World Chess Championship 2013 Viswanathan Anand vs Magnus Carlsen at Chennai Hyatt Regency: arundhati ramanathan

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Showing posts with label arundhati ramanathan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label arundhati ramanathan. Show all posts

Monday, November 11, 2013

Garry Kasparov Reaches Chennai as 'Chess Tourist'

Posted by World Chess Championship 2013 News Blog Monday, November 11, 2013
Chennai Anand vs Carlsen World Chess Championship 2013 Media Update: LiveMint has reported that legendary World Chess Champion Garry Kasparov has reached Chennai Monday evening without any welcome from the organisers of the Anand - Carlsen World Chess Championship. Kasparov has himself said that he is in Chennai as a "chess tourist". The legendary Grandmaster is accompanied by his wife Daria. 


Arundhati Ramanathan writes, "The 50-year-old legend did not get any attention from the organizers of the world championship match underway in Chennai when he arrived in the city on Monday for a two-day visit to cheer for Magnus Carlsen, the Norwegian challenger to Viswanathan Anand’s world title. On Monday, Kasparov checked into Chennai’s Hyatt Regency hotel, where the match is being played, at around 5.20 pm, accompanied by his wife. No one except some hotel officials received him."

Legendary 13th World Chess Champion Garry Kasparov with wife Daria at Hotel Hyatt Regency in Chennai on Monday evening. -- Photo: PTI

In India, Fide vice-president DV Sundar is quoted as saying, Kasparov has come on his own, not at the invitation of the world chess federation, “Who are we to welcome or not welcome him?” he asked.

Kasparov will not be allowed to address the media at the venue of the world chess championship match, a key official said.

“I have been advised by the Indian chess federation that he should not be allowed to enter the media centre (from where Fide officials and the two players have been addressing press conferences),” Arvind Aaron, press officer for the Chennai 2013 world title match, said on Monday.

“In my view, this is a PR (public relations) disaster for the Indian chess federation,” said an Indian Grandmaster, asking not to be named. “In the light of Kasparov’s plans to contest the Fide elections next year, the Indian chess federation got swayed by the political implications of his visit. But this isn’t any way to treat a player of his stature.”
“I am here as a chess tourist,” Kasparov said arriving at the hotel. “It’s a free country.”

When told that the organizers refuse to take note of his visit to Chennai, he said Fide was “concerned” that he could get a lot of media attention in India and that the Indian chess federation wasn’t backing him as Fide president.

The organizers should only make sure that nothing untoward happens during the visit that could “portray (him) in bad light,” Kasparov added.

It isn’t immediately known if the Tamil Nadu government, which is the principal sponsor of the world championship, endorses the Indian chess federation’s stand on Kasparov. Officials in the sports department said on Monday that they had not been briefed on the matter.

Kasparov, who retired from competitive chess is 2005, remains one of the most haloed players ever, having been the world champion for some 15 years till 2000. A part of his reign, though, was disputed because of his rift with Fide. He lost his title to fellow Russian Vladimir Kramnik, whom he tutored for a long time.

Though they passed up the opportunity to pay their respect to Kasparov, the organizers are bracing for a huge turnout of fans at Hyatt Regency hotel on Tuesday when the former world champion turns up to watch Carlsen play Anand in the third of their 12-game match.

Kasparov, who has inspired generations of players, still remains one of the most recalled chess icons anywhere in the world.

A human rights activist who takes interest in Russian politics, Kasparov has announced that he will contest for the president’s post in the Fide election next year. “Unlike with (Vladimir) Putin, at least we can be sure that the votes will be counted,” Kasparov said on Monday, when asked about his chances of winning.

Addressing the media last week, current president Kirsan Ilyumzhinov described Kasparov as a “worthy contestant”, even as he reiterated that he will contest again because heads of national chess federations want him to carry on.

Ilyumzhinov has led Fide since November 2005, having funded the sport since the early 1990s. He committed to bring in at least $10 million for tournaments and for promotion of chess if he is voted to lead the federation for another term.

Like another world chess champion Bobby Fischer before him, Kasparov has repeatedly rebelled against Fide, demanding more money for winning world championships and better television coverage of chess. In 1993, he broke out and founded the Professional Chess Association (PCA) to launch a rival world championship. 

