Viswanathan Anand is stuck in Germany after travel restrictions were imposed in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
Viswanathan Anand, the five-time world chess champion, was expected to return to Chennai after completing his stint in the Bundesliga chess league in Frankfurt. However, the coronavirus pandemic has forced Viswanathan Anand to stay back in Germany due to the travel restrictions imposed in the wake of the virus. Viswanathan Anand will now do commentary duties for the Candidates Chess Championship that will take place in Yekaterinburg in Russia. The Candidates tournament will decide who will face reigning champion Magnus Carlsen in the world championship. The tournament will begin on Tuesday. There were question marks on whether the tournament will be held in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Teimour Radjabov, the winner of the Chess World Cup in 2019, had withdrawn from the tournament for personal reasons but many believed it was due to the coronavirus pandemic. In his place, French Grandmaster Maxime Vachier-Lagrave will take his place. Anand will handle commentary roles from his present location and according to his wife Aruna, he will also practice social distancing as a precautionary measure due to the coronavirus.
Speaking to PTI, Aruna said, "He will be commentating for the Candidates tournament for a website. Guess it will also keep him busy. He is near Frankfurt. With all the travel restrictions and advisories, we will have to wait and watch with regards to his return plans. The situation is very fluid. He has opted for social distancing as a precautionary measure due to the coronavirus scare," Aruna said.
Viswanathan Anand will be on commentary duties for the 2020 Candidates tournament in Russia. (Image credit: Getty Images)
Anand, though, will be in regular touch as the coronavirus pandemic has brought international sports to grinding halt with events either cancelled or postponed for the next fortnight. The deadly outbreak, which began in Chinese city of Wuhan, has led to over 6,000 deaths globally. Aruna said this was an exceptional situation. "It is an exceptional situation. But we are in constant touch thanks to technology. We stay in touch over phone and video calls. It is a virtual holiday. As for Akhil, chatting to his father over phone and video calls ensures that he doesn't miss him. With schools closing from today, Akhil will have a lot more free time and more opportunity to keep in touch with Vishy," Aruna said.
The coronavirus scare has cast it's shadow of gloom even in Australian cricket. After the Australia vs New Zealand series was postponed in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the Sheffield Shield, Australia's premier first-class competition is also under the scanner. Cricket Australia announced the cancellation of the final round of the competition due to the rising threat of the coronavirus pandemic. In Europe, the Premier League, Serie A, Bundesliga and the La Liga have been postponed.
The NBA, Augusta Masters, NFL, MLS and MLB have also been postponed for close to a month. All major Olympic qualifying events have also been postponed or cancelled. Cricket is no exception in the wake of the Coronavirus Pandemic. The Indian Premier League, all India domestic matches have all been postponed. England vs Sri Lanka and Australia vs New Zealand were also postponed. In addition, Australia and New Zealand's domestic fixtures have been suspended.
Serie A doctors have issued a joint warning advising against a return to club training after four more players tested positive for coronavirus, bringing the tally in the Italian top flight to 11. Fiorentina's Patrick Cutrone and German Pezzella contracted the coronavirus, the Tuscan club said on Saturday, with Sampdoria's Fabio Depaoli and Bartosz Bereszynski later confirming they had also been diagnosed.
Serie A doctors said they had "strong concerns" and "unanimously advise not to resume training until a clear improvement" in the situation. Four Fiorentina team members were diagnosed with Serbia forward Dusan Vlahovic also testing positive on Friday, along with a club physiotherapist.