Ayodhya (Uttar Pradesh) [India], June 28 (ANI): The first-ever Chess Olympiad Torch relay reached Ayodhya on Tuesday.
Cabinet Minister Aravind Kumar Sharma received the torch from Women Grandmaster Vantika and handed it over to Grandmaster G N Gopal.
"1st Ever #ChessOlympiadTorchRelay Update City - AYODHYA: 28th June Cabinet Minister Sh. Aravind Kumar Sharma received Torch from WGM @vantikachess and handed it over to GM G N Gopal. GM Tejas Bakre was present," tweeted SAI Media.
Later in the day, the torch will be travelling to Gorakhpur, at the Gorakhnath Temple. On Monday, the torch reached the city of Varanasi and Prayagraj.
Earlier on Sunday, the torch had reached Lucknow, where it was received by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, who handed it over to India's first Grandmaster and five-time champion Viswanathan Anand.
Other cities that have been covered so far include Leh, Jammu, Srinagar, Dharamshala, Shimla, Chandigarh, Patiala, Amritsar, Panipat, Gurugram, Kurukshetra, Dehradun, Haridwar, Meerut and Kanpur.
The torch, launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday, began its relay from Leh.
The torch will travel in 75 cities for 40 days before it culminates at Mahabalipuram in Tamil Nadu. 189 countries are participating in the Chess Olympiad. Chess grandmasters will receive the torch at various identified venues.
This year, for the very first time, the International Chess Body, FIDE, has instituted the Chess Olympiad Torch which is part of Olympic tradition but was never done in the Chess Olympiad. India will be the first-ever country to have the Chess Olympiad Torch Relay.
The 44th edition of the world's biggest chess event will be held in Mahabalipuram near Chennai from July 28 to August 10.
In nearly 100 years of the history of the Chess Olympiad, it's the first time that India will be hosting this prestigious event. With 188 countries registered for the upcoming Olympiad, Indian sporting history is also set to witness a huge congregation of countries on Indian soil for the first time at an event.
Moreover, AICF has unveiled a social media campaign 'Namaste World', welcoming the chess community from around the world for this event.
AICF had earlier announced two Indian teams each in the open and women's sections as the 44th Chess Olympiad has attracted 343 teams in both sections. (ANI)