I've arrived in Chennai! Typing this from a room on the 9th floor at the official Hyatt Regency hotel in Tamil Nadu's capital, I'm excited to be here and provide on-the-spot coverage of yet another World Championship. After Mexico 2007, Bonn 2008, Sofia 2010 and Moscow 2012, this is the fifth world title event I am attending and the first for Chess.com. I will be providing reports and videos and I'll join the Chess.com/TV live shows as much as I can.
View from the Hyatt Regency
Following the initial schedule of 6-26 November, several journalists booked their flights nicely around the match, so arriving on the 4th and leaving on the 28th. At breakfast there were already a few Norwegian journalists and also Ulrich Stock, whose interviews were posted here earlier this week. To our horror, somewhere mid-September the dates were suddenly moved to 7-28 November so we'll need to rebook our return flights in case of a tiebreak (or timeout by one of the players). Oh well. At least it's nice to be early!
Obviously I immediately checked out the venue and other facilities. Below you can have a sneak peak of what the venue looks like today:
The venue is the Hyatt Regency
View from the 9th floor
The spectators area - there will be space for 400 seats
The stage, where the actual games will be played
The glass, which will be 12.5 mm thick, still needs to be placed - you can see the player's rest area at the back
I promised the hotel manager to add a decent photo of the ballroom as well!
Anand and Carlsen are both staying in the Hyatt Regency with their families. Anand checked in at the hotel on Monday morning, while Carlsen arrived in Chennai later that day (where he had to be escorted by police). Before, he had spent two weeks training in Muscat, Oman to prepare for a similar climate. Carlsen arrived with his parents and two sisters as well as a body guard and doctor.
Carlsen was presented a "ponnadai" (shawl) and flowers
The two players live on separate floors in the Hyatt, and it is arranged that they will not have to use the same elevator. The hotel has assigned three butlers; one for each player and a neutral one who will assist them during the games. Only through these butlers the hotel staff is allowed to deliver messages.
Two months ago, when Carlsen inspected the venue, he brought a Norwegian chef with him and together they checked on the hotel kitchen. Obviously the Norwegian wants to avoid getting sick by any means. However, he likes Indian food.
"I love Indian food, but I still have my chef just to be on the safe side," Carlsen said at his arrival. He might want to out the hotel menu as well - the Hyatt specially hired a Norwegian chef who lives in India! Even Norwegian cocktails will be served.
What was revealed by my taxi driver (!) and now confirmed by the Times of India today: Carlsen and his family are spending the last days towards the match not in the hotel, but at the Fisherman's Cove, on East Coast road, about an hour drive from the venue. A few days ago it was reported in Norwegian media that they will also spend their rest days there.
Meanwhile, in Norway the national TV channel NRK has decided to broadcast the games of the match live on TV and internet. Commentary will be provided by IM Torstein Bae. Magnusmania has started there! On a related note, don't miss this excellent documentary on Carlsen by the Norwegian TV network VG TV:
That's all for now from Chennai. I'll add a number of stories and reports that you might want to check out: