A Virgin Pinacolada, egg fried rice, sweet and sour beef and sweet and sour pork. That was Magnus Carlsen’s first dinner after becoming the new king of chess. Carlsen did have a celebratory glass of wine but that was more because he was offered one from a bottle that had ‘Magnus Carlsen, world champion’ written on it.
“His most preferred drink here has been sweet lime juice,” said Syed Afdhar, Carlsen’s butler since he checked into the Hyatt Regency, the venue for the world chess championship which he won on Friday, on November 4.
After a brief appearance at a poolside party where he was dunked into water and pulled out by manager Espen Agdestein, Carlsen changed and joined a Norwegian contingent of 30 at the hotel’s Indian restaurant but had Chinese, said Afdhar, 25. This was around 11pm and dinner continued till 2am.
Carlen spoke to the Norwegian Prime Minister on Skype, finished a few media commitments and went to sleep around 5am, said Agdestein. Till 4.30pm, he hadn’t got up. “He likes to sleep for long after tournaments,” said Agdestein.
Hours before that Viswanathan Anand checked out of the hotel where he’d stayed for nearly three weeks. “Akhil (Anand’s son) came with his parents that day and left. The next time, he came was today,” said Vivek, Anand’s butler. The Anands live some 15 minutes away from the hotel.
Known to tuck in by 9pm during this championship, Anand, his wife Aruna, seconds and the logistics team had dinner around midnight on Friday, said Vivek, 27. “Anand had spinach dal and aubergine parmesan and Aruna ordered a plate of vegetable club sandwich. Of course, everyone was a bit down but the atmosphere wasn’t too gloomy.” The group would always order through room service barring once when Anand ate at the hotel’s Italian restaurant, said Vivek.
Members of Carlsen’s entourage would occasionally order wine or beer but Vivek said he didn’t serve alcohol to anyone in the A-Team.
For over a fortnight, the butlers were one-point contacts between the hotel and these two guests with Afdhar even being part of the Norwegian’s four-a-side football and basketball games. Afdhar would also accompany and pick up Carlsen whenever he went away to a resort on East Coast Road.