Foreign bacteria and sticky climate would be foremost on world number one Magnus Carlsen’s mind, when he takes on reigning world champion Viswanathan Anand later this year.
Carlsen, chess’ only celebrity, and his representatives were initially apprehensive of the city’s climate and food. Reportedly, he would bring with him Norwegian food and a few chefs would accompany him to the city during the final.
According to the manager, though he loves Indian food, he wouldn’t want to take risks with his health before as vital a clash as this. “Carlsen likes Indian cuisine just as much as traditional Norwegian food, but we are concerned about foreign bacteria. We have to be careful and we have to make sure he doesn’t risk getting sick,” explained his manager Espen Agdestein to TNIE.
But more than the food, it’s the climate that would bother him. Though November is pleasant by Chennai standards, it can be sticky for someone who is used to Scandinavian weather.
Hence, he would train in a place with a similar weather as to Chennai. “Before the Candidates’ tournament in London, he had gone to the Canary Islands as part of his preparations. But generally, he likes sunny climate and loves swimming,” he said.
Hence, the two-day visit, tipped a customary visit for competitors, has a two-fold purpose.
First, and the most-publicized aspect, is to promote chess in the State, which has been a traditional stronghold for the sport. Hence, he would play simultaneous chess with 20 children, from the state, who have won medals in international competitions.
The next, and the foremost, agenda would be to get a feel of the city. Earlier, when the venue was fixed, the Norwegian had expressed displeasure at the choice of it before he eventually agreed, albeit reluctantly. “It’s routine for chess players to do that before important tournaments, to get a feel of the place and even play a few games if possible,” said Agdestein.