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Chess has adapted well to COVID-19 shutdowns with their online events: Viswanathan Anand

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Five time world chess champion Viswanathan Anand has been stuck in Germany from February. He feels chess has adapted quite well to the coronavirus-forced shutdown by playing it online.

“I would say Germany is pretty comfortable. I am in a small town. I have had a chance to go out a couple of times for a walk…of course, keeping a safe distance,” he told PTI from his current base near Frankfurt.

He said, “Also, (I) do some shopping and essential stuff like that. I have friends living nearby and that’s a big comfort,”

Viswanathan also pointed, “Nobody really knows what the impact (of COVID-19) on the economy will be. First of all, let’s take chess. Chess was already something that happened a lot on the internet. So, it has been relatively smooth to adapt to going completely online,”
“Even so, it is a bit of shock that so many tournaments got cancelled and everyone is sitting at home. playing chess on the internet is lot of fun

“But organising a chess tournament (online) requires some skill. Where do you place the arbiter? How do you monitor things? and so on…yet chess has adapted relatively easily,” he added. While being away from his family, Anand said that he has tried to stay positive by giving time to his game, which he ignored earlier.

“One nice thing is that not only do I have a fair amount of free time, I have a lot of old friends who also have a lot of free time and we are able to connect and talk a lot,” Anand said.
Chess legend said that he is relaxed because of having mild case of coronavirus in Germany but he misses his family.

“Germany is having a mild case of coronavirus in the sense that their mortality rate is very low. People here seem fairly relaxed. All in all the only problem is that I am cut off from home but otherwise I am doing okay here,” he said.

While staying in Germany, Anand said that he enjoyed chess commentary on the candidates event in Yekatrinburg which was called off mid-way due to coronavirus. When it first emerged that flights home would not be available I had a chance to do some chess commentary. I commentated on the Candidates event that was happening in Russia. It was new experience for for me.

He added, “I got a chance to follow a chess tournament through the eyes of a fan in a sense. That was enjoyable for the 10 days or so that it happened, then the event was postponed half-way through.” Anand told that technology helps him to stay in touch with his family.

“I am in constant touch with my family thanks to technology. We stay in touch over phone and video calls. I chat with my son (Akhil) over phone and video calls.” he added.

Anand also participated in an online exhibition event with other five top Indian players to raise funds to help India to fight with pandemic.