You could spot, on any given day, several Grandmasters at Hyatt Regency, the venue of the world chess championship match between Viswananthan Anand and Magnus Carlsen.
But many of them are from the city, while the rest are playing at the open international tournament at Jawaharlal Nehru stadium.
Dronavalli Harika, world no. 26, though, flew down from Hyderabad just to see the match. “I made plans to be here as soon as the venue was confirmed,” she says.
“I wanted to enjoy the atmosphere and watch two great players in action.” The 22-year-old reached the semifinals of the women’s world championship last year and is one of India’s finest prospects.
She was the world junior girls’ champion in 2008 and has also been the winner of the world under-14 and under-18 championships. She is one of only two Indian women to get the Grandmaster title (fellow Telugu Koneru Humpy is the other).
She came to Chennai after playing in the Chinese league. “I played well there,” she says. “Before that I played in the European league.” Harika was on television for a while on Monday along with Susan Polgar, one of the commentators for the world championship.
She is disappointed Anand hasn’t been able to do well in the match. “But he could make a comeback still,” she says. “He is such a great player.”