New Delhi: The 'World Chess Day' was celebrated on Wednesday with the unveiling of the official stamp of the 44th Chess Olympiad in the presence of a distinguished gathering at a city hotel in New Delhi.
Union Minister of State for Communications Devusinh Jesingbhai Chauhan and Minister of Youth Welfare and Sports Department, Government of Tamil Nadu Thiru Siva V Meyyanathan were the chief guests for the occasion.
Grandmaster Abhijeet Gupta, an Arjuna Awardee and team member of the Chess Olympiad along with President of All India Chess Federation (AICF) and Chess Olympiad Organising Committee, Sanjay Kapoor and Olympiad Director and AICF Secretary Bharat Singh Chauhan also graced the historic moment.
"It is an absolute honour that we are organising this event in India. Chess is our very own sport. I would also like to thank our respected Prime Minister [Narendra] Modi Ji for his vision that has made it possible to change and shape sports in this new India," said Union Minister of State for Communications, Devusinh Jesingbhai Chauhan.
The 44th Chess Olympiad is scheduled to be held at Mamallapuram, Chennai from July 28 to August 10.
"The 44th Chess Olympiad stamp release is very important to this event. It is a prestigious event and would like to thank everyone present here to be part of the stamp unveiling," said Thiru Siva V Meyyanathan, Minister of Youth Welfare and Sports Department, Government of Tamil Nadu.
The event has attracted a huge response with 187 countries registering--the highest-ever in close to hundred years of Olympiad history. The world chess governing body, FIDE also initiated a Torch Run for the first time, starting with India.
"This is an historic occasion as the Department of Posts has issued a commemorative Postage stamp on 44th Chess Olympiad just days before the Olympiad commences," Organising Committee President Sanjay Kapoor said on the occasion.
Olympiad Director and AICF Secretary Chauhan added: "This seems like a recognition for the hard work and efforts put in by everyone associated with the Olympiad to make it a big success."
GM Abhijeet Gupta said the Chess Olympiad will boost the popularity of the game in India.
"Truly a proud moment as an Indian citizen and a chess player. This will be like a motivational booster to give our best for the country and bring home a medal," he said.
India is hosting the spectacular sports extravaganza for the very first time and a whopping 25 Indians will be seen in action at the Olympiad. India is represented by three teams in the open section and two in the women's section.