When I visited the winter Olympics in February this year, the idea of coming back later this year for the World Championship match did not cross my mind, and certainly not when (non-Russian) Anand won the Candidates. In retrospect it is maybe not such a surprise that Sochi was chosen as the venue considering how the Russians consistently host international events in Sochi. Last month they staged a Formula 1 race, and towards the end of November chess will coincide with World Robot Olympiad.

It.s now two months since I signed the contract to play in Sochi at the backend of the Sinquefield Cup 2014.
Preparations for the match have progressed as planned. My team and I particularly enjoyed a week of chess, hiking, skiing and team building in the Alps in the middle of October. Back in Norway we had a media day for the two official seconds, Peter Heine Nielsen and Jon Ludvig Hammer, and more training in the posh head offices of Arctic Securities.
I arrived in Sochi Tuesday night together with manager Espen, trainer Peter Heine and my father. The chef Magnus was already in place and the doc. Brede arrived yesterday to complete the core team.
We are staying at the seaside Radisson Blu Paradise hotel in Adler. The climate is nice and we enjoyed a good game of basketball in the sun both yesterday and today.

The playing venue is scheduled to be ready tonight for the final inspection. The opening ceremony is Friday November 7th (as last year!) and Game 1 Carlsen-Anand 2014 finally starts on Saturday at 3 pm.

Magnus Carlsen, Sochi, November 6th, 2014