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Gelfand Comes Out Fighting In Game 1

  • SonofPearl
  • on 5/11/12, 8:40 AM.

The first game of a big match can often be something of a quiet affair, but that was emphatically not the case today.  Boris Gelfand took the fight to champion Vishy Anand by playing the double-edged Grunfeld Defence in game one of their match for the World Chess Championship.

Anand appeared unfazed by this opening choice, which Gelfand has hardly ever played before, and chose a daring response himself with 9.d5!?  Gelfand grabbed the a2 pawn with his Queen, forcing the champion to prove he had enough compensation.

A complicated position resulted, and Anand sank deep into thought after 13...Qa5, with many commentators preferring the Israeli's position.

Anand on a sticky wicket? The champion was under pressure...

WCC Anand v Gelfand game 1 vishy anand.jpg

. the packed audience watched behind a giant glass screen...

WCC Anand v Gelfand game 1 playing hall.jpg


...and Nigel Short (right) provided entertaining commentary with host Dirk Jan ten Geuzendam

WCC Anand v Gelfand game 1 nigel short commentary.jpg



A good start and a moral victory for the challenger Boris Gelfand, who will have the white pieces for game 2 tomorrow (12 May).

All games start at 15:00 local time (11:00 UTC).  The time control is 120 minutes for the first 40 moves, then 60 minutes for the next 20 moves, and a final 15 minutes to a finish with a 30 seconds increment after move 61.

The prize fund is $2.55 million, with the winner receiving $1.53 million (60%), the loser $1.02 million (40%).

If the match is level after 12 games there will be a 4-game rapid match tie-break at 25 minutes per game plus 10 second increment. If scores are still level a 2-game blitz match will be played at 5 minutes plus 3 second increment.  If the deadlock is still not broken, there can be up to 5 of the these 2-game blitz matches before a sudden-death blitz game will decide the winner (5 minutes for white, 4 minutes for black, and a 3 second increment from move 61).

The full rules for the match can be found here (pdf).

The match schedule is below (times are Moscow time = UTC+4 hours):

Date Event Time Date Event Time
11-May Game  1  15:00 21-May Game  8  15:00
12-May Game  2  15:00 22-May Rest day   
13-May Rest day    23-May Game  9  15:00
14-May Game  3  15:00 24-May Game  10  15:00
15-May Game  4  15:00 25-May Rest day   
16-May Rest day    26-May Game  11  15:00
17-May Game  5  15:00 27-May Rest day   
18-May Game  6  15:00 28-May Game  12  15:00
19-May Rest day    29-May Rest day   
20-May Game  7  15:00 30-May Tie break  12:00


The official match website has video commentary in Russian and English.  The English language host is  Dirk Jan ten Geuzendam, who will be joined by Nigel Short (on 11–12 May), Jan Timman (14–15 May), Joel Lautier (17 May), Peter Svidler (18, 23–24 and 28 May), Peter Leko (20–21 May), and Vladimir Kramnik (26 May).

Screenshots taken from the official coverage, which is available for replay at the match website.

7889 reads 48 comments
5 votes


  • 3 years ago


    @ Athensgary - many thanks, that's interesting. I'll try to remember to use Gruenfeld from now on. Smile

  • 3 years ago


    Hi Sonof Pearl.

    Firstly thanks for all your excellent articles- much appreciated. Re Grunfeld/Gruenfeld- in German, words which have the German "umlaut" over a letter also have an alternative spelling, inserting the "e" after what should be the accented letter, so if you can't get the symbol or are too lazy to find as you say, then Gruenfeld is the alternative correct German spelling to Grűnfeld.


  • 3 years ago


    It's going to be a tight match,though, I think Vishy would come out victorious.

  • 3 years ago


    @norman46...yes go Boris..bakit naman kaliwali? kachara ba? hahaha

  • 3 years ago


    boris will be a new world champion... anand kaliwali...

  • 3 years ago


    I'm comfortable with the Grunfeld spelling but still I feel that tightly-knit journalism would include the proper spelling of SonofPurl.

  • 3 years ago


    so-called gms, not my cup of tea, just normal, recite manuals, play dreary 

    building blocks. boooooooo~~~~~

  • 3 years ago


    It is amazing -- and a testament to both players' strength and preparation -- that of all 24 moves played, in only a couple of occasions did any one of the two players stray from the strongest computer's best suggestion.  Even then, the difference was quite miniscule to not make a difference in tipping the balance.

    In other words, they could have each played this same game against Houdini, and reached practically the same final position and the same result.

    How many of us here would even guess 50% of Houdini's suggestions! Wink

  • 3 years ago


    @ Destroyer8 - it was named after Ernst Grünfeld, so in English it's usually spelt Grunfeld Defence AFAIK.  I'm usually too lazy to look up the special character to create the ü  ! Wink  I've sometimes seen "Gruenfeld" as well.

  • 3 years ago


    I don,t think Gelfand will feel so much of the pressure just yet as someone mentioned here as he did play black pieces and got a draw on game 1, its probably a good start :)

  • 3 years ago


    This was a great game. It seems that Anand forgot his preparation at the beginning to me. I thought that Gelfand was slighty ahead but in no way in control. A draw was a fair result. It was a sharp open game, with lots of complications...looking forward to tomorrow...

  • 3 years ago


    Reading some of the comments here you wonder if the writer has a brain in his head, like this one-

     I think Israelbpayed for Gelfand's candidate victories.

    What is wrong with you people?

  • 3 years ago


    Anand will win. He is a talented, mature champion who trained with the likes of Kasparov and Karpov.

  • 3 years ago


    awesome game, great writing!!!!!But didnt you spell Grunfield wrong???My version of spelling is also probably incorrect. 

  • 3 years ago


    It is good so far. Exciting !

  • 3 years ago


    Nice game!

  • 3 years ago


    Loved the live english commentary by Short (and later Karjakin). Looked unassisted by computers and was entertaining and insightful.

    It's both disturbing and hilarious to watch the comments on lives sites following the game. It must be so much fun condemning individual moves or the game with a 3200 elo program on hand to spoon feed the best options.

    Similarly, it's never been easier to look like an idiot by talking down the protagonists from the sidelines.

  • 3 years ago


    Anand. Mr. Draw. How boring.

  • 3 years ago


    If Anand draws every single game he remains the champion, which is probably what will happen. 

  • 3 years ago


    anand  is going to win next game im sure

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