The first-ever torch relay of the Chess Olympiad, which will be held in Tamil Nadu later this month, reached the Nagaland capital on Monday. Grandmaster Ankit Rajpara handed over the torch to Nagaland Chess Association (NCA) president Neiba Kronu at The Heritage, Old DC Bungalow.
Before the ceremony, Rajpara participated in simultaneous chess with different age groups of players in the state. Kronu and Rajpara rallied with the Olympiad torch from The Heritage to the Ladies Mile Road and the Indoor Stadium.
Addressing the gathering, Kronu said the conduct of the 44th Chess Olympiad from July 28 to August 10 in Mahabalipuram is an opportunity to "reclaim" the game. The torch is being taken to 75 cities across the country in 40 days before reaching the host city, NCA vice president P Khezhie said.
The International Chess Federation had said the Olympiad torch relay would always begin from India, where the sport originated, and would travel across all continents before reaching the host city.
The All India Chess Federation had said due to paucity of time, the torch relay would only traverse in India this year. "It's a great pride for India to witness that a unique sport originating from its soil has stood the test of time and is now leaving its mark all over the world," Khezhie added.
Kronu highlighted that the NCA had been advocating the game in the state for the past three decades or more, organising tournaments at the district-level and even in remote areas. He added that the efforts to encourage the chess game among the people would continue.