India Hosts the 44th Chess Olympiad For The First Time
India, the inventor of chess, is hosting the 44th Chess Olympiad to be held in Mahabalipuram near Chennai on Thursday, July 28, 2022, & end on Wednesday, August 10, 2022. The prestigious competition, which has been organised since 1927, is being hosted in India for the first time & in Asia after 30 years. With 189 countries participating with a record 343 teams in open and women's sections have already entered for the tournament. This is going to be the largest participation in any Chess Olympiad.
The mascot for the mega chess event is a chess knight wearing a white shirt & dhoti, standing with folded hands welcoming the players & officials for the 44th Chess Olympiad. The mascot is called 'Thambi' or younger brother in Tamil, where the Olympiad is hosted was launched by Chief Minister M.K. Stalin on late Thursday. AHEAD of 44th Chess Olympiad, Olympic-style Torch Relay to be introduced. The dhoti has white and black checked border, & the shirt sports the words 'Believe Chess'. The 44th Chess Olympiad logo consisting of different chess pieces was also launched by Stalin.
On June 19, PM Narendra Modi launched the Torch Relay for the 44th Chess Olympiad in Delhi. It is also the first time that a Chess Olympiad Torch has been instituted. On June 20, India’s Chess legend and 5-time world champion Viswanathan Anand handed over the Olympiad torch to Kiren Rijiju, Union Minister of Law and Justice, at Red Fort, New Delhi. The torch was then handed over to the second Grand Master of India Dibyendu Barua. Due to paucity of time, the inaugural edition of the Chess Olympiad Torch Relay will only transverse in India. According to International Chess Federation (FIDE), starting from the next edition of the Olympiad, in line with the traditions of the Olympic Games, the torch will travel across all continents visiting FIDE member territories. Furthermore, the Chess Olympiad Torch relay will always start from India, since the game originates from India, and FIDE wishes to honour the Government of India’s efforts to popularize the game. Earlier, the mascot for the Olympiad ‘Thambi’ and its official logo was also released on June 9.
China will not take part in the 44th Chess Olympiad as no reason was mentioned by her for their withdrawal. China would have been among the top medal contenders in the Olympiad, had it participated & now their absence would brighten India’s chances. Belarus & Russia have been barred from participating in tournaments by the FIDE (world chess federation) following the Russian invasion of neighbouring Ukraine on February 24, 2022. China’s absence in addition to that of Russia, increases India’s chances.
Two teams are being fielded by India each in the Open and women’s sections & there is a probability of having an extra team in case the number of entries is in odd numbers. The host nation’s top players including K Sasikiran, Vidit Gujrathi, P Harikrishna, R Praggnanandhaa (among men) and D Harika, Koneru Humpy, R Vaishali, Vantika Agarwal (women) are part of the two different squads for the Open & women’s events & would be expected to challenge for top honours. Five-time champion Viswanathan Anand has opted out & would mentor the players.
It is indeed a great matter of huge honour for the country. What Athens means for Olympics is how India is going to chess community. It has been a dream comes true bringing the Chess Olympiad to India & now this announcement adds not only joy but extreme pride. This initiative will help in galvanising the support of fans & popularising the game of chess across the world. Sport Ministry attempts to introduce and popularize as ‘Khelo Chess’ like ‘Khelo India
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