Bharat Singh Chauhan, Tournament Director, Dr Sanjay Kapoor, President of All India Chess Federation; Dr V. Irai Anbu, Chief Secretary to Tamil Nadu government and Dr. R. Anandakumar, Member Secretary, Sports Development Authority of Tamil Nadu at the joint press conference in Chennai. Image Credit: Supplied photo

Kolkata: Chennai, arguably known as the chess city of India, will be hosting the Fide Chess Olympiad 2022 - with the prestigeous event coming to India for the first time - from July 26 to August 8. The formal announcement was made at a joint press conference of the Tamil Nadu government and the All India Chess Federation on Wednesday.

The AICF team, along with the state government of Tamil Nadu which found a major backer in Chief Minister M.K. Stalin, placed the bid after the world governing body pulled out the 44th edition of the event of Russia last month. ‘‘In a period of exactly 10 days, from the announcement by Fide about it looking for new hosts, the AICF coordinated with the Government of Tamil Nadu to have various approvals within hours to request to bid as the host,’’ a press release said.

The other events that are moved away from Russia are the first chess Olympiad for people with disabilities and the 93rd Fide Congress.

The event, a part of the Fide calendar since 1927, has never been hosted in India. Chennai will be hosting about 2000 participants from over 200 countries to compete for the top prize.

This will be the second major world event to be held in the country after the World Championship match in 2013 between Viswanathan Anand and Magnus Carlsen, the current world No.1.

‘‘The government of Tamil Nadu has always been a big patron of chess. From promoting chess in schools, providing the required infra structure for chess tournaments to felicitating chess players with cash awards, Tamil Nadu government has taken all possible steps. Last year, the government felicitated 14 players of the state who have won gold in Fide Online Olympiad 2020, Fide World Teams 2019, bronze in Fide Online Olympiad 2021,’’ the press release said.

A piece of statistic underlines Tamil Nadu’s stature in the sport - 24 of the 73 Grandmasters of India - including the iconic multiple world champion Anand who is credited with prompting a chess revolution in the country - come from the state.