Media-glare has been Magnus Carlsen’s constant companion ever since he landed here on Monday evening. But he has got down to doing his thing right away. Far from the clutter that accompanies city-life, Carlsen has found calm in the serene surroundings at a hotel in the outskirts.

The 22-year-old plans to head to Hyatt Regency, the venue of his World Championship duel with holder Viswanathan Anand, on Wednesday evening. Apart from a haircut, on the agenda is a quiet dinner with his family and team.

On Tuesday, his manager, Espen Agdestein, spoke to The Hindu on Carlsen’s preparations, his love for outdoor sport, and his interests that extend beyond the 64 squares.

Excerpts:

How hectic have things been since you landed here?

It’s been very busy for me. For Magnus, it’s been quiet. He is relaxing. I am trying to take the tension away from him. He will try to sleep well, play other sports, and get ready.

Tell us about Magnus, the person.

Magnus is basically a fun guy, very social, and likes to pull pranks. He keeps track of all kinds of stuff and is very interested about sports in general. Magnus follows football, but is very interested in American basketball.

How does he prepare for such important contests?

It’s quite similar to how he prepares otherwise. He tries not to train too much, and has been very successful with his routine.

How has he been relaxing ever since he came here?

Magnus has been playing some water-sports, swimming in the ocean, and things like that. He loves outdoor sports.

Having brought his chef along, is he sticking to a specific diet?

The chef is here mainly as an advisor. Magnus likes Indian, Italian and Chinese cuisines. So, he does plan to eat Indian food here. He will cut down on sugar to keep the blood-sugar levels intact.

How has the Oman stint helped?

Magnus likes warm climate and the sun. He can’t get that in Europe at the moment. Also, he needed to stay somewhere close to India to acclimatise to the time-difference.

How crucial is his family’s presence here?

Magnus thinks it makes him feel relaxed and calm. He doesn’t do it always, though. His father accompanies him generally, but he has, on occasion, travelled with his family too.

How big a star is he in Norway?

He is a superstar. Magnus has fans in all countries, I guess. He has endorsement deals. He likes to do the fashion things (modelling) because he thinks its fun.

It helps him broaden his horizons. It’s not necessary for a chess player to play all the time. You can do other things and it’s good for your balance.

People in other sports can handle other interests. I guess chess players can do that as well.

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