‘Let the games begin’: PM Modi declares 44th Chess Olympiad open

Updated on Jul 28, 2022 08:41 PM IST

Chess Olympiad: Speaking at the inaugural event, Modi said the chess Olympiad is hosted by India at a special time in its history, marking 75 years of freedom from colonial rule.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Tamil Nadu CM MK Stalin at the opening ceremony of the 44th Chess Olympiad in Chennai on Thursday.(PTI)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Tamil Nadu CM MK Stalin at the opening ceremony of the 44th Chess Olympiad in Chennai on Thursday.(PTI)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi opened the FIDE 44th Chess Olympiad in Chennai in the presence of Tamil Nadu chief minister MK Stalin, five-times chess champion Viswanathan Anand and several others at a dazzling ceremony at the sprawling Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium. “Let the games begin,” said Modi minutes after Anand handed over the Olympiad torch to Modi and Stalin, following which it was handed over to young grandmaster R Praggnanandhaa and others.

Speaking at the inaugural event, Modi said, “Chess Olympiad is hosted by India at a special time in its history, which marks 75 years of freedom from colonial rule.” “In sports there are no losers, there are winners and there are future winners,” he added.

He further said, “There are many temples in Tamil Nadu with beautiful sculptures that represent different sports. Tamil Nadu has a strong historical connection with Chess. The state has produced many Chess masters. It's home to a vibrant culture and the oldest language, Tamil.”

Earlier, Stalin felicitated Modi as the stadium in with classy lighting and special performances.

Five-time world chess champion Viswanathan Anand handed over the Olympiad torch to Modi and Stalin. The torch was then at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai.

On his arrival, the PM, who sported a shawl with a chessboard designed border, was accorded a warm welcome with performances by musicians and percussionists all along the route he took by road to reach the venue.

Sand artist Sarvam Patel created magic inside the stadium in downtown Chennai with his skill by interspersing ancient Mamallapuram shore temple, the game of chess and the host nation India, besides that of Modi and Stalin. The FIDE 44th Chess Olympaid begins on July 28 and ends on August 10.

The lighting displayed multiple colours and the magic of light embossed on the foreground a grand chessboard and the flags of participating countries. The stadium's dais was decked with king-sized brightly coloured chess pieces of king, bishop, rook, queen, knight and the pawns.

A PTI report said a special dance-song "Vanakkam Chennai, Vanakkam Chess", was screened. An audio visual on the theme of sand-sculpting captured the game of chess to be played in Tamil Nadu's historic sea port town of Mamallapuram.

With an orchestra playing pulsating music, teams from dozens of countries including Japan, China, Australia, Germany, Italy, South Africa, Austria, Albania, Algeria, Angola, Argentina, and Barbados were welcomed to applause in the stadium.

'Jai Ho' was among the Indian instrumental music played while 'Vande Mataram' was rendered. All the eight forms of Indian classical dance, Kathak, Odissi, Kuchupudi, Kathakali, Mohiniyattam, Manipuri, Sattriya and Bharathanatyam were performed. People who gathered for the inaugural also reveled in the musical treat of Chennai based musician Lydian Nadhaswaram. FIDE anthem was played and a pledge was taken by participants. Top actor Rajinikanth was among the star invitees who were present.

(With inputs from agencies)

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