June 03, 2012 19:09

Anand-Gelfand: the aftermath (UPDATE)

Anand-Gelfand: the aftermath

The Anand-Gelfand World Championship match finished four days ago, but the news stream hasn't stopped yet. Vladimir Putin inviting the players at his office, Anand's arrival in India, Gelfand's return to Israel, the reactions on Twitter, Kasparov's criticism, Anand's reaction... In this article we'll mention the most important developments since Wednesday and include the most striking quotes.

Gelfand and Anand shaking hands with Vladimir Putin on Thursday morning | Photo © Presidential Press and Information Office, Kremlin

Not long after they finished their tiebreak, both Vishy Anand and Boris Gelfand were invited for a cup of tea by Russian President Vladimir Putin. The meeting took place on Thursday morning in Novo-Ogaryovo, an estate in the Odintsovo District of Moscow Oblast to the west of the city and a suburban official residence of the President. The Kremlin website provided a transcript and here's part of it:

VISWANATHAN ANAND: I’ve been coming to Moscow from the mid-1980s to practice chess and I must admit that I have benefited immensely from interacting with Russian chess players and the school of chess here. I’ve always enjoyed my visits to Russia and this time especially the organisation was superlative.

We played in a very beautiful gallery, the Tretyakov. Overall I would say I enjoyed the Russian hospitality a lot this time.

I would like to thank Mr President for taking the time to meet us. For us, this is a great honour.

VLADIMIR PUTIN: Thank you very much for your kind words about Russia. I hope that you will visit Russia and our cities many times in the future. You are the world champion, and I am sure that chess fans, and other people as well, will always enjoy any activities with your participation.

BORIS GELFAND: I grew up in Minsk and every time I came to Moscow I visited the Tretyakov Gallery, a wonderful museum, and I could not even dream that one day I will play in the world championship final in this wonderful museum and a treasury of Russian art.

Due to the busy Moscow traffic, the players almost arrived too late for the closing ceremony! We were told that Boris Gelfand spent his last night in Moscow with his wife and his team. The Anand team in fact was invited for dinner by the Ambassador of India for Russia, Ajai Malhotra.

Friday was mostly spent travelling. On Saturday Anand received a special reception at the Chennai airport as a huge crowd had gathered, among them many school children wearing Vishy masks. Government and chess federation officials were also present. Here's a video by NDTV.

Upon Anand's arrival, the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, madam J. Jayalalithaa, announced an award of Rs.2/- Crores (US $360,000 / EUR 290,000) for Anand, and mentioned the support from the Tamil Nadu government for a local chess in schools project. Meanwhile, the All Indian Chess Federation has thanked the CM for her gesture in a press release.

Although he didn't win the match, Boris Gelfand was certainly welcomed as a winner when he returned to Israel. He landed at Tel-Aviv airport on Friday and according to YNet News, all those present at the terminal gave Gelfand a round of applause, as dozens of fans held up signs and presented him with flowers. Gelfand thanked those present, saying that he was very touched and satisfied.

I didn't realize it will be like this. I heard that people in Israel closely followed and that the entire nation watched the games. I was truly excited, and I hope this will elevate chess in Israel to its rightful place. I think it's a very good thing for the public that every child will know what chess is.

Below is a video of Gelfand's arrival at Tel-Aviv airport.

You can find more about Gelfand's return to Israel in this Chessbase report. To the Haaretz newspaper, he said that "the great support in Israel is a huge thing" for him.

Already on Thursday, Gelfand seemed reasonably down-to-earth about his loss. Here's how he described his feelings to the same newspaper:

It happens, like in Barcelona against Chelsea, when it led 2-0 against 10 players and also got the penalty kick. I can also score a goal sometimes and miss a penalty kick. All in all it was a great duel. I can only regret one truly mystical moment in the third game of the tie-breaker series, when I had an advantage and then I moved my rook away that 999 times out of a 1,000 I wouldn't dream of doing. I came here feeling sure of myself, but I played against a great master who was absolutely capable of causing me problems and also of handling some of the new things thrown at him by my team. Up until the 10th game I was pretty much in control, and then Anand recovered, thanks to his hard work and that of his team of advisers.

More and more chess personalities are active on Twitter. We've collected a few reactions:

Judit Polgar
What a nail-biting tie break at the WC! I certainly enjoyed every moment of the play off. (...)

Ian Nepomniachtchi
Congratulations to Vishy Anand, who retains his title! But my sympathy prize undoubtedly goes to Boris :-)

ECU President Silvio Danailov tweeted:

Nobody said the truth.Very boring match for chess was saved by the tiebreak and the brilliant organization from the Russian Chess Federation

Well, as we know Mr Danailov wasn't exactly the only one who complained about a lack of excitement in Moscow. We'll just mention GM David Smerdon's blog post  and GM Judit Polgar's blog post, in which she wrote:

Some say the 12 classical games were not so exciting. I have admit, I think that some of them could have been played out longer really. On the other hand, the rules do not forbid to offer a draw any time of the game at all. So when you have big, no sorry, ENORMOUS pressure and there is nothing more you want but to win the overall match and you believe that half a point makes you to get closer then, of course, you do not care about the spectators, if they are happy with what they see or not.

