Gelfand-Anand G9, a Nimzo-Indian, drawn after 49 moves (VIDEO)

| 0 | Chess Event Coverage

The 9th game between Boris Gelfand and Vishy Anand, the longest encounter in the match so far, ended in a draw after 49 moves. For the first time in this World Championship match a Nimzo-Indian opening came on the board. With White Gelfand got a slight edge with the bishop pair and hanging central pawns against two knights and a healthy structure for Anand. At some point the challenger went for a concrete continuation which got him the opponent's queen in exchange for a rook, knight and pawn. Anand then defended accurately and demonstrated that Black has a fortress.

It's still equal in Moscow with three games to play | Photo Anastasia Karlovich

Event World 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

Gelfand vs Anand: a Nimzo-Indian this time

After yet another draw, but this time a fighting one, the match score is still even: 4.5-4.5. It's funny to see this 9th match game being described in other reports as a "marathon battle" – apparently we've gotten used to short games so much, that a game which passes the first time control is considered that long! In fact the number of moves was 49, and in clock time it was almost five hours. Once upon a time this was the average length of a chess game, wasn't it?

In any case, it was a good game, certainly from an entertainment perspective. GM Ilya Smirin, host at the Russian language commentary on the official website every day, in fact didn't like the level of play so much. He went on to say that the players haven't been showing their top form in Moscow. Smirin was interviewed by us for today's video.

In this game Anand played the Nimzo – some journalists had already predicted that Anand wouldn't play the Semi-Slav/Chebanenko anymore, after having lost with it in his last black game. His team has probably solved the issues from that encounter already, but it's the general feeling, the memories of a loss, that prevail in such situations. After the first match game in Sofia, Anand wouldn't repeat his Grünfeld against Topalov until game 10.

Strangely enough, in quite a famous IQP (Isolated Queen's Pawn) position the World Champion started mixing up variations and middlegame plans basically right after the opening. Without much effort Gelfand got a very nice advantage, which he should have built up with one or two quiet moves, since Black, on his turn, was lacking useful moves already.

But instead Gelfand opted for a forced sequence which won the opponent's queen in return for a rook, knight and pawn. The Israeli felt he could be playing for "two weaknesses", while the Indian expected to be able to find a fortress. And he did. After 49 moves the World Champion offered a draw, and the challenger accepted reluctantly.

On Thursday game 10 will be played and after that two more classical games are scheduled for Saturday and Monday. If the score is 6-6, a rapid/blitz tiebreak will decide matters on Wednesday next week.

[Event "WCh 2012"]
[Site "Moscow RUS"]
[Date "2012.05.23"]
[Round "9"]
[White "Gelfand, B."]
[Black "Anand, V."]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "E54"]
[WhiteElo "2739"]
[BlackElo "2799"]
[Annotator "Doe,John"]
[PlyCount "98"]
[EventDate "2012.05.11"]

1. d4 Nf6 {No Semi-Slav/Chebanenko this time...} 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 {...but
the Nimzo-Indian.} 4. e3 {Rubinstein's variation.} O-O 5. Bd3 d5 6. Nf3 c5 7.
O-O dxc4 8. Bxc4 cxd4 9. exd4 b6 {Quite a famous IQP position.} 10. Bg5 Bb7 11.
Qe2 Nbd7 12. Rac1 Rc8 13. Bd3 ({Two famous games went} 13. Ne5 h6 14. Nxd7 (14.
Bf4 Nxe5 15. Bxe5 Qe7 16. Ba6 Bxa6 17. Qxa6 Bxc3 18. bxc3 Nd5 19. c4 Nb4 20.
Qa3 f6 21. Bg3 {1/2-1/2 Keres,P (2600) -Karpov,A (2630)/San Antonio 1972})
14... Qxd7 15. Bxf6 gxf6 16. Rfd1 Qc6 17. Qg4+ Kh7 18. Nd5 f5 19. Nf6+ Kh8 20.
Qh3 Kg7 21. Nh5+ Kh8 22. Qg3 Rg8 23. Qe5+ f6 24. Qxf6+ Kh7 25. d5 Qe8 26. Nf4
Bd6 27. dxe6 Rf8 28. Qh4 Qc6 29. Bf1 Qxc1 30. Rxd6 {1-0 Taimanov,M (2500)
-Browne,W (2555)/Wijk aan Zee 1981}) 13... Bxc3 14. bxc3 Qc7 15. c4 Bxf3 {A
strange and unnecessary exchange in this position, according to Peter Svidler.}
16. Qxf3 Rfe8 $146 {Preparing 17...e5.} (16... e5 17. Bf5 Rce8 {Pulkkinen,K
(2263)-Parkkinen,J (2165)/Finland 2012 and now} 18. c5 $1 {is very good for
White.}) 17. Rfd1 h6 18. Bh4 {Anand clearly "messed up" something, in his own
words, because White is just better here with the bishop pair and a mobile
pawn centre. Peter Svidler felt it was hard to come up with a good move for
Black.} Qd6 $5 {Provoking White's next move - an excellent practical decision.}
19. c5 $6 {The most concrete continuation, which was criticised by several
grandmasters in the press room.} (19. a3 {(Smirin) or}) (19. h3 {(Grischuk/
Shipov) were probably better.}) 19... bxc5 20. dxc5 Rxc5 $1 {This is what
Anand had planned when playing 18...Qd6.} 21. Bh7+ Kxh7 22. Rxd6 Rxc1+ 23. Rd1
Rec8 {Gelfand felt that he could play on two weakness - the a7 pawn and an
attack on the kingside - but in the end Anand's evaluation proved the right
one.} 24. h3 Ne5 25. Qe2 Ng6 26. Bxf6 gxf6 27. Rxc1 Rxc1+ 28. Kh2 {Since Black
cannot get a setup with his pawn on a5 and the rook on the fifth rank, he
needs to work for the draw.} Rc7 29. Qb2 Kg7 30. a4 Ne7 31. a5 Nd5 32. a6 Kh7
33. Qd4 ({"It still seems to me that the harshest test is} 33. g4 {followed by,
for example,} Kg7 34. Qd4 Kh7 35. f4 Kg7 36. Kg3 Kh7 37. Kh4 Kg7 38. f5 Rd7 39.
fxe6 fxe6 40. Qd2 {with the threat of Kh4-h5. But Black does have the defense}
Kg6 {Still, the position looks extremely troublesome for Black. Extremely!"
(Shipov)}) 33... f5 34. f4 Rd7 35. Kg3 ({After} 35. g4 {Anand was planning} Kg6
36. Kg3 fxg4 37. hxg4 f5 {followed by 38...Nf6.}) 35... Kg6 36. Qh8 Nf6 37. Qb8
h5 38. Kh4 Kh6 39. Qb2 Kg6 40. Qc3 Ne4 $1 {An excellent move just before the
time control. (It was in fact the first game in the whole match that passed
the time control.)} 41. Qc8 ({An important idea was} 41. Qf3 Rd8 {and the
h-pawn is poisoned:} 42. Qxh5+ $2 Kg7 $19) 41... Nf6 42. Qb8 Re7 43. g4 hxg4
44. hxg4 fxg4 45. Qe5 Ng8 46. Qg5+ Kh7 47. Qxg4 f6 48. Qg2 Kh8 49. Qe4 Kg7

Match score



Peter Doggers

Peter Doggers joined a chess club a month before turning 15 and still plays for it. He used to be an active tournament player and holds two IM norms.

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