Chennai, April 12 : History will be scripted as India is all set to host the biggest chess event in the world, the Chess Olympiad, for the first time ever. The 44th edition of the extravaganza will be held from July 28 to August 10 in Chennai, with participants from more than 150 countries. “It’s a great honour for India to host such a big event. This shows the position of the country in the chess world. I’m thankful to everyone involved and supported us to make this happen. This is a historic step and I believe it will take Indian chess to greater heights,” said Bharat Singh Chauhan, Secretary, All India Chess Federation (AICF). The tournament was initially scheduled to take place in Russia. However, with the war-like situation between Russia and Ukraine, the International Chess Federation (FIDE) began searching for new hosts and invited new bidders. While the FIDE was looking for new hosts, the AICF Secretary sensed an opport ty. Having shared a good relation and reputation with the international federation and its officials, Chauhan made a quick movement and got in touch with FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich. Within the 24-hour time, using all his experience, Chauhan did some preliminary enquiries and immediately conveyed to the FIDE President that India was ready to bid in principle. With AICF’s willingness to leave no stone unturned went in India’s favour. After successfully getting the official rights to host the tournament, Chauhan sums up saying, “Cannot complain about anything in life now.” Chauhan was at his best in setting up a quick and crucial meeting with Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin, who instantly approved, assured and endorsed the government’s support for the event. A whole-hearted support by Stalin clinched it for Chennai. The city, seeped in chess culture, had earlier hosted the World Chess Championship in 2013 between Viswanathan Anand and Magnus Carlsen. 1200 rooms for the participants were booked in a single day and the Convention Centre of Four Points Sheraton was decided as the playing venue. AICF were quick in their movements as they fulfilled the hosting criteria set by FIDE within less than a week. They were able to answer all the queries by FIDE satisfactorily, had all the plans in place and also ensured the USD 10 million guarantee. This made India’s bid stronger than most of the other countries and put them in a better position. The five-time world champion Viswanathan Anand endorsed India’s bid which gave AICF a huge boost, according to Chauhan. And the strong efforts from the federation brought the impossible to reality as FIDE granted India the rights to host the Olympiad which has been taking place for the last 95 years.