New Delhi [India], June 19 (ANI): Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports Anurag Thakur on Saturday invoked the rich history of chess in India at the 44th Chess Olympiad.
The Prime Minister launched the historic torch relay for the 44th Chess Olympiad today at Indira Gandhi Stadium, New Delhi. This year, India's contingent in the Chess Olympiad is the biggest so far.
"It is a matter of pride that the Chess Olympiad will come to India for the first time and that the inaugural Chess Olympiad Torch Relay will herald the mega event with 188 nations and more than 2,000 players," he said.
"Indian sports have made rapid strides under Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi Ji's leadership. Not only has he ensured a massive increase in budget for sports and envisioned Khelo India and Fit India movement but also ensured the elite sportspersons are well-supported and focus only on giving off good performances," he said.
The 40-day torch relay will see some of the best stars from the Indian chess community carrying the torch. The torch rally will culminate in Mahabalipuram, before heading over to the FIDE Headquarters, Switzerland.
Besides the torch rally, cultural events are planned including an interactive bus tour travelling from one city to another, and a cultural parade varying from region to region featuring the young chess players' community.
India, which made its debut at the event in 1956 Moscow (27th position), has a gold medal (joint winners with Russia in 2020) and two bronze medals (2021, 2014) from the Chess Olympiad. While the 2020 and 2021 editions were held virtually owing to the Covid 19 pandemic, the 2022 edition will be the first over-the-board Chess Olympiad being held since 2018 in Georgia.
India is hosting the prestigious Chess Olympiad for the first time and in the process, Asia gets to host the event after a gap of 30 years. The Philippines last hosted it from Asia in 1992. Being the host, India is set to field 20 players - their biggest ever contingent - at the 44th FIDE Chess Olympiad. India is entitled to field 2 teams each in the Open and Women's category. Over 2000 participants will be represented at the event from 188 countries.
The 44th Chess Olympiad will be held in Chennai from July 28 to August 10, 2022. (ANI)