2022 Chess Olympiad: Opening Ceremonies

At the Opening Ceremonies of the 2022 Chess Olympiad, the biennial event has officially begun. After only four months of preparation, India has shown the world the possibilities and capabilities of the chess world. They also showed that chess holds the passion of many countries and it does not belong to any region. It belongs to all of its member nations and tonight’s ceremony was a tribute to chess and all of those who are associated with the age-old pastime.

If you remember the 2008 Olympics in Beijing China, you will remember the powerful performances during the Opening Ceremony. India has made its own mark with a performance for the ages. The mixture of bold colors, intricate choreography, and acrobatic feats made it one to remember. There were wonderful dance and drum performances throughout and even a sand painting by Sarvam Patil depicting the history of India. Fascinating! In Chennai, India, Tamil Nadu and the All-India Chess Federation put on quite a show in front of an audience of nearly 190 countries.

One of the signature moments of international sporting events is the flag march introducing the country and its delegation. Many countries are still en route, but 186 flags were displayed during the flag march segment. Flag bearers proudly hoisted, displayed, or even wore the flag as the procession marched around the stadium.

Sudan at the Opening Ceremonies of the 44th Chess Olymipad in Chennai, India

Sudan at Opening Ceremonies


FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich sat along with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and M.K. Stalin, the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu enjoying the festivities. The three must’ve been proud that such an event could be put together so quickly. Stalin’s very stoic look could not hide the joy and pride he had.

Photos Expressions

Host nation India proudly enters to generous applause

Distinguished Dais

Ian Wilkinson of Jamaica showed his appreciation for the stirring piano performance
by Lydian Nadhaswaram.

Praggnanandhaa Rameshbabu, Subbaraman Vijayalakshmi, and Dommaraju Gukesh receive the Olympiad Relay Torch from President Narendra Modi to be lit to commence the opening of the Olympiad. The distinguished platform looks on. All Photos by Lennart Ootes

Gukesh,Vijayalakshmi, and Praggnanandhaa carry the torch

After the procession, several speeches were given, but Arkady Dvorkovich gave a short speech praising the effort for putting together the event in such a short time. He was genuinely touched by the hospitality and predicted that chess would grow in India ten times more! With 73 Grandmasters with Viswanathan Anand being the first in 1987. It should come as no surprise that 36% of India’s GMs (26) are from Tamil Nadu.

Arkady Dvorkovich, President of FIDE

Chennai’s efforts will raise the standard for future Olympiads and hopefully more developing nations will get a chance to show their unique spirit by hosting the Olympiad. From all indications, all the guests seemed to be overwhelmed by the level of organization, and… the playing hall is stunning!

Mahabalipuram Resort & Convention Center, venue of 44th Chess Olympiad

Mahabalipuram Resort & Convention Center

To end the evening Prime Minister Modi declared the Olympiad open and said… “Let the games begin!” With such a wonderful opening, we look forward to the beginning of the competition tomorrow. All of the nations are partaking in a historic event and now it is time to make a mark! Make your mark!

The games start at 3:00pm India, 10:30am GMT, 5:30am EST. Live Coverage by FIDE Chess and many other platforms such as chess.com and chess24.


All Photos by Lennart Ootes


Video by TN DIPR

Daaim Shabazz

Daaim Shabazz is the founder of The Chess Drum, while serving as a tenured faculty member of Global Business & Marketing at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Florida, USA. He holds a B.S. Computer Science from Chicago State University, an MBA in Marketing and a Ph.D. in International Affairs & Development, both from Clark Atlanta University. He has served the journalist community for more than 30 years and still competes in tournaments occasionally.

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