His return to India on hold due to travel restrictions forced by the COVID-19 pandemic, India’s five-time world champion chess icon Viswanathan Anand will complete his maiden commentary assignment while being in self-isolation in Germany.

The 50-year-old wizard was to return to Chennai on Monday after competing in the Bundesliga Chess League but had to stay back near Frankfurt given the travel restrictions, his wife Aruna said.

Anand, who is set to don the commentator’s hat for the FIDE Candidates tournament that begins in Yekaterinburg, Russia to spot the challenger to world champion Magnus Carlsen, will handle the role from his present location. The event starts on Tuesday.

“He will be commentating for the Candidates tournament for a website. Guess it will also keep him busy,” Aruna told PTI .

The Indian was playing for OSG Baden-Baden in the Bundesliga Chess League. ”...we will have to wait and watch about his return plans,” Aruna said.

“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,” she added.

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Aruna said Anand is practising social distancing given as a precautionary measure.

“He has opted for social distancing as a precautionary measure due to the coronavirus scare,” Aruna said.

She said though these are exceptional circumstances, Anand has stayed in touch and speaks to her and their son Akhil regularly.

“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,” she quipped.

“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,” she added.

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.