Tamil Nadu

From ‘mission impossible’ to a grand success

A cultural extravaganza enthralled the audience during the valedictory of the 44th Chess Olympiad on Tuesday.

A cultural extravaganza enthralled the audience during the valedictory of the 44th Chess Olympiad on Tuesday. | Photo Credit: R. RAVINDRAN

If the inaugural ceremony wowed audiences and participants from across the world, the closing ceremony matched its energy and went lavish with the entertainment factor. Clearly, the Chess Olympiad, which was planned and executed in less than four months, was a roaring success, not just with respect to the participation but also the hospitality and entertainment.

Tuesday evening’s programme was a display of technology, art and diverse talent. Children from Hariology solved the Rubik’s cube in a minute on stage. This was followed by a scintillating performance called ‘Heartbeats of India’, featuring Sivamani on the drums, Rajesh Vaidhya on the veena, Stephan Devassy on the keyboard and Naveen Kumar on the flute. In a moment that took the crowd by surprise, Chief Minister M.K. Stalin accompanied Sivamani on the instrument and received thunderous applause.

The next performance defied gravity and was proof that technology can be melded with art. Playing a collection of Bharathiyar songs and Vande Mataram, the pianist was not merely ‘levitating’ but also rotated 360 degrees throughout the performance. Continuing this theme, performers in glow-in-the-dark costumes beat the drums while levitating.

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To celebrate Tamil culture, dancers enacted scenes from Jallikattu, Kabaddi and gymnastics in colourful costumes and synchronised movements. The last of these performances included a life-sized chessboard with players dancing across the board in the movements allowed to each chess piece.

A tribute composed by A.R. Rahman and directed by filmmaker Vignesh Shivan, who conceptualised various other segments of the ceremony, was played for the participants to watch. To celebrate 75 years of Indian Independence, ‘Tamizh Mann Part 2’, choreographed by renowned dancer Shiamak Davar, which told the stories of freedom fighters from Tamil Nadu, such as Kattabomman, Velu Nachiyar, Kuyili, Periyar and G. Subramania Iyer, was performed.

Finally, there was a dance performance from V.Unbeatables, a dance troupe from the slums of Mumbai who emerged as champions on the American reality show America’s Got Talent. In a series of synchronised movements and pirouettes, the troupe wowed the audience with their choreography to popular Tamil songs like Balleilaka.

Prizes were given to the contestants in the Olympiad based on style and uniform as well. Gloria Nansubuga, a member of the Ugandan team, which won an award for Best Women in Uniform, expressed her team’s elation at this recognition. “We gave the designer our ideas and decided to braid the Ugandan colours into our hair,” she said.

Shih Ching-An, a member of the team from Chinese Taipei, said she found the Olympiad enjoyable because of the excellent hospitality and conditions in Chennai. The closing ceremony was an immersive audio-visual experience, with non-stop applause from the audience.

Budapest has been announced as the venue for the 45th Chess Olympiad.

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Printable version | Sep 20, 2022 5:24:44 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/from-mission-impossible-to-a-grand-success/article65751754.ece