'Anand-Carlsen bigger than Spassky-Fischer'

With the 2013 World Chess Championship just weeks away, the All India Chess Federation secretary Bharat Singh Chauhan is a busy man. One day he is in Delhi negotiating a commercial deal with an automobile giant, the next he is in Chennai checking preparations at the Hyatt Regency – the venue of the match.

Published: 22nd October 2013 07:41 AM  |   Last Updated: 22nd October 2013 07:50 AM   |  A+A-

With the 2013 World Chess Championship just weeks away, the All India Chess Federation secretary Bharat Singh Chauhan is a busy man. One day he is in Delhi negotiating a commercial deal with an automobile giant, the next he is in Chennai checking preparations at the Hyatt Regency – the venue of the match.

But Chauhan does not mind the jetlag. He knows there is a lot riding on this match. “It is more than just a series of matches for both the players and for us. As far as the players are concerned, the attention of the entire world will be on them. I think Anand-Carlsen is the most anticipated chess showdown ever, bigger than even Spassky-Fischer.”

Many feared that the eccentric demands that Fischer made before the much-touted ‘match of the century’ in 1972 would be repeated by Carlsen in Chennai, but Chauhan says that he found the Norwegian ace to be a much more pleasant version of what he had expected.

“None of his demands were unreasonable. We were tense about what would happen, before he visited. But once he came down, he was really happy about all our arrangements.”

For the AICF, the game is a window to hosting even more international events. “There is a misconception about India that we are financially unable to host such events and that we do not have the organisational acumen. This is our chance to prove everyone wrong. Once we host this successfully, more events will follow,” said Chauhan.

And he is not just shooting around in the dark and has a very specific target in mind. “The 2018 Chess Olympiad is what we are aiming for. We are planning to put in a bid soon. How we host the world championship will have a big say in whether we’ll get to host the Chess Olympiad.” Chauhan also believes that the Championship will spark another wave of chess frenzy in India that will produce India’s next big superstar. “This match will make chess a household game, even more so if Anand wins.”

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