The first ever torch relay for the 44th edition of the Chess Olympiad reached Kohima on Monday. On arrival, Grandmaster Ankit Rajapara, a chess prodigy from Gujarat, handed over the torch to minister of planning and coordination, land resources, parliamentary affairs Neiba Kronu, who attended the ceremony as chief guest. 

Speaking at the event, Kronu said that Chess is a very important and interesting game which has originated from the country. He encouraged the Nagaland Chess Association (NCA) to conduct more chess tournaments across the state to promote the sport. 

Saying that the relay, flagged off by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on June 19, would have a great impact, he encouraged the youth to take up the sport and participate in the Olympiad. 

NCA vice president P Khezie expressed delight in hosting the torch relay in Kohima as the city is among the 75 iconic locations in India to host this torch relay. 

“Chess is a game, but it is also art and science.  It teaches a person the culture of thought and accuracy, creativity and honesty. It imposes deep respect with regard to the opponent.  Indeed, it is a great pride for India to witness that a unique sport originating from its soil has stood the time trail and now leaving its mark all over the world and has become a passion for many countries,” he said. 

The NCA, he said, has been advocating and promoting the sport in the state for over three decades, and that the event would only be a boost to the chess community and state.  

Interacting with journalists, Grandmaster Ankit Rajapara, who paid his first visit to the state and played with the local players said that there are many talented players in the states. He advised that more trainings need to be imparted to the players and hoped that more players will be promoted. 

Meanwhile, the torch is being taken to 75 iconic cities across 36 states and Union Territories in 40 days before reaching Mahabalipuram, the host city for the event from July 28 to August 10. This is in commemoration with the theme of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav- Celebrating 75 years of India’s Independence.

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