Levon Aronian
Congrats to World Champion Anand! Great comeback in the later stage of the match! Gelfand deserves a praise for his creative & dynamic play!

Mig Greengard
@LevAronian What, did they play another match? ; )

Levon Aronian
@chessninja How come the less a person knows about a subject, the more he treats it with disrespect.

Gata Kamsky
Looking at the last few world chess champ matches, it makes me sad that chess at present is 80% preparation and only 20% is about the game.

It's time to start looking at one of Fischer's greatest inventions, fischerandom chess. No more teams of helpers, or even draws, pure chess!

Since the demise of the Mainz events, perhaps FIDE should consider at least trying to make fischerandom startup events and ratings.

Because, fischerandom chess, imho, is the future...mark my words.

Pentala Harikrishna
Brilliant victory!!!

(Natalija Pogonina collected a few more tweets with reactions about the match.)

One of the strongest reactions on the match came from Garry Kasparov. Shortly after the match, the 13th World Champion spoke with Sergey Shipov, who posted the comments on his forum

Anand played a terrible match, but it seems it wasn't meant to be that Gelfand would beat such a weakened opponent. Anand played wonderfully in the 2008 match against Kramnik, adequately against Topalov in 2010, while his current play is on an entirely different level. The tie-break was beneath contempt...


Anand got lucky that Gelfand qualified to play him. If the Candidates Matches in Kazan had been run under the 6-6-8 system (6 games in the quarter-finals and semi-finals and 8 in the final) then Gelfand's chances of getting to the World Championship final would have been minimal. Someone else would have played Anand and he could have won. Let's say, Grischuk. Never mind the fact that Carlsen would have played in Kazan in that case.

I'll repeat once more that the current match for the title had nothing whatsoever to do with determining the strongest chess player in the world.

(Translation by Colin McGourty)

Deccan Chronicle quoted Anand's reaction to Kasparov's comments, described as a "rare display of irritation".

I think that this is the first time I have played a match where so many people seemed to have negative opinion about my play. And the thing is I do not think I lacked motivation. [Kasparov] keeps talking about my age but I could just as well say Boris (Gelfand) is even slightly older. I think the problem is all the people who started out assuming that I was the heavy favourite in this match were reluctant to admit that their prognosis was wrong. (...) This was Gelfand playing well and me trying to play equally well, hang in there and wait for my chance. But all those people who said I was a favourite were reluctant to admit that they were wrong and were simply saying that I lacked motivation and was playing badly and so on and on. And I definitely feel like I proved something here. (...) But it was very satisfying, especially when the ambiance around you is so negative. In the press conference they more or less keep repeating what people like Kasparov said. It is not secret that I have had difficulty in a couple of tournaments and my confidence therefore suffers a bit. But I think under those circumstances if you can hang in there and win like this then it is all the more satisfying.

We'll conclude, by popular demand, with one more photo of the splendid trophy won by Anand - the one provided by the Tretyakov Gallery and designed & made by Andrei Molchanovsky.

The photo was in fact taken by Eric van Reem at the start of the match, which gives us the opportunity to mention one last time his highly entertaining blog about the match!


Update June 4, 08:23 CET: Anand gave an even stronger reaction to Kasparov at a press conference on Saturday, which was quoted by several Indian media, e.g. Times of India:

He is the man who regrets leaving chess. He misses the attention he got in chess, somehow wants to be there. May be he should play again. Kasparov retired in 2005, he has been trying to make me retire since 2011. You just have to develop a thick skin as a public figure.

And here's a lengthy interview with Vishy and Aruna Anand by IBN Live:

Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers


Horia's picture

Kasparov was right, obviously.

And the fact that the Champion and Challenger went to shake the dictator's hand and have some tea was kind of disgusting.

Anonymous's picture

It's called diplomacy. India and Russia have good relations and there is no way that an Indian citizen is going to snub Vladimir Putin. Even when Churchill and Roosevelt had a meeting with Stalin I can assure you that they were both polite to him. Diplomacy.

bronkenstein's picture

I believe that Stalin was polite with them too. Diplomacy.

An unbiased chess fan's picture

not diplomacy - propaganda

Bias buster's picture

Still better than meeting the mass murdered Bush...

Calvin Amari's picture

Vishy's remarks are perfectly reasonable, but his narrative is not at all inconsistent with what Kasparov and many others are saying: Vishy was not playing to the level of his prior peak performances yet he was able to win because the challenger, even if this was HIS peak performance, didn't even have what it took to surpass Vishy's uninspired play. I also note that Vishy does not say -- and I doubt he would if pressed -- that the match games reflect the highest quality chess by any measure. He is too honest for that.

Indeed, Vishy’s level of play in the championship is remarkably consistent his recent major tournament performances, where he has been very difficult to beat but, on the other hand, has had great difficulty accumulating sufficient plus scores to be a real contender. Vishy has been forthright about his disappointment regarding the quality of those tournament performances and there is no reason for his fans not to view this match as precisely more of the same.

