Odisha felicitates Grand Masters, budding Chess stars

Bhubaneswar: In yet another significant development towards the promotion of Chess in Odisha, the state government hosted a grand felicitation ceremony for Grand Masters in India at the Kalinga Stadium here today.

Sports Secretary Vineel Krishna felicitated grand masters including R Praggnanandhaa, Koneru Humpy, K Sasikiran, SS Ganguly, Abhijit Kunte, and other prominent and established chess personalities with memento for their outstanding contributions to the world of chess.

The occasion also saw the Grand Masters distribute prizes to the winners of the recently concluded All Odisha Open School Pro –Chess-TA Rapid Tournament. The event was also graced by Sports department Director Siddhartha Das, officials of the department and Odisha Chess Association.

Speaking at the occasion, the Sports Secretary said, “We are truly honoured that the finest Chess stars from all over India are present here to inspire chess players from Odisha. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is very focused on building sports for our youth and that is not limited to Olympics sports, but also indigenous sports such as Chess and Kho-kho. As governments and as a society we need to be proud of our indigenous sports and promote them. We recently launched a Chess academy in the state and have received a very enthusiastic response. We are looking forward to helping the game grow across the state.”

Chess prodigy R Praggnanandhaa expressed his delight for the felicitation ceremony and said, “Odisha’s commitment to sports and the Pro-Chess-TA sets the stage for a new generation of chess stars to emerge.”

Grand Masters MR Venkatesh, GN Gopal, Vidit Gujarathi, Sasikiran K, Sethuraman SP, Koneru Humpy, Deep Sengupta, Konguvel P, Shri Surya Sekhar Ganguly, B Adhiban, Murli Kathikeyan, R Pragnanadhaa, Raunak Sadhwani, R Pranav, Soumya Swaminathan, Padmini Rout, Mary Ann Gomes, Eesha Karavade, Abhijit Kunte, and Nisha Mohota were felicitated on the occasion.

The Grand Masters played a pivotal role in the distribution of prizes among the winners of the All-Odisha Open School Rapid Chess Tournament, adding a layer of excitement and inspiration for the budding chess enthusiasts. This gesture reinforced the spirit of mentorship and camaraderie within the chess community. The ceremony was an opportunity for the tournament winners to engage in insightful conversations with the Grand Masters.

The initiative was yet another measure by the Government of Odisha towards promoting Chess in the state.  Recently, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik announced the establishment of 100 Chess training centers across the state. The Professional Chess Training Academy (Pro-Chess-TA) in Bhubaneswar is also the first Chess Academy launched by a state government in India.

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