New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi Sunday flagged off the first ever-torch relay for the Chess Olympiad ahead of the 44th edition of the event.
The olympiad will take place in Mahabalipuram between 28 July and 10 August.
The International Chess Federation (FIDE) has for the very first time instituted the torch relay, which is part of the Olympic tradition, but was never done for the Chess Olympiad.
FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich handed over the torch to Modi, who gave it to five-time world champion Viswanathan Anand.
The torch will be taken to 75 cities over a span of 40 days before arriving in Mahabalipuram near Chennai. At every location, chess grandmasters of the state will receive the torch.
Leh, Srinagar, Jaipur, Surat, Mumbai, Bhopal, Patna, Kolkata, Gangtok, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Thrissur, Port Blair and Kanyakumari are among the 75 cities.
Speaking on the occasion, the prime minister, who made a ceremonial move on the chess board against woman Grandmaster Koneru Humpy, said: “The first-ever torch relay of the Chess Olympiad is starting from India, it is also the first time India is hosting the big event.”
“We are proud that the sport rose from its birth place and has made its presence felt all over the world. We are delighted to see chess return to its birth place and celebrate its success in the form of Chess Olympiad.”
“FIDE has decided that the torch relay will start from India. It is not just India’s honour, but an honour for chess,” the PM further said, adding that chess is not just a game but has now become an educational tool.
ThePrint’s Photo Editor Praveen Jain brings you pictures from the event.
Inputs from PTI