Playing at home is a double-edged sword. While the home conditions and support are an advantage, great expectations add to the pressure.
Viswanathan Anand, the reigning world chess champion, will defend his title against Boris Gelfand of Israel in Chennai in April-May 2012. This and the total prize purse of Rs 20 crore was announced on Wednesday after the Tamil Nadu government decided to foot the bill.
Except the 2002 World Cup in Hyderabad, Anand has won all his world titles abroad.
Anand is happy to be playing for the first time in Chennai after the 1990 clash against Alexei Dreev. “I am looking forward eagerly to the match. It will be a fantastic experience playing at home,” he said.
Anand said it will be pretty early to talk about preparations and he will take a call after Fide (the world chess body) issues the final schedule later this year.
His wife and manager Aruna Anand admitted that defending the title at home would be a different experience for the champion.
“Sure, playing in Chennai will add to the pressure. It will be a different kind of challenge. But Anand has always been able to insulate himself from everything else while preparing for his matches, so it will not be a big problem for him,” she told Hindustan Times over phone from Chennai.