Anand-Gelfand G5, a Sveshnikov Sicilian, drawn after 27 moves (VIDEO)

| 0 | Chess Event Coverage

While Evgeny Sveshnikov attended the World Championship match in Moscow for the first time, Vishy Anand and Boris Gelfand played "his" opening today. For the first time in this match the World Champion played 1.e4, and the challenger chose the defence that has three names: Sveshnikov, Pelikan or Chelyabinsk. Black equalized comfortably and a draw was agreed on move 27. The score is 2.5-2.5 with seven more games to play.

EventWorld Championship MatchPGN via TWIC
DatesMay 11th-30th, 2012
LocationMoscow, Russia

Viswanathan Anand & Boris Gelfand

Rate of play120 minutes for 40 moves, then 60 minutes for 20 moves and then 15 minutes to finish the game with 30 seconds increment from move 61
Prize fund2.55 million US $ (60% for the winner)
More informationRead all info here
VideosChessVibes on YouTube

There was some excitement at the start of game 5 in Moscow today, but unfortunately it was short-lived. Unlike in his previous white games, Vishy Anand didn't play 1.d4 but instead chose 1.e4. Boris Gelfand was of course prepared for this ("It's not the most rare move. If you prepare for a World Championship match, you have to be ready for 1.e4," he said afterwards) and only briefly reacted by looking up to the ceiling for half a second, and then firmly responded with 1...c5, the Sicilian.

But which Sicilian would it be? After Anand developed his king's knight, Gelfand did not push his queen's pawn one square, which would normally lead to the Najdorf variation, but instead he put his queen's knight to c6. A few moments later it became clear which surprise weapon the Israeli had cooked up against 1.e4: the Sveshnikov.

Gelfand plays 5...e5 - the Sveshnikov/Pelikan/Chelyabinsk Sicilian

This opening had been played only once before in a World Championship match, in 1910 by Emanuel Lasker against Karl Schlechter (who played the dubious 6.Nb3). It was expected to come on the board in the match between Peter Leko and Vladimir Kramnik in 2004, but it didn't happen.

A wonderful coincidence was that exactly today, Evgeny Sveshnikov himself, the legendary Latvian grandmaster who started playing this system as early as in 1963, attended the match. He entered the press room about 20 minutes into the game, and spoke with many journalists who wanted to know his opinion about the opening. We were one of the first to speak to Sveshnikov, and so you'll see him in the video below (together with GM Alexander Grischuk, who also came to the Tretyakov for the first time and gave commentary for the official website).

Unfortunately that was about all the excitement there was, because also this game quickly petered out to a draw. It became clear even more how well prepared Gelfand is, and today Grischuk praised Gelfand's choice of going for something new or almost new against both 1.d4 and 1.e4. (Gelfand only played the Sveshnikov a few times in his long career, and the last time in a serious game was in 2003.)

Anand played what is currently considered as White's best attempt to get an advantage: 11.c4, where 11.c3 used to be the main line. From the speed with which Gelfand was playing we can conclude that he knew exactly what he was doing. Just after the opening he already neutralized white's first move advantage, and at move 27 Anand offered a draw. To the question whether this had been Gelfand's easiest game, he answered: "Probably, yes."

The two players just before the start of the game 5 press conference

So far the games haven't provided much entertainment, and perhaps as a result of that the players haven't been able to provide very interesting quotes at the press conferences. Today they were asked about the fact that they both have a one year old son at home. Anand:

You can't prepare 24 hours anyway and I think playing with your son is a very enjoyable way to relax a little bit, I mean it certainly brought me a lot of joy. To be fair, I'd have to admit that my wife helped me a lot.

Gelfand said that he didn't see his children much in the past six months, but that he hopes to "make it up this summer".


[Event "WCh 2012"]
[Site "Moscow RUS"]
[Date "2012.05.17"]
[Round "5"]
[White "Anand, V."]
[Black "Gelfand, B."]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "B33"]
[WhiteElo "2799"]
[BlackElo "2739"]
[Annotator "Doe,John"]
[PlyCount "53"]
[EventDate "2012.05.11"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 e5 6. Ndb5 d6 7. Bg5 a6 8.
Na3 b5 9. Nd5 Be7 10. Bxf6 Bxf6 11. c4 b4 12. Nc2 O-O 13. g3 (13. Ncxb4 Nxb4
14. Nxb4 Qb6 15. Nd5 $146 (15. Nd3 $6 Qd4 $17) 15... Qxb2 16. Bd3 Bd8 17. O-O
Be6 18. Qb3 Qxb3 19. axb3 Rb8 20. Rfb1 Bxd5 21. cxd5 a5 $11 {Anand,V (2798)
-Radjabov,T (2744)/Bilbao 2008}) 13... a5 14. Bg2 Bg5 15. O-O Be6 16. Qd3 Bxd5
17. cxd5 Nb8 18. a3 {Novelty.} (18. h4 Be7 19. a3 bxa3 20. Rxa3 Nd7 21. Rfa1
Nc5 22. Qc4 Rb8 23. b4 axb4 24. Nxb4 Qb6 25. Nc6 Rb7 26. Qc3 {Jakubowski,K
(2502)-Bobras,P (2554)/Czechia 2009}) 18... Na6 19. axb4 Nxb4 20. Nxb4 axb4 21.
h4 Bh6 22. Bh3 ({At the press conference Anand said that he was also looking at
} 22. Qc4 {but then he saw} Rc8 23. Qxb4 Rb8 {and White's initiative quickly
vanishes.}) 22... Qb6 23. Bd7 ({At the press conference Alexander Grischuk
suggested} 23. Qc4 {and Gelfand started to mention the moves} b3 24. Qc6 Rab8
25. Rfd1 Rfd8 26. Kg2 g6 27. Ra6 Qb7 {but Grischuk wasn't convinced that Black
had equality here.}) 23... b3 $1 {After this there's no play left.} 24. Bc6 Ra2
{The idea - both b-pawns will be gone soon.} 25. Rxa2 bxa2 26. Qa3 Rb8 27. Qxa2

Match score



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