November 8, 2013 10:33:33 pm
When you enter the spacious suite on the top floor of the Hyatt Regency hotel in Chennai,you may expect glamour and extravaganza,but nothing so!
Four quiet men,wearing earplugs are staring at computer screens and occasionally moving pieces on a chess board in between them. Bowls of cashew nuts and raisins and dark chocolate to feed the brain are all over the place.
The room is a chess laboratory,in which world class players are preparing a summary of their work for their boss,chess world champion Viswanathan Anand.
On the last day before the start of the biggest chess match India has ever seen,the champ does not change his routine. After his light breakfast with healthy fruits,he will come to the chess lab to check what his seconds have prepared.
He will work for an hour with his lieutenants. To get in good physical shape,Anand will then go to the fitness room on the first floor of the hotel for an hour,sometimes even longer when he feels he needs some extra power.
During his training camp in the tranquility of Bad Soden in Germany this summer,Anand went to the swimming pool in the morning and in the evening he jogged for more than an hour to get in shape for the big match.
After lunch,it is time to have a nap,but then it is time to get some work done again! Checking specific openings,middle games,endgames,and solving difficult chess puzzles with and without the help of the powerful computers the world champion uses: that is the programme for the afternoon.
After dinner with the whole team,some specific preparation for the first game is planned: What opening to play? Did we check all the lines?
Chess 24 hours a day? Is there no time to relax? Of course! The seconds listen to music in the lab,mainly some Coldplay and U2 and briefly check some websites to catch up with the news.
This week,many European top clubs played in the Champions League and watching the games together is a joy for the football-loving chess grandmasters. Since the members in the Anand team come from different countries,it is normal that everyone has a different favorite football team,and teasing each other about the results and having a laugh is normal!
The biggest entertainer in the team,however,is two-year-old Akhil Anand,who manages to break the tense atmosphere in the chess lab whenever he pleases!
After a tough day at the office,Anand loves to watch some light comedy like Fawlty Towers or Monty Python,before going to sleep to be ready for the first game of the world chess championship.
Eric van Reem
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