Friends for nearly four decades, the country’s first two Grandmasters Viswanathan Anand and Dibyendu Barua were back to sharing the spotlight as they played their part at the start of the Chess Olympiad Torch Relay here on Monday.

With the historic Red Fort forming the backdrop, Anand held aloft the torch as he arrived at the venue in an open jeep and soon handed it over Law Minister Kiren Rijuju who passed it on to Barua.

Barua then carried it in the jeep - that brought Anand - for some distance to signal the start of the nationwide Torch relay.

READ: PM Modi flags off first-ever torch relay for Chess Olympiad

Less than 12 hours after the Torch relay was launched with much fanfare by Prime Minister Narendra Modi here, the FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich, Mr. Rijiju, Secretary of the Sports Ministry Ms. Sujata Chaturvedi, Director General of the Sports Authority of India (SAI) Sandeep Pradhan, AICF President Sanjay Kapoor, secretary Bharat Singh Chauhan besides Grandmasters Pravin Thipsay, Abhijit Kunte, Tejas Bakre and N. Srinath were back to witness the start of the relay.

Mr. Dvorkovich, Mr. Rijuju and Mr. Chauhan addressed the gathering after the chess-playing spectators were part of a simultaneous display against Barua, Thipsay, Bakre along with Mr. Dvorkovich.

The Torch now travels to Leh, Srinagar, Jammu, Dharamshala, Shimla and other cities in the northern states. The 39-day torch relay, spanning 75 districts in the country, will reach Chennai on July 27, the eve of the inauguration of the Chess Olympiad.