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Thursday, November 7, 2013

Anand - Carlsen World Chess Championship 2013: Press Conference, Opening Ceremony Charm Chess Fans

Chess Blog for Daily Chess News and Trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2013

Hello everyone,

Chess dance at the opening ceremony. Photo: Official website

The 2013 World Chess Championship between World Champion Viswanathan Anand and Challenger Magnus Carlsen were declared open this evening in Chennai by J Jayalalitha - the politician who heads the government of Tamil Nadu as its Chief Minister. Chennai is the capital city of the State of Tamil Nadu in Southern India. 

The opening ceremony was a cultural extravaganza with held at the Nehru Indoor Stadium with the stands packed. Performances by both Indian and Norwegian cultural groups were part of the opening ceremony. Magnus Carlsen will have White pieces in the first game that begins on Saturday.

Both the opening ceremony and press conference of the World Chess Championship were streamed live via the official website.
Here is the press conference video of the World Chess Champion and his Challenger via the official YouTube channel of the All-India Chess Federation.

Asked how well he had prepared for the event, Anand said, "I worked as I always did. Couple of months of training and I think I am ready to attack. We will see how it goes but I think I am ready to play." 

"I am really excited to play in my home city. I am looking forward to the match starting and getting on to that," he said after the inauguration of the event by Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa.

Carlsen did not disclose the names of his seconds after Anand said Indian Grandmasters K Sasikiran and Sandipan Chanda, Hungarian Peter Leko and Poland's Radoslav Wojtaszek would assist him in the November 9-28 event.

"I appreciate Mr Anand's openness about his team but I will say I am not going to return the favour," Carlsen said.

"I am happy today. It is good to be here. Everything is good so far and I am looking forward to the match starting," said the current world number one Carlsen who won the right to contest against Anand after winning the Candidates Tournament earlier this year.

Asked about his response on Carlsen refusing to name his seconds, Anand said, "Since he cannot believe the whole truth about it and either of us, it does not really matter. I mean, I can answer a question honestly but you will never know whether it was the whole truth or not. The same goes for him. So, it does not really matter too much."

Anand said that he was not perturbed by suggestions that he would begin as the underdog in the match.

"I don't know. In general, I get ready to play against certain opponent. That is it. As for whether some thinks I am a favourite or not or the percentage that I enjoy, I do not know what you can do with that information any way."

Carlsen also sought to downplay the view of some experts that he will start as favourite in the match.

"I do not know if everyone considers me a favourite but in general I expect to do well in tournaments. If I manage to do well to my abilities and levels, I can win and that will be my mind set here as well," he said.

Asked about the media hype for the event, Carlsen said, "I am happy that there is so much interest for chess in India. Anand is a star here and I am hoping there will be lot of chess fans and media in general and lot of positive interest around the match."

Meanwhile, FIDE vice-president D V Sundar said some side events are being held during the World Championship match. "Chennai is considered as the Mecca of Indian chess. We are hosting exclusive Women GM tournament, Open Women GM tournament and Under-17 tournaments and others," he said.

FIDE president Kirsan Ilyumzhinov said, "First of all, I thank the chief minister for hosting and sponsoring the event. I thank GM Anand and Carlsen."

The first game of the World Chess Championship will be played on Saturday, November 9. 
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