CHENNAI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said that Tamil Nadu has strong historical connection with the ancient game of chess.
Delivering his address in an eyecatching inaugural event, Modi said "Chathuranga Vallabanathar Temple in Tiruvarur shows that even Gods played chess with their queens. This shows that Tamil Nadu has a strong historical connection with the case and hence it is the chess powerhouse of India."
Modi appreciated the DMK-led State government for arranging the event at a short span and recalled the highlights of the 44th Chess Olympiad for which the State had spent a splendid Rs 102 crore assuring the world class event the best arrangements with a digital edge.
"This Olympiad has the highest number of players participating, the highest number of teams participating, the highest participation of women players when compared to other Olympiads. This is the first ever Olympiad where a torch relay was conducted. From now, the torch relay for all future Chess Olympiads will commence from India. The torch for the Olympiad travelled in 75 cities for 27,000 kilometres across the country,”said Modi.
Chief Minister MK Stalin also said that Tamil Nadu has the highest number of grandmasters in the country. "Among the 73 grandmasters in the country, Tamil Nadu has 26 grandmasters which comes to around 36 per cent of the total grandmasters in the country. For this reason, Tamil Nadu is rightly called the Chess capital of India,” said Stalin, who also added that references of Chess are found even in artifacts found in Keezhadi archaeological site.
Earlier, the 44th FIDE Chess Olympiad commenced with bright colours with the cultural events.
A flag march of all the 180 countries was held in which two representatives from each country carried their flags and marched. However, only the Indian contingent was full with all the players participating in the march.
Foreign players got a taste of Tamil culture with various cultural events starting from traditional dances of eight different states. However, the show stealer was the keyboard performance of upcoming musician Lydian Nadhaswaram, who gave a stellar performance.
Initially, he started with a single music track and then played music blind folded. As a special performance, he used his right and left hands seperately to play two different background music at the same time. He played the theme music of Harry Potter on the left and the theme music of 'Mission Impossible' from the right hand. Later, a performance from artistes with the voice of actor Kamal Haasan was another dramatic show in which the history of Tamil culture and civilisation starting from stone age to the present era was showcased.
Sand artist Sarvam Patel's sand art was another notable performance in the event. He drew the picture of Modi and Chief Minister MK Stalin as soon as the event began.
Then, the colours for the top teams were drawn for the open and women's section by Modi. In the men's section, USA was the top seed and in the women's section India was the top seed. PM Modi drew black for both the teams.