EXCLUSIVE: 'Left with no choice,' Viswanathan Anand stuck in Germany amid coronavirus pandemic

Written By: Subhayan Chakraborty WION Web Team
Delhi, Delhi, India Updated: Mar 17, 2020, 07:42 AM(IST)

Viswanathan Anand (EXCLUSIVE) Photograph:( WION Web Team )

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In an exclusive chat with WION, mutliple-time World Chess Champion, Viswanathan Anand opened up about his extended stay in Frankfurt, Germany amid coronavirus pandemic.

The coronavirus pandemic has brought the entire sporting world to an unusual halt. The biggest sporting tournaments have gotten either cancelled or postponed including chess tournaments. Five-time world champion and India's first-ever grandmaster, Viswanathan Anand, is currently on self-isolation in Frankfurt, Germany. The 50-year-old, Padma Vibhushan awardee, was scheduled to return to India, from Germany, on Monday (March 16) but the COVID-19 pandemic has left him with no other substitute than to stay in the foreign land.

Also read: Chess grandmaster Viswanathan Anand stuck in Germany due to COVID-19 scare

"Yes, it is strange staying in a self-isolation but this is the best possible way to curb the spread, right? Staying all locked alone is not something that we do on a daily purpose but with things escalating to such an adverse situation, I am left with no choice," Anand told WION in an exclusive chat.

Anand, who was in Frankfurt to play for SC Baden OOO in Bundesliga Chess, is staying in touch with his family and friends during his free time. While it is natural that his family is worried about his extended stay in Germany, Anand reckons not travelling from the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic, i.e, Europe is the best possible option right now.

"Constant touch with my family and friends"

"Yes, I am in constant touch with my family and friends. But to be honest, life is pretty normal, I am not doing anything extra apart from staying home. Whatever happening in the entire world is not something I ever imagined but staying behind closed doors is the best way to stay safe."

The multiple-time World Chess Champion, however, will continue with his maiden commentary assignment from his apartment in Frankfurt. He is set to take up the commentator's role for the FIDE Candidates tournament that is set to take place at Yekaterinburg in Russia from Tuesday. However, all he needs is the internet to start his stint as a commentator. "Being a chess player, all I need is the internet. It is going to be a pretty exciting tournament and I am looking forward to the commentary stint, albeit from here in Germany."

With the World Health Organisation (WHO) declaring the novel coronavirus a pandemic, there has been a bit of scare relating to the novel COVID-19. While Europe has been announced as the 'epicenter' of the coronavirus pandemic, Anand urges everyone to follow the precautionary measures. "Staying isolated is the best thing to do with the situation getting worse with each day. Even though I want to return home, travelling in Europe is not the best of ideas. Even the World Health Organization has now declared Europe as the epicenter of coronavirus, so I hope everyone stays at their place and remains safe, here and also in India," Anand concluded.

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