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Recap of a busy day (1)

The players and their teams have arrived at the Hyatt Regeny in Chennai and we are getting closer to the first game of the match! On the days before the match, a number of official and necessary duties need to be fulfilled, though. Not only the players have a busy day, your writer had a busy day as well and I will recap this  pictorial recap of a busy Thursday in Chennai in two parts.


The day started off with the inspection of the playing hall and the essential and difficult task of picking the right chair for the match. Fans of this blog know that I wrote an article called “Playing hall inspection” in the “Mate in Moscow” blog last year.

So off we went to the playing hall with Vishy, Aruna and Hans-Walter Schmitt. Lots of photographers were interested which chair Vishy would choose!

Vishy checking the seat, watched by his wife Aruna (left) and officials.


“Ok, the colour of the chair fits pretty nicely to my shirt, but can I try another one?”

Orange chair

As a Dutchman, I would have taken this orange chair!

And what about the challenger? Magnus Carlsen had obviously picked his chair the night before.


Henrik Carlsen reveals the secret we all have been waiting for: “Magnus will pick the black chair”


Ah, well you can guess what “M.C” means! Or is this chair reserved for Herman Miller?


The traditional “Chess Tigers playing a game on the world championship board” photo. Your blogger playing white vs. Hans-Walter Schmitt, who plays an inferior opening. Thanks to the photographer Geoffrey Borg! You can see him in the mirror. You may notice that the players can not really see that much, when they look into the auditorium. The glass is reflecting everything.


This poor guy was slightly confused: “Uhm, are these the correct name plates?”

The players get to the playing hall, 10 minutes before the start of the game with their own designated elevator, accompanied only by a security officer.



The elevator on the left is for Magnus…






And the one on the right for Vishy! A world championship is all about details. Try to explain it to an outsider!



Next point on the agenda: the players meeting, with FIDE officials, the players, their managers and the arbiters. Of course I cannot reveal that much about the meeting, but I was a bit surprised to see that the players received a short version of “The rules of Chess” from the experienced arbiter Ashot Vardapetyan.  Read an interview with the Armenian about the match  here.


Espen Agdestein, Magnus and Henrik Carlsen going through some details.

Lets move on to the press conference.

Pressconference1_EvR Well, there were a lot of photographers and TV teams at the venue, trying to get the best shot.


You may recognize GM Ian Rogers in the front row and behind him is Ulrich Stock, who writes for the German newspaper “Die Zeit”. You can read his  latest article here. And they were waiting for some big news!


The moment of truth: Vishy revealing the names of his lieutenants: Peter Leko, Krishnan Sasikiran, Radek Wojtaszek and Sandipan Chanda.

In part 2 I will post pictures of the opening ceremony and the traffic in Chennai! And I will answer the question : who is “Amma”?

A Twitter guide to the world championship

In his very entertaining article “The Couch Potato’s Guide to Anand- Carlsen World Champs”, Grandmaster Ian Rogers notes that “the real development for text commentary in 2013 is likely to be via live blogging and tweeting. Finding the right person to follow  may be a matter of luck“.

Why not reduce the factor “luck”, with a little bit of help?  In this article  I will give you a number of essential Twitter accounts you should follow during the world championship.

Even if you are an unregistredTwitter user, it is still possible to read tweets, but only twitter-bird-light-bgsregistered users can create “tweets”, which are text messages limited to 140 characters. You can read the messages on your computer or a mobile device. In 2012, Twitter had around 500 million registered users, who posted 340 million tweets …per day! Twitter is now one of the ten most visited websites. On a website like Twitaholic or TwitterCounter you can check who has the most followers on Twitter: Katy Perry with more than 46 million followers is on number 1. I do not want to mention number 2 and 3, number 4 on the list ist US president Barack Obama with nearly 40 million followers.

Even if you are a luddite, it is not a bad idea to use Twitter. Personally I like the fact that you often find links to websites and articles that you never heard of before.

If we compare the more than 46 million @KatyPerry followers to the barely 32.000 @MagnusCarlsen followers , placing him at at 28.000 in the world, it is obvious that chess is still somewhere far away in the shadow of Twitterworld.  The 22-year old Norwegian has more followers than his opponent though, @Vishy64TheKing, with nearly 19.000 followers. You can also add @Wish4Vishy , the cheering account for Anand, initiated by his sponsor NIIT. Of course you must add  the official Twitter account of the world championship @FWCM2013 to your watchlist. You should also add the accounts of the commentators @SusanPolgar, @Rameshchess, @TaniaSachdev and @LawrenceTrentIM. And do not forget to add @Agdesteinthe account of Espen Agdestein, manager for Magnus Carlsen.

Anastasiya Karlovich

Anastasiya Karlovich


The press conferences after the game will be moderated by  Anastasiya Karlovich, who started tweeting just days before the match started: @NastiaKarlovich




I don’t know if it is a good idea to follow @Fidepresident, because Kirsan Ilyumzhinov only tweeted once on this account, but he is more active on @Ilyumzhinov (Russian only!). His assistant, @bbalgabaev Berik Balgabaev tweets in Russian and English.

