olympiad as India prepares to host event for first time

New Delhi, June 19, 2022

Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the torch relay for the 44th Chess Olympiad at the Indira Gandhi Stadium here today.

FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich handed over the torch to the Prime Minister, who in turn handed it over to Grandmaster Vishwanathan Anand.

The 44th Chess Olympiad will be held in Chennai from July 28 to August 10/ The prestigious competition, which has been organised since 1927, is being hosted in India for the first time and in Asia after 30 years.

With 189 countries participating, this will be the largest participation in any Chess Olympiad.

The torch will 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.

The Prime Minister also made the Khelo Chess Ceremonial move followed by Koneru Humpy making a move.

Union Ministers Anurag Singh Thakur and Nisith Pramanik, chess players and enthusiasts, Ambassadors, and chess officials were among those present on the occasion.

Dvorkovich thanked the Government of India for taking the initiative in the start of the new tradition of torch relay which will popularise and galvanise the game all over the world.

“FIDE is grateful to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his presence and honouring us,” he said and recalled the Prime Minister’s speech on the occasion of most players playing chess in one place in 2010 on the significance of the game of chess in building new capabilities and role of combination of education and sports in leading to success.

The FIDE President hoped that chess would become part of all schools across India and all over the world. He said, “India today is the fastest growing chess country today and you have all grounds to be proud of that. We are grateful for your leadership for all the fantastic work that you are doing in the interest of chess.”

Modi said, “Today the first torch relay for Chess Olympiad games is starting from India. For the first time, this year, India is also going to host Chess Olympiad games. We are proud that a sport, starting from its birthplace and leaving its mark all over the world, has become a passion for many countries.”

“Centuries ago, the torch of this sport went to the whole world in the form of Chaturanga from India. Today the first Olympiad torch of chess is also coming out of India. Today, when India is celebrating its 75th year of independence, Amrit Mahotsav, this Chess Olympiad torch will also go to 75 cities of the country.

“FIDE has decided that the torch relay for each Chess Olympiad game will start from India itself. This honour is not only the honour of India, but also the honour of this glorious heritage of chess. I congratulate FIDE and all its members for this," he said.

"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 education tool for young people, for children," he said.

Modi noted that, in recent years, India is consistently improving its performance in chess. This year, India’s contingent in the Chess Olympiad is the biggest so far. He expressed the hope that India will create a new record of medals this year.

Referring to India’s recent successes in Tokyo Olympics, Paralympics, Thomas Cup and boxing the Prime Minister said “There is no dearth of talent in our country. There is no dearth of courage, dedication and strength among the youth of the country. Earlier these youths of ours had to wait for the right platform. Today, under the 'Khelo India' campaign, the country is searching and shaping these talents.”


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