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Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday opened the 44th FIDE Chess Olympiad in Chennai in the presence of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin, five-time chess champion Viswanathan Anand and several others in a glittering ceremony at the expansive Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in the city.

While inaugurating the ceremony, PM Modi said, “The 44th Chess Olympiad has been a tournament of many firsts and records. This is the first time the Chess Olympiad is being held in the place of origin of chess, India. It is coming to Asia for the first time in 3 decades."

 

“Let the games begin," said PM Modi minutes after Anand passed over the Olympiad torch to the prime minister and the Tamil Nadu chief minister, following which it was passed over to the younger grandmaster, R Praggnanandhaa and others.

PM Modi also said, “Tamil Nadu has a strong historical connection with chess. This is why it is a chess powerhouse for India. It has produced many of India’s chess grandmasters. It is home to the finest minds, vibrant culture and the oldest language in the world, Tamil."

 

 

 

 

PM Modi also talked about the importance of sports in uniting people and culture that nurtures the spirit of teamwork.

While talking about the sporting culture of India, PM Modi said, “India’s sporting culture is becoming stronger due to the perfect mix of two important factors. Energy of youth and enabling environment."

 

All eight Indian classical dance forms -- Kathak, Odissi, Kuchupudi, Kathakali, Mohiniyattam, Manipuri, Sattriya and Bharathanatyam -- were performed at the ceremony.

The people gathered for the opening were also treated to the musical delight of Chennai-based musician Lydian Nadhaswaram. The FIDE anthem was played and the participants took an oath. Legendary actor Rajinikanth was also present at the inaugural ceremony of the 44th FIDE Chess Olympiad.

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