Mumbai: The first-ever Chess Olympiad Torch Relay reached Mumbai on Saturday, where it received a grand reception at Wankhede Stadium. At the key event held in Mumbai, Grandmasters Pravin Thipsay, Abhijit Kunte, and Soumya Swaminathan were present along with officials of the Department of Sports, State Chess Association, chess enthusiasts and budding players.
Addressing the event, Grand Master Abhijit Kunte expressed his happiness on India being the first country where the torch relay has begun its journey.
“For the first time ever, a torch relay has been introduced in Chess Olympiad; we are very happy that the torch relay has begun from India. There are many chess events being organized in the country,” said Abhijit Kunte in a statement.
Working President, Maharashtra Chess Association, Siddharth Mayur said that from now on, the Chess Olympiad Torch will begin its journey from India whenever the Chess Olympiad is to be held anywhere around the world.
Earlier on Saturday, the torch had reached Nagpur and Pune. It will next travel to Panaji, Goa. Other cities that have been covered so far include Leh, Jammu, Srinagar, Dharamshala, Shimla, Chandigarh, Patiala, Amritsar, Panipat, Gurugram, Kurukshetra, Dehradun, Haridwar, Meerut, Kanpur, Kevadia, Ahmedabad, Dandi, Surat, Jaipur and Daman.
The torch relay was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The torch will travel to 75 cities for 40 days before it culminates at Mahabalipuram in Tamil Nadu.
Over 200 countries are participating in the Chess Olympiad. Chess grandmasters will receive the torch at various identified venues.This year, for the very first time, the International Chess Body, FIDE, instituted the Chess Olympiad Torch which is part of the Olympic tradition but was never done in the Chess Olympiad. India is the first-ever country to have the Chess Olympiad Torch Relay.
The 44th edition of the world’s biggest chess event will be held in Mahabalipuram near Chennai from July 28 to August 10.