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Paris To Mahabalipuram: Timeline Of The Chess Olympiad 

The chess Olympiad was officially first held in London in 1927.

S Vijayalakshmi is the first Indian woman to win a medal at Chess Olympiad.
S Vijayalakshmi is the first Indian woman to win a medal at Chess Olympiad. Twitter

Sometime around 600 AD

Chess is born in India, evolving from the strategic game of Chaturanga. 

1924: The 1st Chess Olympiad, albeit unofficial, is held in Paris, after attempts to include it in the Paris Olympics fail. FIDE, the game’s ruling body, is also formed during the tournament. It’s motto, Latin, of course, is Gens Una Sumus (‘We are one family’). 

1927: The first official Chess Olympiad is held in London. Hungary emerge champions. Denmark and the hosts finish at No. 2 and 3, respectively.     

1956: India first participates in the Chess Olympiad, held that year in Moscow. The team members are Ramdas (UP), B P Mhalskar (Sangli), S Venkataraman (Chennai) and R B Sapre (Mumbai). 

1980: Rafique Khan, son of a Bhopal carpenter, wins a silver, becoming India’s first ever Chess Olympiad medallist. 

2000: S Vijayalakshmi, India’s first ever woman Grandmaster (WGM), becomes the first Indian woman to win a Chess Olympiad medal. She claims silver in Istanbul. 

2020: India win their first Chess Olympiad team gold. Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the tournament is held online. Due to connectivity issues, the finalists, India and Russia, are declared joint winners.

2022: India steps in to stage the tournament after FIDE moves it out of Moscow due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict. India’s organisation and its enthusiastic promotion is lauded because it had only a few months to pull off a logistical miracle. 

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