On Monday, Leh hosted the first-ever Torch Relay of the 44th Chess Olympiad. The relay of the torch, which Prime Minister Narendra Modi lit on Sunday, began this evening in Leh.
The torch will travel through 75 cities over the course of 40 days before arriving in Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu. The Chess Olympiad is being held in 189 countries.
Chess grandmasters will be presented with the torch at various locations. Grand Master Dibyendu Barua carried the torch from Delhi to LG RK Mathur, who began the relay from Leh. Ladakh LG RK Mathur received the torch from Grand Master Dibyendu Barua during a ceremony at the historic Leh Palace.
Speaking on the occasion, LG Mathur stated that hosting the first-ever torch relay is an honour and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the country. He stated that the presence of grand master Dibyendu Barua and the opportunity to play rapid chess with him would inspire Ladakhi youths to pursue chess as a hobby in addition to outdoor sports. He wished the Indian delegations success at the Chess Olympiad.
Grand Master Dibyendu Barua told the media that for the first time, the International Chess Body, FIDE, has instituted the Chess Olympiad Torch, which is part of Olympic tradition, from the biennial Olympiad, which runs from July 28th to August 10th, in Mahabalipuram. He encouraged young people to take up chess seriously.
According to Dibyendu Barua, India faces stiff competition from Russia, but the two Indian teams are better positioned in the lineup for the Chess Olympiad. The relay ceremony was attended by Advisor Umang Narula, UT Secretary Ravinder Kumar, DC Shrikant Suse, SSP PD Nitya, senior officials, councillors, and youth.
At the Leh palace, Dibyendu Barua played rapid chess with the youth. Later, in a special vehicle, the torch relay began from Leh Palace and ended at Shanti Stupa.
(Inputs from ANI)