New Delhi:19/6/22:The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi launched the historic torch relay for the 44th Chess Olympiad today at Indira Gandhi Stadium, New Delhi. FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich handed over the torch to the Prime Minister, who in turn handed it over to Grandmaster Vishwanathan Anand. This 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. Prime Minister Modi also made the Khelo Chess Ceremonial move followed by Ms Koneru Humpy making a move. Union Ministers Shri Anurag Singh Thakur and Shri Nisith Pramanik, Chess players and enthusiasts, Ambassadors, Chess Officials were among those present on the occasion.
FIDE President Arkady 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.”
Addressing the gathering the Prime Minister 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.” He continued “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.” He said “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”
Highlighting another lesson from Chess, the Prime Minister said “Another great feature of the game of chess is farsightedness. Chess tells us that real success comes from far-sighted rather than short-term success.” The Prime Minister pointed out that this lesson informs India’s sports policy and schemes like Target Olympics Podium Scheme (TOPS) which have started yielding results.
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 will be the first-ever country to have the Chess Olympiad Torch Relay. 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.
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. With 189 countries participating, this will be the largest participation in any Chess Olympiad.