Sunday, November 03, 2013
Everything set to go in Chennai
Anand, Carlsen opt for no-nonsense zone
Joeanna Rebello Fernandes, TNN | Nov 3, 2013, 02.00 AM IST
For the duration of the World Chess Championship Match 2013, from November 7 to 28, Hotel Hyatt Regency in Chennai will acquire the hallowed status of a pilgrim spot and resemble something like San Thome Bascilica on the feast day of St Thomas.
The resident gods here being home boy V Anand and Norwegian Magnus Carlsen. Approximately 1,000 chess enthusiasts are expected to make it past the watertight security and occupy the lobbies, if not the sanctum sanatorium - the Regency Ballroom - where the games will play out.
"Around 30 rooms have been booked for the event; these include rooms given to camps Anand and Carlsen, FIDE representatives, the media, and other groups," says Bharat Singh Chauhan, CEO, All India Chess Federation. The Regency Ballroom has been booked from November 9 to 29.
A representative of the hotel hints that the hotel is more or less sold out for the duration of the championship, "but we'll still have rooms to offer," she says. Of the hotel's two ballrooms, the larger one on the ground floor has been reserved for the games, while the other, Studio, on Level 1 will be the designated media room. "We'll have seven corporate boxes and tiered seating for around 300 spectators in the Regency Ballroom, which measures 8880 sq ft," the official says.
"The glass soundproof cubicle in which the games will be played will be erected in a corner of the room. Spectators will have to leave their cellphones outside and will not be allowed to leave the area once the games are in progress.
They will though, have access to the pre-function area where refreshments a reserved, and to the restroom." She says the ballroom will be void of any distracting trappings like banners or bunting.
Outside the ballroom (to which tickets are available on Chennai2013.fide.com), people in the lobby will keep tabs on the goings-on via LCD screens with scores.
They are still unresolved about erecting screens for live coverage, the hotel source says. Unlike outrageous demands by pop stars, for fresh roses and scented candles, the two stars of the board have insisted their rooms be frills-free.
Even Carlsen, who was initially wary of having game-compromising gastronomic misadventures in India, is satisfied with the arrangements at the Hyatt Regency.
"His chef spoke to our chef and we've imported the necessary ingredients for a Norwegian diet. While we won't have an all-out Norwegian menu, we will offer signature Norwegian dishes on the a la carte menu, but these will only be finalised when the entourage arrives.
Our chefs are happy to accommodate special meal requests. We have also flown in one of the Hyatt's Norwegian chefs for the purpose," she says. The hotel has covered all ground in their homework.
They've even introduced 30-minute head and shoulder massages to dispel chess-induced aches.
Black and white will be the dominant colours at the hotel this November with 2-feet chess pieces scattered around the two hotel lobbies. The hotel spokesperson says the lobby lounge will offer special High Tea on match days, and there will also be brain games going on, in which people can participate.
"We'll have an inquiry counter in the lower lobby called The Queen's Desk, which will be attended 24/7 by two employees from Front Office, dressed up as the king and queen. The desk will answer any queries about the event, and will also offer guests tips on sight-seeing in Chennai, and related tourist inquiries.
In addition, we'll have two chess ambassadors on the ground floor to update guests about the event and circulate chess trivia. The hotel will distribute to all its guests pocket-size infomation kits with emergency contact numbers in Chennai, shopping tips, news of events and promotions at the hotel and so on," she says.
Apart from the spectacle, there's much happening on the functional front as well. "For the first time in chess history the game will be broadcast live on Doordarshan. There will also be live streaming on our official website (Chennai2013.fide.com) and we're trying to rope in Youtube as well," says Chauhan.