The PCA collapsed after holding two world championships—in 1993 and 1995—after one of its key sponsors, chip maker Intel Corp., backed out. But the world championship remained divided for many years until Kramnik won a reunification match in 2006.

Asked why he wanted to contest the Fide election, Kasparov said the current leadership had “missed a lot of opportunities” and that he could bring about meaningful changes, but quickly added that he was in Chennai only to watch the match and wish Carlsen luck.

“I can guarantee that in the next 48 hours, I won’t be campaigning,” he said.
-- Arundhati Ramanathan/LiveMint

Friday, November 8, 2013

Few Takers for Paid Tickets to Anand vs Carlsen World Chess Championship in Chennai

Posted by World Chess Championship 2013 News Blog Friday, November 8, 2013
Not even 100 tickets for first game sold until Friday, while 6,000-odd people attended Thursday inauguration ceremony, writes Arundhati Ramanathan in Live Mint.




Chennai: When World Chess Champion Viswanathan Anand and his Norwegian Challenger Magnus Carlsen face each other in the opening game of their much-hyped 12-game world chess championship match on Saturday, they will be playing before a packed audience.

But very few among the spectators would have bought their tickets—although the cerebral sport is more popular in Tamil Nadu than nearly anywhere else in India.


Tickets for the match aren’t selling, said an official in the organizing committee, asking not to be named.

The 435 square metre hall on the ground floor of Hyatt Regency Hotel in central Chennai, where the match is going to be played, can seat as many as 350 people.

But not even 100 tickets for the first game had been sold until Friday—a far cry from the 6,000-odd people who turned up for the inauguration ceremony on Thursday. Then again, most of them were schoolchildren, ferried to the venue at the insistence of the state government—the principal sponsor of the event.

To be sure, chess is not a spectator sport and the pricing of tickets is steep: Rs.2,000 each for every game, going up to Rs.26,000 for a premium seat for all 12 games, compared with Rs.500 for a season pass for the just-concluded cricket Test match—Sachin Tendulkar’s penultimate—between India and the West Indies at Eden Gardens in Kolkata.

Conversely, the Eden Test was sold out, though the stands weren’t full.

“Steep, is it?” said Bharat Singh Chauhan, chief executive officer of the All India Chess Federation (AICF), referring to the ticket prices. “But for such matches in Europe, people pay up to €200 (or around Rs.16,800, a game).”

Organizers had to give away most of the tickets to government officials, sponsors and chess play ers—both local and foreign—he added.

The organizing committee decided to keep the ticket prices high because the venue cannot hold too many people and a lot of chess players from India and abroad were expected to gatecrash the event, said another AICF official, asking not be named.

However, those who cannot afford tickets but want some of the atmosphere of the venue, can go to the hotel and watch the games on giant screens installed outside the playing hall, he added.
In fact, people don’t need to step out of their homes at all to watch Anand and Carlsen play, state-run Doordarshan will telecast the games live, and the organizers will be streaming them live on the Internet at chennai2013.fide.com.

For some chess aficionados, however, Anand playing at home is too big a sporting event to miss.

Vijay Narayanan, a former chess player and an automobile engineer who now works in Chandigarh, is visiting his hometown specially to watch his childhood hero Anand defend his title against the world’s highest-ranked chess player.

“Anand can’t lose in Chennai,” said Narayanan, who may stay on till the end of the event if the local hero wins.

There should have been many more spectators such as Narayanan, considering India is home to no less than 35,221 internationally rated chess players—more than any other country. A large number
of them are from Tamil 
Nadu, where the sport has been included in the compulsory curriculum of state-run schools.

Of the 34 Grandmasters in India currently, 12 are from Tamil Nadu.
The popularity of chess in Tamil Nadu can be traced back to the 1960s, when Manuel Aaron became India’s first International Master and the national champion. The sport grew in popularity after Anand won the world junior championship in 1987 and became the first Indian to secure the Grandmaster title the next year, said K. Murali Mohan, a former general secretary of the Tamil Nadu State Chess Association.

Even so, the popularity of chess in India remains confined largely among active and former players, having failed to permeate to the masses, even in Tamil Nadu.

* Sachin Tendulkar posts