Prime Minister's Office Text of PM’s address at the opening of 44th Chess Olympiad in Chennai Posted On: 28 JUL 2022 9:16PM by PIB Delhi Go
Prime Minister’s Office
Text of PM’s address at the opening of 44th Chess Olympiad in Chennai
Posted On: 28 JUL 2022 9:16PM by PIB Delhi
Good evening Chennai! Vanakkam! Namaste!
Governor of Tamil Nadu, Shri R. N. Ravi ji, Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Shri M.K.Stalin ji, Ministers and dignitaries, FIDE President Mr. Arkady Dvorkovich ji, All the chess players and teams participating in this tournament, Chess lovers from all over the world, Ladies and gentlemen, I welcome you all to the 44th Chess Olympiad being held in India. The most prestigious tournament in chess has come to India, the home of chess. This tournament is here at a special time in India’s history. This is the year we are marking 75 years of freedom from colonial rule. it is our Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav It is an honour to have you here at such an important time for our country.
I would like to applaud the organisers of this tournament. In a very short period of time, they have made outstanding arrangements. We in India believe in ‘अतिथि देवो भव’, which means, ‘A guest is like God’. Thousands of years ago, Saint Thiruvalluvar said: इरुन-दोम्बी इलवाड़-वदेल्लाम् विरून-दोम्बी वेड़ाणमई सेय्दर् पोरुट्टु | It means, the whole purpose of earning a living and having a home is to be hospitable. We will make every effort to make you feel comfortable. We will help you bring your best game to the board.
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. It has the highest ever number of countries participating. It has the highest ever number of teams participating. It has the highest number of entries in the women’s section. The first ever Torch Relay of the Chess Olympiad started this time. This Chess Olympiad will be in our memories forever.
Since it is 75 years of our freedom, the Torch Relay for the Chess Olympiad travelled to 75 iconic locations. Its over twenty-seven thousand kilometre journey has ignited the minds of youngsters and motivated them to take up Chess. It is also a matter of pride that the torch relay for the Chess Olympiad will always start from India in the future. On behalf of every Indian, I extend my thanks to FIDE for this gesture.
The place at which this Chess Olympiad is happening is most fitting. There are many temples in Tamil Nadu with beautiful sculptures that represent different sports. Sport has always been considered divine in our culture. In fact, in Tamil Nadu, you will find the temple of Chaturanga Vallabhanathar. This temple at Thirupoovanur has an interesting story related to chess. Even God played a game of chess with a princess! Naturally, 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. I hope you get the opportunity to discover Chennai, Mahabalipuram and nearby areas.
Sports is beautiful because it has the inherent power to unite. Sports brings people and societies closer. Sports nurtures a spirit of teamwork. Two years ago the world began to fight the biggest pandemic seen in a century. For a long time, life came to a standstill. In such times, it was various sports tournaments which brought the world together. Each tournament gave the important message – we are stronger when together. We are better when together. I am seeing the same spirit here. The post-COVID period has made us realise the importance of fitness and wellness, both physical and mental. That is why it is important to encourage sporting talent and invest in sporting infrastructure.
I am glad to share that there has never been a better time for sports in India than the present. India had its best-ever performances in the Olympics, Paralympics and Deaflympics. We achieved glory even in sports where we had not won earlier. Today, sports is seen as a great profession of choice. India’s sporting culture is becoming stronger due to the perfect mix of two important factors. Energy of youth and enabling environment. Our talented youngsters, especially from small towns and villages, are bringing glory. It is heartening to see women at the lead of India’s sports revolution. The administrative framework, incentive structures and infrastructure have been revolutionized.
Today is a good day for international sports. We have the 44th Chess Olympiad starting here in India. In the U.K, the 22nd Commonwealth Games will begin today. Thousands of athletes from many parts of the world are keen to make their nations proud. I wish them all the best!
In sports, there are no losers. There are winners and there are future winners. I wish all the teams and players gathered here the very best for the 44th Chess Olympiad. I hope you form great memories of India and treasure them in the times to come. India will always welcome you with open arms. All the best! Now, I declare the 44th Chess Olympiad open! May the games begin!
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