Bhubaneswar: Odisha took another stride towards becoming a chess hub as it hosted a grand felicitation ceremony for renowned Grand Masters in India at the Kalinga Stadium. Sports Secretary Vineel Krishna in an event honored chess stalwarts including R Praggnanandhaa, Koneru Humpy, K Sasikiran, S S Ganguly, Abhijit Kunte, and other luminaries, acknowledging their remarkable contributions to the world of chess.
The occasion also witnessed the Grand Masters presenting prizes to the winners of the recently concluded All Odisha Open School Pro –Chess-TA Rapid Tournament, adding a layer of mentorship to the chess community.
Speaking at the ceremony, Sports Secretary Vineel Krishna expressed his pride in hosting the finest chess stars from across India. He highlighted the commitment of the Odisha government, led by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, to foster not only Olympic sports but also indigenous games like Chess and Kho-kho. Krishna emphasized the importance of promoting and taking pride in indigenous sports and announced the launch of a Chess academy in the state, receiving an enthusiastic response.
Chess prodigy R Praggnanandhaa expressed his delight, noting that Odisha’s commitment to sports and the ProChessTA sets the stage for a new generation of chess stars to emerge.
The felicitation ceremony recognized Grand Masters such as M R Venkatesh, G N Gopal, Vidit Gujarathi, Sasikiran K, Sethuraman SP, Koneru Humpy, Deep Sengupta, Konguvel P, 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.
The Grand Masters actively participated in awarding prizes to the winners of the All-Odisha Open School Rapid Chess Tournament, fostering a spirit of mentorship and camaraderie within the chess community. The event provided a unique opportunity for the aspiring chess enthusiasts to engage in insightful conversations with the chess maestros.
This initiative is part of the Odisha government’s broader strategy to promote Chess in the state. Recently, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik announced plans to establish 100 Chess training centers across the state, with the Professional Chess Training Academy (ProChess TA) in Bhubaneswar being the first Chess Academy launched by a state government in India.