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Superb Gelfand Frustrates Anand

  • SonofPearl
  • on 5/17/12, 11:23 AM.

Vishy Anand had his third game with the white pieces today, and for the third time he failed to breach the defences of his Israeli challenger.

The game started promisingly when Anand switched to 1.e4 and instead of responding with his usual solid Petroff defence, Gelfand chose the Sveshnikov Sicilian.

Gelfand had taken the champion by surprise with his opening preparation, and continued rattling off moves quickly in the complex position while Anand had to be more circumspect.

After 27 moves the result was not in doubt, and the players agreed a draw. Vishy Anand now faces two games in a row with the black pieces.  This would be the perfect opportunity for the challenger to strike.

The longer the match goes without a decisive game, the more the tension rises, as the first player to break the deadlock will be in a very strong position to take the title.


Name  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Pts
Vishy Anand ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ . . . . . . .
Boris Gelfand ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ . . . . . . .


Gelfand and Anand shake hands at the start of the game...
WCC Anand v Gelfand game 5 handshake.jpg


...while Joel Lautier (right) takes his turn in the commentary room...

WCC Anand v Gelfand game 5 joel lautier commentary.jpg


...and we see the first 1.e4 of the match...and a Sicilian!

WCC Anand v Gelfand game 5  board.jpg


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.

Computer analysis from the official website.

6439 reads 36 comments
2 votes


  • 2 years ago


    @Nestman. These guys are far from their peak and just playing poker strategy, quick draw with black (specially Gelfand) to save energy and try to find a slight edge with black without taking any risk. This will finish +1,0,11. The same strategy that that Grischuk used in Kazan to reach the finals. Anand also hopes that with superior physical preparation he will win at the end. But 12 games are not 24 and I believe Gelfand will hold.

    What bothers me is titled players selling the goods "this is advance chess, very sophisticated, difficult to understand for non legits..." You can't mislead people all the time. The truth is that yes, they are playing advance chess, because each of them has a bunch of GMs assisting, spending the day with Houdini at 30 plies trying to find a small gap in theory. With a bit of memory, opening knowledge and good technique, the draw is secured. Having this resources, even Kasparov and Karpov at their actual age, could produce a similar outcome if they faced the match with this lack of spirit.

  • 2 years ago


    Really @Elarce, at that level, it doesn't matter much. You and I amateurs won't be able to understand the subtle differences anyway...provided that Carlsen and Aronian really are stronger than the current two. Ratings can  be misleading. If you define a lot of wins and losses as exciting, you're missing the point. Even if Carlsen and Aronian come together, I believe they will also tread carefully at such a significant event.

  • 2 years ago


    Glefand will lose atleast 2 of the next 3 matches

  • 2 years ago


    By now, neither Anand nor Gelfand are the best players in the world. It would be more interesting a match between Aronian and Carlsen.

  • 2 years ago


    Gelfand isn't being outplayed at all.  His years at the top, playing Kasparov and Karpov and Ivanchuk and Anand and Kramnik and Topalov in event after event, gives him the strength not to be awed by the Champion.  And he knows this is his one and only chance at the title.

    The draws to begin a short match in effect make it an even shorter match now - just seven games at classical chess; the first player to win a game will have a huge advantage, and Gelfand has White in 4/7 now.  He needs to do it in the classical phase, even though he won tiebreaks in the Candidates' matches, because Anand is stronger at faster time controls.

  • 2 years ago


    We will have to see Anand "secrets ways" after the 12 games...:).. As one might have guess something from his mind in the game of vs Topalov..;)

  • 2 years ago


    Captain ANAND is in a violent chess storm, the waves are 50 feet high above his ships bow. His ship, "Chess King" is slowly moving in the raging gust, his  chess crew has lost all hope of making it out of this one alive. It's pitch black on the high seas. The "Chess King" Captain ANAND, has been here before and understands the dangers of going to the bottom. Yet, he's seen sunlight after such dark and gloomy storms. He thus orders his chess crew to maintain their composure, and shouts "full steam ahead!" Come hell or high waters, Captain ANAND is determined to save the "Chess King" and its crew. Surprised 

  • 2 years ago


    I agree with Natalia - these games have been very tense, with no early draws (move 8 in Candidates tournament?) and some interesting positions, and the play from both sides has been superb.  I'm guessing we will see some sharper novelties in the coming games, but to me, the possibility to prepare so deeply with computers is interesting.  Maybe I'm perverse but chess is chess and I don't see how anyone can fault either player.

