Shimla (Himachal Pradesh) [India], June 23 (ANI): The first-ever Chess Olympiad Torch Relay reached Shimla on Wednesday.
Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jairam Thakur received the torch from Grandmaster Deep Sengupta. The torch will travel next to Chandigarh, UT.
"1st Ever #ChessOlympiadTorchRelay Update City 6- Shimla: 22nd June Hon. CM of Himachal Pradesh @jairamthakurbjp receives the Torch from GM @gmdeepsengupta in Shimla," tweeted SAI Media.
Jairam Thakur also tweeted in Hindi, "Today at the Indian Institute of Higher Studies, Shimla, we received the torch of the 44th session of Chess Olympiad from Relay Grand Master Deep Sen Gupta. Also sent it to Chandigarh."
"Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the torch relay of Chess Olympiad on June 19, taking the initiative of a new tradition from Delhi. Hearty congratulations to the Prime Minister," said in another tweet.
The torch had reached Shimla from Dharamshala, where Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports Anurag Thakur received it and handed it over to Grandmaster Deep Sengupta.
Earlier on Tuesday, the first-ever Chess Olympiad Torch Relay reached Srinagar and then Jammu. Leh hosted the first-ever Torch Relay of the 44th Chess Olympiad on Monday. The torch, launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday, began its relay from Leh.
The torch will travel in 75 cities for 40 days before it culminates at Mahabalipuram in Tamil Nadu. 189 countries are participating in the Chess Olympiad. Chess grandmasters will receive the torch at various identified venues. Grand Master Dibyendu Barua brought the torch from Delhi and handed it over to LG RK Mathur, to begin the relay from Leh.
This year, for the very first time, the International Chess Body, FIDE, has instituted the Chess Olympiad Torch which is part of Olympic tradition but was never done in the Chess Olympiad. India will be 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 188 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. And celebrating this, 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)