WCh Chennai: Opening Ceremony

11/8/2013 – Thursday was the grand opening ceremony of the 2013 FIDE World Championship, held in the massive Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai, with 6000 visitors in attendance. It was a festive affair, with competitive presentations by Indian and Norwegian performers. The drawing of lots gave Magnus Carlsen white in the first game on Saturday. Impressions by Anastasiya Karlovich.

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Impressions from the Opening Ceremony

By Michael von Keitz – pictures by WGM Anastasiya Karlovich

Waiting for the ceremony to begin, the World Champion with FIDE and AICF dignitaries

India's sporting hero Viswanathan Anand with wife Aruna

On a more personal note: a family friend I am staying with coincidentally shared a trip to the barber with Anand the day before I arrived. He described his mood as pensive and that is exactly how Vishy came off at the opening ceremony. No smiles, little movement, just the look of a man with the weight of the world on his shoulders. Meanwhile, Carlsen was fidgety and, in the opinion of some of the reporters sitting near me, he came across as disengaged, possibly even bored. On the plus side, he has survived the traffic in Chennai. – MvK.

Final preparations for the opening ceremony. Despite the heavy presence of Anand's image...

... Carlsen receives his fair share of attention on the wall opposite

Magnus Carlsen is led into the arena by a processional of Indian youths...

... while Anand is accompanied onto the stage by his own group of future grandmasters

... amid rousing cheers, especially from the youthful part of the audience

When J. Jayalalithaa, Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, is also greeted with loud cheers, celebrating her
promotion of sport, including chess, which she has made a top priority in the province's agenda.

FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov has a special gift for the Chief Minister: an oil painting
featuring a game from the 2012 Anand-Gelfand World Championship match in Moscow

Instrumentalists get into position with their nadhaswarams and mridangams

A very appealing Bharatanatyam dance performance. Bharata Natyam (Tamil: பரதநாட்டியம்)
is a classical Indian dance form that is popular and nurtured in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu.

A more vigorous presentation on the giant chessboard

Not to be outdone the Norwegians have brought their own dance troupe

Back flip with fans, silk shawls ...

... and break dancing – the Nordic answer to Bharatanatyam?

The dance contest was fought on a chessboard – you decide who won

For chess enthusiasts the most important part of the evening: the drawing of colours

The result: Anand gets black in the first game on Saturday

When I arrived in Chennai I was advised: "Indians don't form queues; they form hordes. Push your way through." That seems to be the only rule of the road around here. Of course, Carlsen isn't unfamiliar with picking his spots and taking them, as he will attempt to show against Anand tomorrow and in the days to come. Worst news for Vishy so far: the drawing of lots gives him black in the first game. We will see what he makes of it. – MvK.


The games will be broadcast live on the official web site, with special coverage on the chess server Playchess.com. If you are not a member you can download a free Playchess client there and get immediate access. You can also use ChessBase 12 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.


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