01 June: The final act
As promised in an earlier post, I will give you an pictorial overview of a very busy last working day in Moscow for Anand and his team.
But first: breakfast in our separate room, that we reserved for four weeks in the Baltschug Kempinski hotel. Sometimes we had to kick out some German tourists, though.
Tea with Putin
After breakfast, Vishy and Boris were invited for a cup of tea with the President of Russia, Vladmir Vladimirovich Putin in Novo-Ogaryovo, which is an estate in the Odintsovo District of Moscow Oblast to the west of the city and a suburban official residence of the President. You can see pictures of the meeting here: http://visualrian.ru/en/site/feature/158465/ and also on the official website of the Kremlin with a short transcript of the meeting: http://eng.kremlin.ru/news/3938. If you would like to see a short video of the tea party (in Russian), go here: http://www.1tv.ru/news/sport/208542.
While Vishy enjoyed having tea with Putin, his seconds had to clean up the mess in the workroom.
Clean your table after meal…and work.
The work is done! The Anand seconds Peter Heine Nielsen, Rustam Kasimdhzanov, Radek Wojtaszek and Surya Sekhar Ganguly went to the closing ceremony after cleaning the room, waiting for Anand, who got stuck in Moscow traffic on his way to the Tretyakov Gallery.
The photographers were also waiting for the players to come. You might recognize Anastasia Karlovic (left) and next to her we spot Dirk “Poldi” Poldauf, editor of the German Chess magazine “Schach“.
I had a seat behind Maya and Boris Gelfand in the second row. “How was the tea and the traffic, Boris?”
You can watch all the action of the closing ceremony on the official website of the match, which also provides an excellent video. You can also see an photo report on the site. http://moscow2012.fide.com/
Vishy had to weather some critical moments during the closing ceremony. He has been to the gym in the hotel quite often, but can he stem this 8 kg trophy alone? Irina Lebedeva, director-general of the Tretyakov Gallery, wants to help the world champion. Come on, Vishy!
Yes, he can! Kirsan is relieved.
Vishy and Boris also had to stamp and sign first-day envelopes issued by the Ministry of Communications in honour of the match. 500.000 copies will be sold in Russia and will be available soon.
And they look like this.
Only an handful of envelopes were framed, for the players and special guests. A collectors item!
After the final press conference, “Team Anand”,speeded back to the hotel, dropped the trophies and flowers in the room and off we went to the next item on the agenda:
One day earlier, the Ambassador of India for Russia, Ajai Malhotra, invited the Anand team for dinner in the Embassy of India. But did he mention a felicitation as well?
More than 250 enthusiastic Indians came to the felicitation of the world champion and Vishy was really touched by the support of his fellow countrymen, who all wanted to have an autograph.
This picture is courtesy of the Indian Embassy in Russia, http://www.indianembassy.ru/.
Vishy, Aruna, Surya, Hans-Walter and yours truly with the Ambassador and his wife Ira and Nina Khrushcheva, the great-granddaughter of former Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev. What a wonderful evening, what a wonderful meal we had, what a wonderful way to end our stay in Moscow!
After a final glance at the Red Square from the hotel room at 06:00 AM…
…it was about time to go home. Bye bye Moscow!