Anand-Gelfand in the media

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As we're approaching the start of the Anand-Gelfand World Championship match (the first game will be played next Friday), many media are publishing previews online or in their print edition. We give a number of links and a few quotes.

A big article about Anand-Gelfand in the Dutch newspaper NRC last Saturday

Yesterday the Indian magazine Daily News and Analysis (DNA) published a preview by Vijay Tagore. A number of Indian players give their opinion about the match. Here's a quote from the article:

Over the next three weeks, his credentials, competence and character will be come under the scanner. Does he have the wherewithal to win the title? Does he have the desire to do it again? And can he become one of the few men to become world champion five times?

Vladimir Kramnik is quoted about Anand as follows (without crediting the original source):

His main weakness is that he’s no longer so young, and now he’s also got a child. I can’t imagine he’s still going to work his socks off as before.

The article also reveals that GM Surya Shekhar Ganguly is still part of Anand's team. (And we have no reason to believe that Peter Heine Nielsen, Rustam Kasimdzhnov and Radek Wojtaszek have left the team!)

Vijay Tagore points out that Gary Kasparov (2000) and Alexander Alekhine (1935) were two overwhelming favourites that ended up on the losing side. Perhaps that's something Gelfand can draw even more motivation from...

The Indian Express nicely describes what kind of opponent Anand will be facing. The article, which discusses Gelfand's career and work ethic, starts with a famous story.

Circa 1972: Abram Gelfand, an engineer in Minsk, Soviet Belarus, got his five-year old son Boris a children’s book on chess, Journey to the Chess Kingdom. When Gelfand junior asked his father a few days later if he could read something else, Abram understandably thought chess didn’t hold much interest for the kid.

It was, of course, not so. In Gelfand’s words: “My dad couldn’t even imagine that I’d gulped down the whole book in one day and therefore wanted something new.”

Last Saturday the sports pages of the Dutch quality newspaper NRC were dominated by a big article by Dirk Jan ten Geuzendam (NIC editor and host of the English-language commentary in Moscow), and especially by a photo montage of Gelfand and Anand by Fred Lucas (see the top of this article).

Like other media, NRC mentions the (almost unbelievable) fact that the last time Anand lost to Gelfand in a classical game is 19 years ago. This doesn't mean much, said the World Champion to Ten Geuzendam:

It's nice to talk about such statistics when you don't need to play a match. Boris is a ridiculously strong player so to underestimate him is never a good idea.

Gelfand doesn't believe his underdog status is much of an advantage.

I think Vishy is taking the match very seriously. But I do believe that more people believe that I can win, than before the Candidates Matches. But even this doesn't matter. It's what you do that matters.

The Jerusalem Post focuses on the lack of a chess culture in Israel, and therefore a lack of government support. Almog Burstein, general-secretary of the Israel Chess Association, told the newspaper that

Gelfand has a team of 4 or 5 coaches that he pays for mainly out of his own pocket, using the prize winnings from former tournaments to support his training.

The German Chessbase has an article in which Dagobert Kohlmeyer interviews Gelfand and Hans-Walter Schmitt, Anand's good friend and team member. It is revealed that over the past weeks Gelfand has been training in the Swiss Alps: the small town of Waldbach, Austria. (It was known already that Anand spent his time in Germany, where he has a house.) Gelfand says that he started preparing about a year ago, 'basically from the moment it was clear I was the challenger'.

I have studied my opponent's games thoroughly and hope that I have done everything what's needed for the match.

Gelfand also mentions that his regular seconds Alexander Huzman and Maxim Rodstein will be in Moscow, but won't reveal other names yet. Hans-Walter Schmitt reveals that the Anand team will be staying in the 5-star Hotel Baltschug Kempinski. He knows where the Gelfand team will stay, but only wants to say that it is not the same hotel. :-)

We already mentioned Haaretz's preview before here. It has a lengthy interview with sponsor Andrei Filatov, a friend of Boris Gelfand. Filatov doesn’t want to play favorites when it comes to predicting the outcome of the match.

It’s 50-50. I know Boris well. He lives and breathes and dreams chess, but he’s also someone who takes an interest in other areas − like politics, art, sports.

About Anand he said:

He made an excellent impression on me. A lot of people, myself included, have the feeling that this is going to be a match of true gentlemen − great chess players, but also terrific people, which is something you don’t always see.

This article was inspired by Eric van Reem's brief overview. A member of the Anand team, Van Reem is already in Moscow and he started a blog  recommended!

May we remind you...

...that ChessVibes will be providing on-the-spot coverage of the whole match, with photos, videos and reports. We'll hop on a plane on May 9th already, one day before the opening ceremony. And... did you vote already?

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