FIDE100 torch relay celebrated in Canada

by Press release
4/15/2024 – Continuing its global journey from the Indian subcontinent to Africa and Europe, the FIDE100 Torch Relay, commemorating a century of FIDE, has now reached the shores of North America. The ceremony was held on April 13, at the Nathan Phillips square in the center of Toronto, not far from the Great Hall where the strongest men and women players in the world are fighting in the Candidates tournament.

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FIDE press release

Despite the cold weather, a sizeable crowd of chess enthusiasts gathered in the center of the city for the unique chess event.

Against the urban backdrop, FIDE Deputy President and former World Champion, Vishy Anand, assumed the role of torchbearer, passing the flame to Vlad Drkulec, President of the Chess Federation of Canada. This symbolic exchange continued as the torch made its way to Jose Carillo Pujol, Continental President for the Americas, and FIDE Vice President Mario Ramirez Barajas, heralding the relay's next leg in Colombia.

Vishy Anand, who is doing the live chess commentary for the Candidates in Toronto, shared his views on the event in Toronto and what it means for him and chess that FIDE is celebrating its first centenary.

"We have had a warm welcome here in Toronto," Anand remarked. "A lot of coincidences – 100 years of FIDE, first Candidates in North America and, we managed to do the torch relay which started in India. The experience has been amazing with the fans and the excitement at the venue".

Anand also shared thoughts on the future of the game. "Chess is in a very exciting phase. For the next five to ten years, I would like to see chess becoming more established everywhere. I'd mostly like to see more people from every continent participate, especially more women. "Chess is growing everywhere and that's why I think it's particularly relevant to have these ceremonies, as the torch represents that chess is spreading to every continent," Anand noted.

Accompanying Anand at the ceremony were luminaries of the chess world, including former Women's World Champion Alexandra Kosteniuk, Dana Reizniece-Ozola, Deputy Chair of FIDE Management Board (who arrived directly from the United States following the opening of the World Chess Hall of Fame exhibition in St. Louis), Patrick Van Hoolandt, Deputy Chairman of the FIDE Advisory Board and FIDE Vice-Presiden Michael Khodorkovsky.

The festivities in Toronto extended beyond ceremonial gestures, featuring blitz games with fans and an exhibition dedicated to the history of the Candidates.

FIDE100 Chess Torch Relay aims to celebrate the rich history of the game and to bring together the entire chess community as part of marking the centenary of the founding of FIDE.


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