The Chess Magazine B& W from India has an account with more than 36.000 followers,  an essential source of information: @bandwindia. Two good sources for chess news from India to follow are the accounts of journalists Venkat Saravanan @reachvsara and Rakeesh Natraj @rakeeshnatraj. Another online chess magazine to follow is @ChessVibes, one of the most popular chess websites in the world. Editor Peter Doggers will be in Chennai during the match and he will write daily reports. Another Dutchie in Chennai is Lennart Ootes. Expect interesting posts and pictures on @LennartOotes. @ChessBase  is the official ChessBase Twitter channel, and they will be providing updates on the progress of the games, updates on news, and even pictures. Please do add @LeontxoGarcia to the watchlist, the well-know Spanish journalist and organizer will provide tweets in Spanish.


A lot of chess players have a Twitter account. Some interesting accounts to follow during the match are: @NigelShortchess, @Kasparov63 (more than 45.000 followers) and his “aide-de-camp” Mig Greengard @ChessNinja, @AnishGiri, @Polborta (Peter Svidler), @HariChess (Harikrishna), and @TelegraphChess (Malcolm Pein). Other important Twitter accounts where you get news and links are Mark Crowther @MarkTWIC, John Saunders@JohnChess  and Chess in Translation @ChessinT, which is important to be able to follow essential chess news from Russia. Do not forget to add @gmjlh, the account of “chess fanatic” and Carlsen second Jon Ludvig Hammer.

Jon Ludvig Hammer, playing in TataSteelChess 2011

Jon Ludvig Hammer, playing in TataSteelChess 2011

Of course, there are many more grandmasters on Twitter, and you can find an excellent list on tweeting grandmasters on the website of the lovely grandmaster and model Natalia Pogonina. Of course you should add her account to your list as well: @Pogonina. She has more than 100.000 followers and with over 10.000 tweets, she is one the most active chessplayers on Twitter.


If you want to get news from Norway, you actually only need to add one account to the watchlist: @TarjeiJS, the account of Tarjei J. Svensen,  a chess reporter from Norway, who will be in Chennai in November. The guy seems to have a lot of insider’s information from the Carlsen camp! He tweets a lot (more than 7200 tweets so far) and gives several links to Norwegian reports on Carlsen. Another interesting twitter account to add is @NRKsjakk, the offial Twitter account for the match from NRK Sports.  Please do watch the account of Norwegian GM Jonathan Tisdall @GMjtis.

Last but not least: add @ChessClassic to your list!

If you have other “must-follow” Twitter accounts, send me a message! I will be happy to update this post with your suggestions.



I’ll be watchin’ you…

When browsing through the archives, I found two interesting pictures from 2011.

Wijk aan Zee 2011

Tata Steel Chess, Wijk aan Zee 2011

I’ll be watchin’ you…. part 1. Vishy Anand is watching the game Magnus Carlsen-Ian Nepomniachtchi in Wijk aan Zee 2011, a game Carlsen lost! It is rumoured that the 23-year old Russian is working for Carlsen presently. Do you remember who won the 2011 TATA Steel tournament in Wijk aan Zee? It was neither Carlsen (3rd)  nor Anand (2nd) …


Chess Masters Final, Bilbao 2011

I’ll be watchin’ you… part 2. This one was taken in Bilbao, during the “Chess Masters Final” in 2011, round 8. Carlsen won his game against Vallejo Pons, but he lost to the same opponent earlier in the tournament. The game Ivanchuk-Anand ended in a draw. Carlsen won the event 6,5/10, Anand scored 5/10.

I’ll be watchin’ you …part 3.

Every move you make, every step you take
I’ll be watchin’ you

(Every breath you take, The Police)


Follow the games

@Chennai or @ Home? It will be really hard to miss a game or do not read reports about the match! Here is an incomplete overview of websites and chess servers covering the match live with commentary by renowned and international experts.


You will be able to follow the match on-site in Chennai of course, but the number of seats for spectators is limited. It will be even harder for the media to get a seat. More than 500 journalists applied for a press accreditation, according to the press officer Arvind Aaron, but since there are only around 100 seats in the press room, it will be interesting ( to say the least) how the organizers will handle this avalanche of attention from the national and international media.

A relatively crowded press room in Moscow 2012. You may spot some familiar faces.


Klaus Bischoff

If you prefer to stay at home to watch the “First Match of the Century” as an armchair grandmaster, there are many sites you can go to. Most chess players do know the big chess news sites and servers and certainly play online as well.  ChessBase will cover the event on the website and on their own Playchess server in various languages. If you can understand German, I would recommend to listen to the comments of German Champion GM Klaus Bischoff. He will analyze 10 out of 12  games.


Daniel King

In English, there are various experienced commentators on ChessBase who will the follow games:  Yasser Seirawan,  Daniel King and Maurice Ashley to name just a few. Leontxo Garcia will do the commentary in Spanish, top grandmasters Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Christian Bauer will comment the games in French. Note: the commentary will begin 30 minutes after the start of the games! You can find a schedule on the ChessBase website.



Leontxo Garcia analyzing with Anand and Carlsen after their game in Bilbao 2012.


