Asian countries, their love for sports and the spirit is unparalleled which might be the reason for the challenges they undertake. Recently, Beijing hosted the Olympics Winter Games, 2022 by challenging themselves of conducting such a mammoth event in just a hundred days. World Games, a concept that started off way back in 1844 predates the Olympics by more than fifty years.
India, an exciting nation with a soaring economy in the modern world has its strongest foot forward when it comes to chess. The birthplace of the sport goes back to the sixth century in ancient India, and is today hosting the first ever FIDE World Chess Olympiad. The FIDE World Chess Olympiad is considered to be the world's foremost chess tournament where people from all over the world participate. The Russian invasion of Ukraine has only caused tragedy around the world, but has created this opportunity for India.
About three-fifty teams, hundred and eighty-seven countries, twelve days and eleven rounds. With this, came together a spectacular event that would almost be impossible to anticipate in a hundred twenty days.
The FIDE World Chess Olympiad, since its inception in 1927, had come to India for the first time and to Asian territory after almost thirty years. The incredible Indian Chess Federation grabbed the opportunity as soon as they sensed one backed by the Central Government and Tamil Nadu State Government who guaranteed $10 million for the event in mere 48 hours. It usually takes two years to organize an event of this scale because come on, it’s the world’s biggest chess event!
The Indian Federation not only managed to host this event extravagantly, but also commenced a historic ritual of torch relay with the FIDE (International Chess Federation). In a parallel spirit of the Olympics, the torch’s flame symbolizes peace, friendship, tolerance and hope.
In an interview with Chessbase India, the honourable Secretary of All India Chess Federation – Mr Bharat Singh Chauhan, says that the torch relay was introduced as a way to make the sport reach every home in India.
The Honorable Prime Minister of India, Shri. Narendra Modi inaugurated the Torch Relay event on the 19th of June 2022 at Delhi from where the torch travelled to seventy-five iconic locations in the country over a period of forty days! As we all must be aware, Modi Ji's love for sports and in that too, especially chess, made his presence and acknowledgement all the more special.
Here is a glimpse of the same:
This initiative ensured that the event gets celebrated all across the nation and that every chess enthusiast gets a chance to become a part of such a prestigious ceremony.
The venue for the Olympiad was set as “Four Points By Sheraton” in Poonjeri village in Mahabalipuram which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located around 55 kilometres from Chennai. The teams of organizers made it their home for a long time in order to make arrangements and worked day and night to make sure that it turns out to be the best Olympiad ever in history. They knew that they were trying to make an impossible dream possible.
To add on, Padma Bhushan awardee, the maestro, A. R. Rahman composed a chess anthem, extending a heart-warming welcome to people from all over the world starring himself, the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu – Thiru. M.K. Stalin, the multiple-time World Champion – India’s very own, very first GM Viswanathan Anand and the coaches & players of the Indian teams.
You can watch the video here:
So, how do you think the event concluded? Would it have gone smoothly? Do you think it is possible to pull off such an event within such a short time frame?
Well, making the impossible possible is a winner’s job!
And there it became, an Olympiad to remember!
An Olympiad that has made chess reach millions of people!
An Olympiad that people will refer to as the benchmark!
An Olympiad that has proved that if you want to do something, you can do it regardless of the time frame and standards!
An Olympiad that every Indian should be proud of!
An Olympiad that brought the world together at the origin of the game they love!
An Olympiad that will always be cherished!
Stay tuned to know more about the Olympiad, some of its stunning performances and the journeys of the pioneers of Indian chess.