Magnus in Chennai – with 2000 screaming girls

by ChessBase
8/20/2013 – "Among wizards and geeks, Magnus Carlsen is a pleasant variance. He is surreally cool, boyishly handsome, has sponsors queuing up for endorsements and smudgy eyed teens thronging for autographs. He is not your usual chess champion – nerdy and crusty, reluctant and aloof." The greeting he received at the venue of the World Championship left the challenger "humbled". Broadsheet reports and video.

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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. 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. “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 News in English, 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.

Magnus Carlsen insists on 'illness clause' for Indian chess match

Norwegian chess sensation Magnus Carlsen has inserted an "illness clause" in his contract to play a world championship match in India due to fears of falling sick, an official said on Monday. Carlsen, ranked world number one, agreed to play the title match against Chennai-based reigning world champion Viswanathan Anand in his home town from November 7 to 28 only after forcing the organisers to agree to the demand.

"There is a clause by which a player can take a two-day break if he falls ill," All-India Chess Federation secretary V. Hariharan told AFP in the southern Indian venue. "We told Carlsen that we will provide excellent facilities and make good arrangements, but he must have been worried about the food or weather here and insisted on having this clause in the contract. There was nothing we could do." Hariharan said it was the first time an illness clause had been included for a world championship match.

Carlsen arrives in Chennai for inspection of WCC venue

Among wizards and geeks, Magnus Carlsen is a pleasant variance. He is surreally cool, boyishly handsome, has sponsors queuing up for endorsement deals and smudgy-eyed teens thronging for autographs. He is not your usual chess champion—nerdy and crusty, reluctant and aloof.

Hence, it’s all the more surprising that Carlsen remained aloof on his first day in the city, the venue wherein he would take on reigning world champion Viswanathan Anand for the title that would place him among the greats of the game, if he weren’t already one.

Chennaiites would have a glimpse of his game on Monday, when he takes on a batch of 20 players, simultaneously. “We have had a nice day in Chennai. The weather is comfortable and we have received a warm welcome by the staff at the hotel and by the organizers. Main purpose of the trip is to get a feel of the city and the playing venue. It's good to get the first impressions now, so that everything is not new when we come in November," his manager Espen Agdestein told TNIE. The Norwegian arrived at 3 am, and once at the hotel, he went for a lie-in, slept until afternoon before he checked in at the swimming pool.

Carlsen impressed by young chess wizards

A batch 20 children in the age-group seven to 17 were fortunate to play against world no 1 Magnus Carlsen in simultaneous chess display at MOP Vaishnav college. If Carlsen thought the children were just chess buffs or enthusiasts, he was in for a shock. They were all champions of their respective age groups. Carlsen was stumped by the children dished out. The moves were shown on giant screen, which the audience comprising students and their parents watched with rapt attention. It wasn't by any means a cakewalk for the Norwegian. Surprisingly, he lost four games, won ten and drew six. Emerging player Vaishali thrilled at her unique feat. "I just cannot believe that I defeated Carlsen. It feels great. I shall treasure this match for a long time to come,'' said Vaishali. Mahalakshmi, the world U-14 champion, managed to draw the match against Carlsen. "I was initially nervous since I was playing the World No 1."

Black, white and plenty of colour in the middle

"Right now, back in Norway, it is light for close to 20 hours a day," said Henrik Carlsen later in the evening. So it must not have been unfamiliar light that his son, Magnus Carlsen, was trying to blink away, upon looking up as he stepped into the atrium of a women's college in the city.

It was not the shards of Chennai's noon sun that Carlsen was trying to keep from disorienting him, but a sight that later prompted a Norwegian journalist to ask the 22-year old: "What do 2000 screaming girls do to a chess player?" The World No. 1, his father sitting a few seats away, summoned an impressive poker face and said he was 'humbled' by the welcome.

Photo on Twitter

Carlsen's reaction to the question perhaps bore the same in-between relationship to truth as the claim (later, revealed to have originated from the student representative of the college) that there were indeed 2000 women clinging on to the balustrades of the successive tiers of the gallery, cheering Carlsen's name. A report on a Norwegian website gushed over the 'Beatles-esque' reception.

Video report on Carlsen in Chennai by Vijay Kumar

Read also

  • The Hindu: Carlsen satisfied with the venue
    Magnus Carlsen, the World No.1 chess player and Viswanathan Anand’s challenger for the World championship match in November this year, charmed the young chess players, college girls and the media with his calm and composed manner in a function held at the MOP Vaishnav College for women here on Monday.
  • The Hindu: Father and Manager are the toast of the media
    Henrik Carlsen and Espen Agdestein, Magnus Carlsen’s father and Manager respectively, were the toast of the media on Monday even as they revelled in all the attention.
  • The Hindu: Anand did not follow my advice!
    When queried about working with Anand in a previous World championship match, Carlsen said, “it was a great learning experience for me. For the 2010 match against Topalov, I offered a little advice but Anand did not follow it!”

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