Lawrence Trent

On the official match website, you can follow the games live with computer analyses, but you can also listen to the commentary duo GM Susan Polgar and IM Lawrence Trent. Spoiler alert: be prepared to hear the catchwords “wow” and “incredible” at least 50 times during the game. There is no information (yet) if any grandmasters from India will do commentary on the website.


On the non-official website you can find an article about “top seven commentators you would like to see at Anand-Carlsen” here.

Susan Polgar

Of the above mentioned commentators, only Lawrence Trent is mentioned in the top 7.  On a recent Facebook poll, in which was asked “Whose commentary you enjoy mostly”, 674 votes were counted. Lawrence Trent won with 164 votes, followed by Nigel Short (142) and Susan Polgar (98).


Personally I miss the name of Sergey Shipov in this list, because he is “arguably the world’s best chess commentator and certainly the master of the difficult art of text commentary”, according to Colin McCourty on his blog Chess in Translation. If you want to read how Shipov works, read this article. This year, Shipov will be doing live video commentary from Moscow for

On the Internet Chess Club you can follow “TheShow of the Century” as the match is announced in English and Spanish.  ICC’s “Dream Team of commentators” includes veterans like Alex Yermolinsky, Joel Benjamin and John Fedorowicz, but there are also a number of one-night-only commentators like Jon Speelman and Mark Crowther.



Tania Sachdev

Tania Sachdev

On ChessDom, the official FIDE media partner for the world championship, you will have a number of interesting commentators: all the action of can be folllowed with computer analysis and commentary by  Aman Hambleton,  Tania Sachdev, and  Vidit Gujrathi.



There is a very entertaining article by Ian Rogers on the UCSF website: “The Couch Potato’s Guide to Anand- Carlsen World Champs” with links and… recipes! Recommended reading, not only because Rogers mentioned this blog in his article. 

Ian Rogers talking to Vishy Anand in Moscow.

Ian Rogers talking to Vishy Anand in Moscow. will offer a wide array of exclusive, comprehensive coverage of the match in Chennai. Live coverage during the games, on-site reporting (Peter Doggers) and, due to the time difference to the US,  an after-game show with GM Ben Finegold and IM Denny Rensch. All the details of the world championship coverage can be found here on


Most Norwegian top chess players will be in Chennai, but back home in Norway, Hans Olav Lahlum will provide commentary for VGTV and VG Nett.  VG = Verdens Gang: “The way of the world” or “The course of the world”  is a Norwegian tabloid newspaper. VG Nett is VG’s news site online.

Lahlum is a celebrity in Norway:  he is a Norwegian historian, crime author, chess player and organizer, and politician. On May 22–23, 2013, he was interviewed by VG for 30 hours, 1 minute and 44 seconds, setting a Guiness World Record for the longest interview ever, beating the previous record with over four hours. Lahlum will be joined by Hans Arild Runde, the man who started the live rating website. Runde wrote the round reports of the first super tournament in Norway for the website Norway Chess earlier this year. 

IM Torstein Bae will comment for Norwegian National TV.

If you have suggestions or know other websites  with live commentary, use the “contact me” page and let me know!

Swimming and running for the title

On 16 October, an article was published in the Bad Sodener Zeitung, a weekly newspaper for the citizens (about 22.000) of the small town of Bad Soden. The town is known for its various springs, which contain carbonic acid gas and various iron oxides. The waters are used both internally and externally, and are widely exported. One of the most prominent citizens of this town and spa in Bad Soden is chess world champion Viswanathan Anand and in the weeky newspaper one page was reserved. Since this article is only available in German and the newspaper does not have an online edition, I will give you a brief summary.


Click on the image for a larger view

The author describes why Anand decided to buy an apartment in Bad Soden, now more than 10 years ago. His close friend and neighbour Hans-Walter Schmitt, organizer of the famous Chess Classic Tournaments in Frankfurt and Mainz advised him to come to Bad Soden. The town is just a few miles away from Frankurt and its international airport. Schmitt opened a training center in Bad Soden in 2010, the Chess Tigers Training Center and teaches chess in schools.

Physical training

We have seen pictures of Magnus Carlsen on Facebook, in which he shows that he has done some physical training this summer. But Anand has been pretty active as well, says the Bad Sodener Zeitung: “He bought a season ticket for the swimming pool in Bad Soden and swam about 1000 meter per day. He would also run 10 km every day and he has also been spotted on a bicycle in the beautiful hills around Bad Soden. He lost about 6 kilos this summer. Most of the time, though, Anand prepared for the match  in the Chess Tigers Training Center with his seconds.”

His friend, manager and delegation leader in Chennai, Hans-Walter Schmitt is quoted: “This will be his toughest challenge. It is a battle of experience vs. youth”.

The text is written by Hans-Jürgen Biedermann, pictures (not credited!-idiots) were made by yours truly. I add the original pictures here. Click on the pictures for a larger view. Let me know if you want to use the pictures or need a high-res picture.


Hans-Walter Schmitt and his neighbour.



Vishy Anand preparing in the Chess Tigers Traing Center