‘Anand wants to have people around him,a bit like family members’https://indianexpress.com/article/news-archive/print/anand-wants-to-have-people-around-him-a-bit-like-family-members/

‘Anand wants to have people around him,a bit like family members’

Eric Van Reem is a former chess player,an ‘airliner’ with Lufthansa.

Eric Van Reem is a former chess player,an ‘airliner’ with Lufthansa and since 2010,in charge of logistics with Team Anand. He speaks to The Indian Express about the highs he’s had with the team,what the ‘non-chess folks’ do when a match is on and hints that other players,beyond the ones Anand revealed on Wednesday,could be helping the champion.

On his highs with the team

It was quite a trip to Sofia (when Anand played Veselin Topalov in 2010). We couldn’t fly as you know and I arranged the taxi ride. It was good for the team,to go through an experience like that. It was a fun trip actually,we watched a lot of movies,watching The Lord of the Rings in the night is special. When you win and have a champion’s dinner,when all the tension falls off,it is special.

On his role

Hans Walter-Schmitt,Aruna and I arrange everything else…organisational stuff,press work…to make sure they (Anand and the seconds) just concentrate on chess. I am more or less a friend. He wants to have people around him,a bit like family members. If he wants to talk about something,he can rely on us. He knows we won’t get stupid things or crazy pictures published.

Anand revealing seconds

He wanted to be open and we thought why not. It put some pressure on his opponent to reveal the names but he (Carlsen) wasn’t…We could see he was surprised. But of course,if you need special advice you can ask friends and it is not limited to the names Anand mentioned.

On managing difficult days

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I am not really in the analysis team. When Anand comes to his team and speaks technical details with his seconds,I am not around. But of course you know he is tense and you can see they have sleepless nights,working out something. Tense moments,you shouldn’t talk to Anand or the seconds,just leave them alone. They won’t react anyway. You say hi and they look at you like are an alien. They are absolutely full of chess. When Anand is talking to someone,an idea comes to his mind and you see it in his eyes that he is drifting away from the conversation.

On Aruna anand

Either me or Walter-Schmitt are in the player hall with Aruna,we don’t want to leave her alone. Almost after every move,she is like what is this,what is that what is going on. Maybe as far as chess goes she has no idea what is going on but she can see the body language,she can read him to see if he is doing well or not.

On Carlsen’s pics?

(Photos of Carlsen seem to say) look how fit I am. He is also very fond of sports,so it makes sense. I don’t think he does it specifically to send out a signal. Of course we send out a signal too,when we say he (Anand) lost weight,or when we did an article (on how Anand lost six kgs during his training camp in Germany) it is not really a reaction but we wanted to show that Anand was fit and healthy.

(Van Reem’s blog mateinchennai.com is the site for Team Anand updates and off-beat photos from within the camp)