First-ever Chess Olympiad torch relay reaches Nagaland’s capital Kohima
Kohima, July 11 (EMN): The first-ever torch relay of the 44th Chess Olympiad 2022, which will be held in Tamil Nadu later this month, reached Kohima on Monday morning after travelling to several parts of the country.
Grandmaster Ankit Rajpara handed over the torch to Nagaland Chess Association (NCA) president Neiba Kronu, who is also the minister of Planning and Coordination, Land Revenue and Parliamentary Affairs. A warm reception was accorded by the NCA in collaboration with the Youth Resources and Sports Department, Government of Nagaland.
Addressing the gathering at The Heritage, Old DC Bungalow in Kohima, Kronu said Chess originated in India before it spread to various parts of the world and become an important game, and played by many famous personalities like Napoleon Bonaparte, kings, presidents and prime ministers.
He said that the International Chess Federation or World Chess Federation (FIDE) has given India the opportunity to hold the first and historic torch relay, which was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the IG Stadium in New Delhi on June 19 before it was first hosted by Leh.
Chess helps students and young people to concentrate and think deeper, he said, adding that the game also helps thinkers, politicians and individuals to ‘become wiser’. Maintaining that the NCA has been organising chess tournaments even at the district levels, he urged the organisers to conduct more such tournaments.
‘Chess will flourish in Nagaland’
Meanwhile, Grandmaster Ankit Rajpara expressed hope that chess will flourish and become more popular in Nagaland.
Speaking to journalists, he said that the torch relay is a first of its kind and a pleasant experience for him to be a part of the event in Kohima and to be able to spend time with the budding chess players from the state and its culture.
On Chess Olympiad, he said it has been held for 95 years and the 44th edition will be held in India, a special moment for the country as players from more than 185 countries will be participating, which is the highest number ever.
He informed that the World Chess Federation had decided to begin torch relay from India every time the Chess Olympiad is conducted (once in every two years) as the game started in India more than 1400 years back. He added that the Olympiad chess relay is an integral part of Indian chess.
In his welcome address delivered earlier in the programme, Vice President of NCA P Khezhie informed that the 44th Chess Olympiad 2022 will be held in Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu from July 28 to August 10, 2022, for which the torch relay was initiated. The torch will cover 75 iconic cities across 36 states and Union Territories in 40 days before reaching Mahabalipuram, the host city in Tamil Nadu.
He informed that the torch will be taken to 75 cities to commemorate Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav (75 years of India’s Independence) and that the torch will travel to all the continents, visiting FIDE member territories starting from the next edition of the Olympiad, in line with the tradition of the Olympic Games.
He went on to inform that the NCA is organising a Blitz tournament along with the 44th FIDE Chess Olympiad Torch relay starting on July 11 and there will be cash prizes for under-18 and under-14. It will be organised in collaboration with the Department of Youth Resources and Sports, according to an update.