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 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.
Host nation India proudly enters to generous applause
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
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!
All Photos by Lennart Ootes
Video by TN DIPR