New Delhi [India], June 20 (ANI): The Union Law and Justice Minister Kiren Rijiju on Monday expressed that hosting the 44th Chess Olympiad is a great moment for India and said that the torch ignition will be held in India every two years.
Kiren Rijiju participated in the torch relay for the 44th Chess Olympiad, along with FIDE president Arkady Dvorkovich, and five-time world champion Vishwanathan Anand. The torch relay was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday at Indira Gandhi Stadium, New Delhi.
"India will cherish this moment of hosting the 44th Chess Olympiad forever. For the very first time, such a big event will be hosted in India. Most importantly, the torch which is actually the beginning of any Olympic movement will be lit from India every two years," said Kiren Rijiju.
"The ignition of the torch itself is something which is deeply, emotionally connected with the country where it begins from. The torch will be lit in India after every two years, as itself is a moment of sanctity for everyone so that the ritual which has started today, should be carried forward," he added.
This year, India's contingent in the Chess Olympiad is the biggest so far. 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)