Chennai: The world chess championship match between five-time world champion Viswanathan Anand of India and World No. 1 Magnus Carlsen of Norway gained steam with the arrival of the challenger in Chennai on Sunday.
The Norwegian prodigy is on a three-day visit to check out the facilities for the world championship that is slated to take place at Hyatt Regency in Chennai from November 7 to 28.
Accompanied by a seven-member crew including father Henrik Carlsen, manager Espsen Agdestein, chef Magnus Forssell and four journalists from Norway, 23-year-old Carlsen reached the city on a Qatar Airways flight at 3.15 am.
Carlsen is expected to announce his views on the venue at the press conference on Monday. The Chennai match is being sponsored by TN government with chief minister J. Jayalalithaa sanctioning Rs 29 crore for the event.
Carlsen out for a stroll
Chess prodigy and World No. 1 Magnus Carlsen’s date with Chennai may have started in darkness — he reached the city airport at 3.15 am on Sunday — but the Norwegian challenger to India’s five-time world champion Viswanathan Anand took a stroll at the Semmozhi Poonga opposite the US Consulate in broad daylight.
Carlsen is in the city to inspect Hyatt Regency, the venue of his world championship match against Anand in November this year.
In addition to doing a recce to the hotel on Anna Salai, the 23-year-old Carlsen is also using his first visit to India to get acclimatised to Chennai.
The All-India Chess Federation kept the Norwegian in wraps before his public appearance on Monday. Even photographers were not allowed anywhere near Carlsen on his first day in India.
Deccan Chronicle has learnt that Carlsen was in a cheerful mood after checking out the facilities at the hotel.
“He visited the gym, swimming pool and all other services on offer at Hyatt Regency and appeared pleased,” said a source, who added that the youthful GM stayed in a suite similar to the one he would be staying in during the big match.
As the world chess governing body (Fide), All India Chess Federation and Tamil Nadu State Chess Association had finalised the venue long before the two players signed the contract, challenger Carlsen’s role was limited to suggesting some changes in the lighting at the match room.
“Overall, the Norwegian GM was happy with the venue and he didn’t seem to be perturbed by the chaotic city traffic,” another source said.
According to Norwegian website www.newsinenglish.no, Carlsen, fearing tummy trouble brought his own food and own chef for the Chennai trip.
His chef Magnus Forssell reportedly met the Hytatt management and discussed his requirements with them.
Experts reckon that Carlsen, a veritable superstar in the cerebral game, is the strongest player in the contemporary era. He became a GM at age 13, won world blitz championship and became World No. 1 at 19.
The Norwegian crossed 2800 elo rating in 2009 to become the youngest player in history to achieve the milestone.
Beating Carlsen would be a massive challenge for ‘Madras Tiger’ Anand, but for a person who has defied odds all along his career, the task may not prove to be impossible.
Winning the world championship for the sixth time will cement Anand’s position as one of all-time greats.