Anurag Thakur welcomes Chess Olympiad Torch in Dharmshala

Dharamsala, June 22 (Agency) Union Sports Minister Anurag Thakur welcomed the Chess Olympiad Torch relay here at the HPCA on Wednesday. Chess Grandmaster Deep Sengupta present on the occasion handed over the torch to Thakur and carry it forward to Shimla. The torch will be relayed across 75 cities across the country, commemorating the occasion of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav — celebrating 75 years of India’s independence. Rakesh Pathania, Minister of Youth Services and Sports and Minister of Forest of Government of Himachal Pradesh, Bharat Singh Chauhan, General Secreatary, All India Chess Federation, as well as other Sports Ministry, Sports Authority of India and AICF officials were also present at the event. A gathering of 500 people comprising school students, athletes of SAI centre Dharamshala, NYKS volunteers and youngsters from Himachal Chess Association graced the event at HPCA. Addressing the gathering, Thakur said: “Chess in India has a long heritage and history. We started from Chaturanga to Shatranj.

For the first time in the history of the Chess Olympiad, India is hosting the event and what better occasion than Azadi ka Amrit Mahtosav. A total of 188 countries, over 2000 players and 1000 officials will come to India during the Chess Olympiad. I congratulate AICF for taking this step and giving a chance to young chess enthusiasts to meet their senior counterparts and Grandmasters.” State’s Minister of Youth Services and Sports said that Dharamshala and Shimla have been selected by the Sports Ministry out of 75 cities of the country for organizing Chess Olympiad Torch Relay, which is a matter of great pride for the state. He said that Himachal is also establishing its own identity on the sports map. The 44th FIDE Chess Olympiad will be held from July 28 to August 10 in Chennai.