Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday expressed hope that India will create a new record of medals 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.
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 Koneru Humpy making a move. Union Ministers Anurag Singh Thakur and Nisith Pramanik, Chess players and enthusiasts, Ambassadors, Chess Officials were among those present on the occasion.
Addressing the gathering the Prime Minister said "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."
The Prime Minister talked about many lessons that Chess gives us in our lives. Underlining the need for the right support for everyone irrespective of their place in life, the Prime Minister said "Just like every piece of chess has its own unique strength and a unique ability. If you make the right move with a piece and use its power properly, then it becomes the most powerful. This speciality of Chessboard gives us a big message of life. If given the right support and the right environment, no goal is impossible even for the weakest."
Highlighting another lesson from Chess, Modi 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.
Referring to India's recent successes in Tokyo Olympics, Paralympics, Thomas Cup and boxing, Modi 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."
He also pointed out that sports have been treated as other academic subjects under the New Education Policy. He said that many new dimensions of sports like physio, sports science are coming to the fore and many sports universities are being opened in the country.
The Prime Minister acknowledged the pressure of expectations on the player and advised them to give their hundred per cent with zero per cent tension or pressure. Modi said that the country sees their hardwork and dedication.
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.
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