Gorakhpur (Uttar Pradesh) [India], June 28 (ANI): The first-ever Chess Olympiad Torch Relay reached Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh on Tuesday.
UP Minister Surya Pratap Shahi received the torch from Woman Grandmaster Vantika and handed it over to Grandmaster GN Gopal. Grandmaster Tejas Bakre was also present there.
"1st Ever #ChessOlympiadTorchRelay Update City - GORAKHPUR: June 28 Minister, UP Surya Pratap Shahi received Torch from WGM @vantikachess and handed it over to GM G N Gopal at Gorakhnath Temple. GM Tejas Bakre was also present #India4ChessOlympiad," tweeted SAI Media.
Earlier on Tuesday, the torch reached Ayodhya.
Cabinet Minister Aravind Kumar Sharma received the torch from Women Grandmaster Vantika and handed it over to Grandmaster G N Gopal.
"1st Ever #ChessOlympiadTorchRelay Update City - AYODHYA: June 28 Cabinet Minister Aravind Kumar Sharma received Torch from WGM @vantikachess and handed it over to GM G N Gopal. GM Tejas Bakre was present," tweeted SAI Media.
On Monday, the torch had reached Varanasi and Prayagraj.
Th torch was received by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath in Lucknow on Sunday. He handed it over to India's first Grandmaster and five-time champion Viswanathan Anand.
Other cities that have been covered so far include Leh, Jammu, Srinagar, Dharamshala, Shimla, Chandigarh, Patiala, Amritsar, Panipat, Gurugram, Kurukshetra, Dehradun, Haridwar, Meerut and Kanpur.
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.
In nearly 100 years of the history of the Chess Olympiad, it's the first time that India will be hosting this prestigious event. With over 200 countries registered for the upcoming Olympiad, Indian sporting history is also set to witness a huge congregation of countries on Indian soil for the first time at an event.
AICF has unveiled a social media campaign 'Namaste World', welcoming the chess community from around the world for this event.
AICF had earlier announced two Indian teams each in the open and women's sections as the 44th Chess Olympiad has attracted 343 teams in both sections. (ANI)