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Carlsen goes out, Anand stays indoors

other Updated: Nov 12, 2013 01:34 IST
Dhiman Sarkar
Dhiman Sarkar
Hindustan Times

In shorts and tees, the Carlsen entourage headed for some outdoor activity after lunch. “We are going for some games,” said Carlsen’s manager Espen Agdestein before zooming away in two SUVs provided by the hotel.

Father and son, Magnus and Henrik, fastened seat belts even though they were in the rear seat, the almost spontaneous reaction possibly having more to do with habit than Chennai traffic.

Carlsen also has the option of going to a resort on off-days but chose not to for the first break in play at this world championship. “It’s possibly because they have been travelling a lot over the past few months and are satisfied with how the hotel (also the championship venue) is looking after them,” said a Norwegian journalist.

Two members of the Anand camp too hit the beach around the time the Carlsens left but the defending champion stayed indoors. “There is no chess in the evening after a game and before a rest day. He (Anand) took a break yesterday evening spending time watching tennis and football on television. But today, it is normal service,” said Eric van Reem, in charge of logistics for Anand.

Normal service means an hour in the gym and spending most of the day poring over computers with seconds. The hotel gym is the only place outside his 10th floor lodgings, the playing arena and the media conference room that Anand’s been seen since Thursday. Even those connected to the All India Chess Federation and players staying at the championship venue HT spoke to confirmed they haven’t seen any of Anand’s seconds. “They are all in a bubble, you will possibly get to see them only after all this ends,” said a player requesting anonymity.

Wife and manager Aruna Anand was seen on Monday evening leaving her room, acknowledging greetings from the hotel staff. Carlsen’s been spotted more in public, occasionally even taking dinner with family and friends at the hotel’s restaurants. A resident at the hotel said he’s been seen doing one-hand push-ups. Now, there wouldn’t be too many Grandmasters capable of doing that.

So far, so good
Henrik may have lost to his son Magnus at chess in 2007 but having been a keen amateur player, he does have adequate understanding of this ancient game. After Sunday’s stalemate, the senior Carlsen told a Norwegian reporter that he’s happy with the outcome so far.

The draws have opened some interesting possibilities for Magnus and will help him plan for the next game where he has white, said his father. Henrik also said that Anand has given hints that he will not take too many chances.