World Title Goes To Tie-Breaks
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The final game of the world chess championship match between Vishy Anand and his challenger Boris Gelfand has ended in a draw, so the destiny of the title will be decided by tie-break games on Wednesday.
The opening followed the same path as game 10 until Anand varied with 5.d3, following up with 6.b3. This took Gelfand by surprise, so Anand had won the home-preparation battle this time.
Anand was clearly still in his preparation when he quickly played the aggressive pawn sacrifice with 8.h4, aiming for compensation due to Gelfand's blocked light-squared bishop.
Gelfand was alert to the danger of staying passive, and after much thought returned the pawn with 10...c4 and then sacrificed a pawn of his own!
The challenger's compensation was a big centre, but Anand had the better chances to play for a win. Gelfand's time was down to 16 minutes to make 19 moves so it looked like long-suffering fans would get an exciting finish. Alas, Anand offered a draw after his 22nd move, much to the bemusement of many viewers, including Vladimir Kramnik in the commentary box (see quotes below). Gelfand immediately accepted the draw offer.
Boris Gelfand lost the home preparation battle this time
Still in preparation after 8.h4, Anand looked confident
But Gelfand's choice of 10...c4 took the champion by surprise
The draw seemed premature - not for the first time in the match
Vladimir Kramnik was in the commentary box (quotes below)
Vladimir Kramnik struggled to understand why Anand had offered a draw. He felt that the only explanation was that Anand "...couldn't stand the pressure of the last game. One of the strangest decisions I ever saw...I don't see the slightest reason for white to offer a draw. It's like watching an interesting movie and then your TV collapses! A very strange end to an interesting game".
At the press conference, Anand explained his draw offer: "Black's play is very easy. I didn't see any point in dragging it out". Gelfand's comment about short games during the match was, "We are here to play the match...we are not here to entertain spectators".
Tomorrow is another rest day, so the tie-break starts at 12:00 local time on Wednesday (08:00 UTC). There will be a 4-game rapid match tie-break at 25 minutes per game plus 10 second increment. Boris Gelfand will have the white pieces in the first game.
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 prize fund is $2.55 million, with the winner receiving $1.53 million (60%), the loser $1.02 million (40%).
The full rules for the match can be found here (pdf).
Screenshots taken from the official coverage, which is available for replay at the match website.
Computer analysis from the official website.