PANAJI: The first-ever Chess Olympiad Torch Relay reached Panaji in Goa on Sunday. In Goa, State Minister of Sports and Youth Affairs and Art and Culture Govind Gaude received the torch from Grandmaster Anurag Mhamal and handed it over to International Grandmaster Bhakti Kulkarni.
"1st Ever #ChessOlympiadTorchRelay Update City- PANAJI: July 3 Minister of Sports and Youth Affairs and Art and Culture, Government of Goa, @GovindForGoa received the Torch from GM Anurag Mhamal & handed it over to IM @Bhaktichess #India4ChessOlympiad@FIDE_chess," tweeted SAI Media. Earlier, the Chess Olympiad Torch Relay reached Mumbai on Saturday, where it received a grand reception at Wankhede Stadium.
At the key event held in Mumbai, Grandmasters Pravin Thipsay, Abhijit Kunte, and Soumya Swaminathan were present along with officials of the Department of Sports, State Chess Association, chess enthusiasts and budding players. Earlier on Saturday, the torch had reached Nagpur and Pune. It will next travel to Panaji, Goa.Other cities that have been covered so far include Leh, Jammu, Srinagar, Dharamshala, Shimla, Chandigarh, Patiala, Amritsar, Panipat, Gurugram, Kurukshetra, Dehradun, Haridwar, Meerut, Kanpur, Kevadia, Ahmedabad, Dandi, Surat, Jaipur and Daman.
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.