Anand vs. Gelfand | World Chess Championship 2012

Anand vs. Gelfand | World Chess Championship 2012

| 63 | Chess Event Coverage

The official 2012 FIDE World Chess Championship between the reigning champion Viswanathan Anand of India, and his challenger Boris Gelfand of Israel starts tomorrow (11 May) at the State Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow.

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

The official match website will have coverage and commentary in Russian and English.  The English language commentator will be Dirk Jan ten Geuzendam, editor in chief of New in Chess, 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).

All games will start at 15:00 local time (11:00 UTC) at a time control of 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.

Reigning champion Vishy Anand is 42 years old, and has been undisputed World Champion since 2007 when he won the World Championship tournament in Mexico City. Anand successfully defended his title against Vladimir Kramnik in 2008 and also against Veselin Topalov in 2010.

He first challenged for the title in 1995 when he lost to Garry Kasparov, and held the FIDE title from 2000-2002.  Anand is currently ranked #4 in the world on the latest official FIDE rating list, with a rating of 2791 Elo.

The challenger Boris Gelfand is 43 years old and currently only ranked #20 on the FIDE rating list, at 2727 Elo. He was born in Belarus and emigrated to Israel in 1998.

Gelfand has qualified before for candidates tournaments as far back as the early 1990s. But in 2009 Gelfand won the World Cup and qualified for the 2011 Candidates matches, where he beat Shakhriyar Mamedyarov in the quarter-finals, Gata Kamsky in the semi-finals, and Alexander Grischuk in the final to qualify to challenge Anand.

The match schedule (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


Anand and Gelfand testing the playing conditions for their match

The opening ceremony took place today in the State Tretyakov Gallery, marking the beginning of the 12-game match lasting three weeks.  The players drew lots and Anand will be white in the first game.  Colours alternate, but are reversed after game 6 (so Anand will play with black in game 7).

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 head-to-head stats of Anand and Gelfand are:

  • Classical Games: Anand 6 wins, Gelfand 5 wins, 24 draws
  • Rapid Games: Anand 8 wins, Gelfand 1 win, 19 draws
  • Blitz Games: Anand 3 wins, Gelfand 0 wins, 4 draws

Guests of honour during the event will include former world champions Anatoly Karpov and Garry Kasparov, the former title challenger Viktor Korchnoi, and the world’s oldest grandmaster Yuri Averbakh.

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

Details of's coverage of the match can be found here.

So who is your pick? Will Vishy Anand defend his title for the third time, or will Boris Gelfand crown his career with the ultimate accolade?

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