Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to launch the first-ever Chess Olympiad Torch Relay for the 44th edition of the event on Sunday at the Indira Gandhi International Stadium in New Delhi. The inaugural edition of the Chess Olympiad Torch Relay will visit 75 cities across the country as the All India Chess Federation (AICF) revealed the route map on Friday. The International Chess Federation (FIDE) introduced an Olympic-style Torch Relay tradition for its Olympiad from this year’s event and named India as the starting flame point for each edition, commemorating the popularity of chess in the country where the sport originated.
“I’m really excited to be part of this historic moment. I was always fascinated by the Olympic Torch Relay concept and now we also have one in chess. But the most amazing thing about it is, that it will always start in India. And as an Indian, I feel really proud about this fact,” said the five-time World Champion Viswanathan Anand while addressing the media during a press conference.
AICF President Sanjay Kapoor and AICF Secretary and Olympiad Director Bharat Singh Chauhan were also present at the event.
Starting from the national capital, the historic Olympiad Torch Relay will travel across the country before reaching its destination–Mahabalipuram on July 27. Leh, Srinagar, Jaipur, Surat, Mumbai, Bhopal, Patna, Kolkata, Gangtok, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Thrissur, Port Blair and Kanyakumari will be among the 75 cities.
“Chess Olympiad Torch Relay is a great medium to popularise the sport in India. We have ensured that it visits and covers every corner of the country, inspiring many individuals. It will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for everyone. I believe this will contribute immensely towards making India a global chess powerhouse,” said AICF Secretary and Olympiad Director Chauhan.
“This Olympiad Torch Relay will add a golden chapter in Indian sporting history and, starting from India every edition, it will motivate generations to take up this sport. On behalf of the federation, we thank Honourable Prime Minister Modi ji for accepting our invitation. Events of such stature take a lot of effort and we are fortunate to have received the support from everyone including the government and other stakeholders,” AICF President Kapoor added.
The 44th edition of the world’s biggest chess event will be held in Mahabalipuram near Chennai from July 28 to August 10.
In nearly 100 years of the history of the Chess Olympiad, it’s the first time that India will be hosting this prestigious event. With 188 countries registered for the upcoming Olympiad, Indian sporting history is also set to witness a huge congregation of countries on Indian soil for the first time at an event. And celebrating this, AICF has unveiled a social media campaign ‘Namaste World’, welcoming the chess community from around the world for this event.
AICF had earlier announced two Indian teams each in the open and women’s sections as the 44th Chess Olympiad has attracted 343 teams in both sections.
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