CHENNAI, April 21: Five-time world champion Viswanathan Anand feels chess has adapted quite well to the coronavirus-forced shutdowns across the globe by simply going online just as he has been doing to stay in touch with family while being stuck in Germany for a couple of months now.
Anand had gone to Germany in February to compete for SC Baden OOO in the Bundesliga Chess. However, travel restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have ensured that he has been unable to return home.
�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.
�Also, (I) do some shopping and essential stuff like that. I have friends living nearby and that�s a big comfort,� he said.
The 50-year-old reflected on sports in time of worldwide lockdowns and said chess seems to have coped well so far.
�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,� he pointed out.
�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.
As for how he has been doing while being away from his family for such a long duration, Anand said he has tried to stay positive by devoting time to some aspects of his game, which he ignored earlier.
�I have a chance to do some chess work that I never had time for. I have a lot of time to wander around the internet just looking for information on this or that.
�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.
The Chennai-based legend said he is pretty comfortable overall.
�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 in Germany, Anand enjoyed his maiden commentary assignment during the Candidates event in Yekatrinburg in Russia, which was called off midway due to the pandemic. � PTI