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All India Chess Federation's (AICF) Secretary Bharat Singh Chauhan believes that India could witness a chess revolution with the 'Khelo Chess' concept.
As Prime Minister Narender Modi launched the first-ever Chess Olympiad Torch Relay, thousands of players as well as fans were electrified by the mega historic launch at the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium in New Delhi and were amazed by the prospect of Indian chess.
"India has a lot of chess potential and AICF has been rigorously working on developing young talents. However, a programme like Khelo India for chess could revolutionise the sport in the country. It will bolster our mission of making India a chess powerhouse. The nation-wide event of that stature will not only inspire and encourage young Indians to take up the sport but will also bring out the best of the talents from across the country," said Chauhan.
With the veteran players like Viswanathan Anand and Koneru Humpy alongside young promising talents such as Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa and Gukesh D, consistently performing on the global stage, India has emerged as one of the top chess nations in the world in the recent years.
The country has also won three medals at the world's biggest chess event, the Olympiad since 2014. Two of the medals, gold and bronze, came in virtual editions, held in the last two years.
"Indian players have proved their abilities with some brilliant performances at the global stage. There has also been the emergence of some talented youngsters who are the future of Indian chess. Developing and nurturing young talent is very important and I believe, the Khelo Chess programme could provide an ideal platform," the AICF Secretary further added.
The Khelo India programme was launched in 2018 with an aim to develop the sports culture in India at the grass-root level and transform the country as a great sporting nation. With young players winning international medals for the country, the programme has been a great success.
And for a game like chess, which is not part of Khelo India yet, such program could be the game-changer.
India is all set to add a golden chapter in its chess history by hosting the Chess Olympiad for the first-time ever in the country. The International Chess Federation also named India as the starting flame point for its newly introduced Olympic-style concept, Chess Olympiad Torch Relay, as it will always begin from India for every edition of the event.
With top chess stars participating from across the globe, the 44th edition of the event will take place in Mahabalipuram near Chennai from July 28 to August 10.