Chennai Chess Olympiad makes the first move: Most prestigious event is back home, says Modi
Indian prime minister Narendra Modi with other dignitaries at the Opening Ceremony of the 44th Chess Olympiad, in Chennai in the southern state of Tamil Nadu on Thursday, July 28, 2022. (ANI Photo)
INDIAN prime minister Narendra Modi on Thursday (28) inaugurated the 44th Chess Olympiad, a prestigious event related to the game of brains, in Chennai in the southern state of Tamil Nadu.
The prime minister, who arrived in Chennai earlier in the day, said while addressing the inauguration event that the “most prestigious event has come back to its home”.
India is playing host to the Chess Olympiad for the first time even though the game was invented on its soil several thousand years ago.
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“The most prestigious event has come back to its home. This is the first time the Chess Olympiad is being held at its place of origin. It is coming to Asia for the first time in three decades,” Modi, who was wearing a traditional Tamil attire, said.
“Sports have always been considered divine. The place in which it is happening is most fitting. In Tamil Nadu, you can find temple for Sathuranganathan. Even god played the game of chess. Tamil Nadu has a strong historical connection with chess. That’s why the state is the chess powerhouse of India,” he added.
Modi also said that Tamil Nadu has produced many chess grandmasters and is home to one of the oldest languages in the world — Tamil.
Apart from the prime minister, Tamil Nadu governor RN Ravi, chief minister MK Stalin and Indian sports minister Anurag Thakur were present at the opening ceremony which was held at the Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium in Chennai.
Three Indian teams will feature in the tournament. Former world champion and legendary chess player Vishwanathan Anand will not be playing in the tournament but will mentor players.
The Olympiad was moved out of Russia after it invaded neighbouring Ukraine earlier this year and was allotted to India.