Board is set as 44th International Chess Olympiad begins in Chennai

Global players descend on Chennai for India’s first Chess Olympiad


July 28, 2022

/ By / Chennai

Record participation awaited as 44th International Chess Olympiad begins in Chennai tomorrow. The entire city has been decked up with chess pieces and mascots placed all around, including the famed Napier Bridge that resembles a giant chess board.

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India is hosting the first-ever International Chess Olympiad, world’s biggest chess event, the 44th International Olympiad, organised by Fédération Internationale des Échecs (FIDE). The largest global chess championship is set to be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi today in Chennai and the actual competition will start from tomorrow in a specially set up facility at Mamallapuram, about 40 km south of Chennai.

The event’s official mascot is named Thambi, a horse clad in the traditional Veshti–Sattai. Buses with Namma Chess, Namma Pride written over them alongside a picture of Thambi were flagged by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin move around all over the city that has been decked up to resemble a giant chess board as Stalin has earmarked INR 920 million for organisation of the event, that will see a record participation, with 188 teams in the Open Section and 162 in the women’s category from 187 nations.

The Indian participation is also at a record, as 30 Indian players across six teams (three in open and three women) will participate.

A series of promotional videos have been prepared in the run up to the Olympiad, which has come to India for the first time ever. Superstar Rajinikanth, himself a chess player, released a video teaser on July 15 that featured the official anthem of the tournament. Composed by Academy Award winner A R Rahman, the official anthem of the Olympiad is titled ‘Vanakkam Chennai’ and features Stalin, amongst others, with the iconic Napier Bridge, dressed up as a chess board, in the background.




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