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Updated: May 29, 2012 02:56 IST

Anand and Gelfand head to the tie-breakers

Ian Rogers
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An intense Boris Gelfand sizes up
Viswanathan Anand during their last regulation
game in the world championship match in Moscow
on Monday.
AFP An intense Boris Gelfand sizes up Viswanathan Anand during their last regulation game in the world championship match in Moscow on Monday.

Viswanathan Anand's world title now hangs on a series of rapid chess games after he and challenger Boris Gelfand finished tied at 6-6 at the end of regulation time in their world chess championship contest here on Monday.

In the critical twelfth game, Anand shocked the spectators by offering a draw to Gelfand in a position where Gelfand had no winning chances and needed to make 18 moves in 16 minutes to avoid a time forfeit. Gelfand accepted immediately, ending the game after 22 moves and just under 3 hours play.

Some observers in Moscow's Tretyakov Gallery viewed Anand's offer as an act of sportsmanship — not attempting to win a game purely on the clock — while Anand's old world championship rival Vladimir Kramnik was less generous, saying “This is a clear sign that Vishy is lacking self-confidence.”

Simple realism

At the packed press conference after the game, Anand explained that his offer was simple realism; “To play for a win, you need some pieces left. Boris's position was very easy to play, so I didn't see any point in playing on. Here we have only drawn when the game is going nowhere.”

Earlier, Anand, playing with the white pieces, had looked to be getting on top early with an eighth move pawn sacrifice described by Gelfand as “brilliant”.

On his tenth move, Gelfand thought for 37 minutes before deciding to return his extra pawn and soon sacrifice one of his own.

Instead of retreating to a room behind the stage, Anand stayed at the board to gain extra calculation time and put extra pressure on Gelfand.

“Boris reacted well,” said Anand “[His tenth move] showed that he was very alert. After I win the pawn, Black is always going to have compensation.”

The two players reached a complicated endgame where pundits had violently opposed views on who might hold the advantage, with Kramnik going so far as to say that “Anand's decision to take the pawn is hard to explain; a sign that Vishy is out of shape or that tiredness has started to play its role.”

Anand's main hope lay in Gelfand's time shortage but a series of accurate moves by the Israeli challenger convinced Anand that a draw was inevitable, meaning that the two players will have to return on Wednesday for series of up to 15 tie-breaking games.

No opinion

Neither player was willing to give an opinion as to who is favoured in the rapid time limit tie-breakers.

Anand has an outstanding record over his career at rapid chess but has lost two important world championship rapid tie-breakers — the playoff for the FIDE world title against Anatoly Karpov in Lausanne in 1998 and a Candidates semifinal match against Gata Kamsky in Sanghi Nagar in 1994.

Just play my best chess

“Boris and I have played each other in rapid,” said Anand, “I am not sure about the exact score. I don't know if it is possible to train for these things, but it is certainly an abrupt shift in the tempo of the match. I will just play my best chess. Tthat's all I can do.”

Gelfand, who came through one rapid tie-breaker against Kamsky on his way to qualifying to challenge Anand, was also unwilling to make predictions. “I am here to play chess. It is up to others to assess the chances.”

The tie-breakers, starting with four games of 25 minutes per player per game plus a 10 second increment per move, will be played on Wednesday from 1.30 p.m. IST.

Ian Rogers is an Australian Grandmaster


Tense tie-break to decide world championMay 29, 2012

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Any game of Chess between grandmasters needs to looked from intellectual viewpoint, before making any silly, non-sensical inferences about the game's no. of moves or any such thing.

I echo Yusuf Hayath's comment about the way The Hindu has covered the games.

from:  Palaniappan N
Posted on: May 29, 2012 at 17:39 IST

Thank you Anand, in this mad mad world of IPL Cricket, your games and achievements show some sanity. I wish you all the best in the forthcoming rapid chess to retain the title.

from:  Sridharan
Posted on: May 29, 2012 at 13:59 IST

Sometimes when I observe that a chess game ends in a draw after just 20 moves, I wonder whether match fixing has invaded chess too.

from:  Kaleeeswaran Perumal
Posted on: May 29, 2012 at 13:11 IST

I completely agree with you Mr. Hayath. In a Cricket-crazy nation like
India, success of players representing all other sports often goes
unheralded and is unduly appreciated. Ignorance about these players runs
so deep that our government does not feel any qualms to question Mr.
Anand's nationality as it did a year ago. However, that does not in any
way belittle his achievements. Let all our prayers be with this true
genius. I believe he will be able to retain his title.

from:  Mukul Dutta
Posted on: May 29, 2012 at 12:51 IST

A Big Thank you to 'The Hindu' for providing such a great coverage of this Chess World Championship. While no other newspaper or TV channel seems interested in doing so, it is nice to see 'The Hindu' give equal importance to all sports.

from:  Roshan
Posted on: May 29, 2012 at 11:37 IST

It is customery for The Hindu to publish entire game with final position diagram. But when IPL is running, The Hindu is not giving priority to Chess which is not good for other sports.

from:  M.Arivalagan
Posted on: May 29, 2012 at 11:10 IST

Pray God more vigorously!you are winning definitely, Mr.Anand.

from:  P.K.Rajendhran
Posted on: May 29, 2012 at 10:44 IST

Vishy is a true champion.He will produce his best at the right moment. All the best Vishy

from:  Mathew Joseph
Posted on: May 29, 2012 at 10:21 IST

This summer many sports-persons and team names were in the news like
Federer, Djokovic, Nadal, Sharapova, CSK, KKR and Manvinder Bisla.
Apparently on the other hand we had a nerve wrecking 12-games draw
between Anand and Gelfand. Thanks to "The Hindu" which has covered all
the 12-games widely and aptly, while TV media/channels mainly focused on
commercial sport. I wish the champ(Anand) with Good Luck for the
upcoming tie-breakers. Let us hope India gets back/defend her title.

from:  Yusuf Hayath
Posted on: May 29, 2012 at 10:09 IST

Very good news.

from:  Pronabesh
Posted on: May 29, 2012 at 01:04 IST

Very poor quality of chess in the World Championship. Games 7 and 8
that produced results were good, so were Games 3 and 9 were Anand and
Gelfand respectively had a small advantage. But the rest were so
defensive that it was sad watching the games. Anand-Topalov in 2010 was
much better.

One hopes that four years later, the WCC will be between Carlsen and

from:  James Gurung
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 23:59 IST

In a Cricket crazy nation like India, success of players in other
fields often goes unheralded. While Anand fights for World
Championship, it is IPL that keeps people talking. There is nothing
wrong. Cricket is widely broadcast and wildly promoted. But what pains
me the most is to see our government pay insufficient attention to all
other sports and sporting personalities. They don't get adequate money
allotted for their training and equipment, nor are their achievements
properly acknowledged. The apathy and ignorance of our politicians and
bureaucrats shocked the nation when they wondered whether Mr.
Viswanathan Anand was Indian? However, that does not in anyway
belittle what this Chess-legend achieved. I wish him all the very best
and hope he will defend his World Champion title.

from:  Mukul Dutta
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 21:33 IST

I hope Anand will retain the championship as is better player in rapid chess than Boris Gelfand.We pray for his success.

from:  CA Satish Shetty
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 21:19 IST

Come on Vishwanath!!

We know you can do it for yourself, your family and India.

Take the rapid chess series 4-0!!!!

from:  Leen
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 21:06 IST
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