  • 2 years ago


    Well, they are many types of sicilian and they played a drawish mainline of the Sveshnikov. Now with computers is easier to find drawing lines if you don't want to fight. Specially when you are playing a single opponent.

    I am not an expert, but many who are (including GMs) think that these type of matches are killing chess. If you compare the actual with Fischer-Spassky or the Karpov-Kasparov matches, it looks like chess is going backwards in its capacity to attract the audience.

    I would endorse the US Championship to follow for those who still believe that classical chess can be an exciting game. And forget this Anand-Gelfand match for good.

  • 2 years ago


    @magikstone: i see youre are another one of those who thinks the sicilian is invincible. Anand has beaten the sicilian, and surprise some in under 15 moves. I think both players are afraid to take risks.

  • 2 years ago


    @ F22Raptor - computer evaluations can be misleading. The final position, with opposite bishops, offered very few chances for Anand.  Gelfand had this plan all worked out in his preparation and drew against the champion with black with ease. 

    Game 3 had dynamic chances for both sides, and Anand probably missed a win.

  • 2 years ago


    I chose Gelfand to win this match. He's a hard player to beat. He likes to grind his opponent to more than a hundred moves. He's the master of rigorous moves in chess.

  • 2 years ago


    I am predicting we will see a win within the next 2 games...:)

  • 2 years ago


    I do not think Gelfand frustrates Anand. Anand may just wait it out to get to the rapid match tie break, where he is clearly superior. But I think Gelfand will slip before that...

  • 2 years ago


    I said many times, as far back as last year when Gelfand qualified, that despite his rating, he would give Anand all he can handle. Many posters thought Gelfand would get crushed, but they weren't paying attention.

    Other top players like Shirov, Morozevich, Leko, and Ponomariov lost their motivation to become (in Ponomariov's case, undisputed) World Champion long ago. Shirov never recovered from the match he didn't get with Kasparov, Leko never recovered from stumbling at the finish line against Kramnik, Ponomariov was never the same after his match with Kasparov fell through, and it seems to me that becoming Champion was never that important for Morozevich. Even Topalov looks like he is in semi-retirement now, is he going to just cash checks from various clock simuls from now on?

    Among the younger players, Aronian (who is actually older than Ponomariov), Carlsen, Karjakin, Nakamura, and Radjabov either got knocked out or didn't compete for the title.

    Gelfand always kept training, hoping he would get his chances to win the title, and did not get broken, lose his motivation, or take his chances for granted like others. Even if Gelfand loses to Anand, he will be back. We are seeing the new Korchnoi.

    Now I want to mention something else. Don't be surprised if Caruana leaps ahead of the other young players and gets a World Championship match. Why? Because he doesn't seem to have other "distractions" like an Aronian, Carlsen, Nakamura, or Giri. If he can put together a good team (maybe he has done so already?), watch out. Even Karjakin and Radjabov are already married...

  • 2 years ago


    Anand can' t beat the sicilian?

  • 2 years ago


    These draws are really increasing the tension!

  • 2 years ago

    WGM Natalia_Pogonina

    Actually, I like the match so far. Great broadcasts, interesting commentary, high-quality chess with very few inaccuracies.

  • 2 years ago


    Great preparation by Mr. Gelfand...let's watch & see, very good luck and all theb best to both...

  • 2 years ago


    wouldn't have been the same sequence to follow but could still have gone that direction and if not wouldn't white have still been in a better position?

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