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Frenzy grips World Chess title clash

Manisha Mohite, Chennai, Nov 9, 2013, DHNS: 2:38 IST
Rapt attention: FIDE President Kirsen Ilyumizhinov makes the first move during the FIDE World Chess Championship's opening match between Viswanathan Anand of India and  Magnus Carlsen of Norway on Saturday in Chennai. PTI
A last-minute dash for tickets resulted in a serpentine queue outside Hyatt Regency, where the first move of “the ultimate chess championship” was to be played in the ballroom.

Many wanted to witness this historic moment as this is the first time that the World Chess title would be decided in India, where the game originated.

Four hundred tickets were up for sale, while seven sponsored corporate boxes were sold out in no time. Giant chess pieces were placed almost everywhere in the hotel while a few employees moved around dressed as kings and queens. However, there was no mistaking the fact that discussions centred around reigning World Chess champion Viswanathan Anand.

The moment Anand entered a glass cubicle specially constructed for the match, he was greeted with a thunderous applause. The challenger, 22-year-old Magnus, who had arrived before Anand, instinctively turned to the audience, probably sensing the shower of good wishes on his opponent. Carlsen took his seat, but immediately went out. He returned in a few minutes and was seen clasping his hands. Anand, meanwhile, was seen sipping coffee.

Both players, dressed in suits, displayed logos of their sponsors. Anand was seen concentrating on the pieces even before the start of the game. That the Indian has been training physically was apparent by his lean frame. Interestingly, Anand trained both his knights towards his king while adjusting his pieces. But Carlsen turned them towards each other.

As if justifying the adjustments before the game, Anand’s knights were the prime reasons for him getting into a good position.

The 16-move draw was a bit perplexing for the paying audience, but it was a highly satisfactory result for Anand with the black pieces.

Carlsen: I am not too thrilled with the game but of course I am happy to play, normally in these lines play develops quickly but here there was some crisis early and I had to pull the emergency brakes and take a draw.

Anand: After thinking about it for months and months, today it finally started, it’s
almost a relief.

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