The post “Recap of a busy day (1)ended with the press conference. What happened in the afternoon? Not long after the press conference ended, we went off to the next official event, which is one of the most important parts of the world championship: the opening. We were picked up by two cars, Aruna and Vishy in car one, your blogger and Hans-Walter Schmitt in car 2, accompanied by Oleg Skvortkov, a Russian businessman and sponsor of the Zürich Chess Challenge, and his wife Natasha. So, off we went, escorted by police in front of car 1 and one escort behind us. Our experienced driver tried to follow the cars, but even with police escorting us, it was quite an exciting ride.
On the way to the Nehru Indoor Stadium, the we saw gigantic posters of “Amma”. The pictures were taken out of the car, so these are just POV shots.
The whole text: “You are the unbeaten King”, “you always make the right move”, “you are our champion”.
In case you still don’t get it: Amma means mother in many languages. It is originally derived from the language Tamil word அம்மா which means mother. In Norse mythology Amma means grandmother, the ancestress of the freemen, or churls. The German chancellor Angela Merkel is often called “Mutti” in Germany, but I cannot imagine seeing these huge posters in the streets of Berlin! It is just an unusual sight for a westerner.
This “Amma” on the posters is the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Ms J. Jayalalithaa, who inaugurated the World Chess Championship Match with a cheering crowd of around 7.000 people! Jayalalithaa was a popular film star in India before her entry into politics. She is in her third term as Chief Minister and extremely popular.
We has a good view from where we were seated. The 2-hour ceremony was broadcast live on at least two TV channels and on various internet websites. I am convinced that you will find plenty of pictures of the opening and a video yourself. In front of us, representatives of NIIT,one of Anand’s main sponsors were seated, next to us FIDE officials and members of the press. And behind us…
… a cheering crowd, but aren’t they supposed to carry posters of the players? Carlsen may have thought that he has to play against the prime minister!
“Well, I prefer to play against Anand, I guess”.
Vishy had a chat with Mr. and Mrs. Skvortkov….
…and was surrounded by fans after the show. Standing next to him is an old friend from school, Ram Bhat. On the far left you may spot Lawrence Trent, and the far right Israel Gelfer.
On the way back, it had become dark already, we had to drive to our temporary “home”, The Hyatt, and of course we got stuck in Chennai’s ever-lasting rush hour. It took us about 45 minutes and we nearly made it to the hotel without too much hassle. But just in front of the Hyatt, we held our breath…
The car in front of us is the “Anand-car”, before them the police escort. And you can see that from the right a motorbike tried to sneak in. Nothing happened, but it was close!
Anand sent me a Skype message after we arrived at the hotel: “Come on, you haven’t seen the real traffic”.