Vishy did not choose his opponent. Gelfand became the challenger in an irregular, ill-conceived, and unprecedented candidate system that was subsequently dropped like a hot potato amidst near universal criticism. But that was the process FIDE concocted this time, Vishy retained his title fair and square, and he certainly has my congratulations for winning the match. He has been a great talent and honorable champion and, under the circumstances, I am happy that he will receive yet another big paycheck to defend his title one last time.

lefier's picture

@Amari: An adequate analysis that is shared by many I believe.

bronkenstein's picture

Together with this ´analysis´, many things in this world are shared by many.

euripedes's picture

Namely, your sister.

noyb's picture

It crosses my mind to think that if Garry Kimovich wishes to opine in such a way, perhaps he should refrain unless he's willing to actively compete for the title himself... ?

Zeblakob's picture

@Horia, they (A+G) did nit shake the dictator's hand BUT the FIDE president's hand. It has nothing to do with hypocrisy or dimplomacy.

Anonymous's picture

Please be a bit more respectful in your choice of words (dictator). He may not be overwhelmingly popular or a clean winner from a plebiscite, but he is the Russian leader and as the head of state of a great nation, needs to be accorded highest diplomatic respect.

giovlinn's picture

Rubbish. A dictator is a dictator is a dictator...You don't know anything about politics, that's for sure.
Same thing for the head of Fide who is a crook.
Judging by your view Adolf Hitler- a DICTATOR- who was very popular at a certain time should be treated by respect. And he was. Until....

An unbiased chess fan's picture

This is purely Putin propaganda. Anand and Gelfand are pawns. The fight is between Putin and Kasparov. Conspiracy theory. Anand makes a silly comment that Kasparov needs attention. Ha hah ah. Kasparov will always be legendary kasparov, anand only great. Obviously Anand has been paid by Putin to speak against Kasparov. one day Kasparov will take Russia to a new high. Goodbye Putin. The god's mills grind slow but sure.

An unbiased chess fan's picture

the world knows how putin is where he is. did they put a gun to gelfand's head and asked him to lose? after all putin's photo goes with anand to wider coverage for themedia than with gelfand.

Bias buster's picture

Yes and when Kaspy rules Russia pigs will fly and horses will sing. Any more delusional rants while we are at it.

Chess and Anand Fan's picture

I am saddened and surprised that there are so unnecessary and biased political comments against the World Champion, who is one of the most non-political and nice persons. Anand behaved with dignity when the Indian HR minister wrongly said he was not a citizen of India and he is not going to play politics in meeting the President of Russia. He was being gracious and truly respectful of the Russian people, Russian culture, and Russian hospitality, which is the way Anand truly is.

Septimus's picture

It is called respect. Respect for the position of the leader of Russia. You respect the position even if you don't respect the man. Putin is the leader of his country and Anand represents his. Very simple.

sam's picture

Anand may not be in great form in this Match and before this as well. However seems kasparov is just jealous about Ananad reaching his record of wiinning 6 world titles.???

abhishek's picture

dude totally agree... i really liked when anand said that "Kasparov is trying to make me retire since 2011..." that is actually so true.....

Isaac Thabo's picture

Kasparov greatly praised Anand when he beat Kramnik for the wonderful way he had played. So I doubt he has an agenda to make Anand retire at a time when Anand is not head and shoulders above his peers.

Minguel's picture

That is because Kramnik roundly thrashed Kasparov in their "World Championship" title match and refused to give Kasparov a rematch and Kasparov wasn't prepared to go through candidates to earn the right to challenge Kramnik.

Kasparov was no doubt happy that Anand beat Kramnik.

Minguel's picture

That is because Kramnik roundly thrashed Kasparov in their "World Championship" title match and refused to give Kasparov a rematch and Kasparov wasn't prepared to go through candidates to earn the right to challenge Kramnik.

Kasparov was no doubt happy that Anand beat Kramnik.

Errata's picture

"It should be Anand played wonderfully in the 2008 match against Kramnik"

Anand played a terrible match, but it seems it wasn't meant to be that Gelfand would beat such a weakened opponent. Anand played wonderfully in the 2008 match against Kasparov, adequately against Topalov in 2010, while his current play is on an entirely different level. The tie-break was beneath contempt...

RealityCheck's picture

Yeah, Kasparov is always right in his own mind and the mind of his apes. He was also right about the match he played/ost against Vishy in 2008:

"Anand played wonderfully in the 2008 match against Kasparov, "


Peter Doggers's picture

That was, naturally, a typo.

Michael Lubin's picture

Of course Kasparov wants people to think Anand must have played incredibly well to beat Kramnik...after all, Kramnik, Kramnik beat Kasparov for the title. Kasparov is a chess genius nonpareil, but everything he says that has a chance to be self-serving, is.

However, his opinion of the Anand-Gelfand match doesn't have any ulterior motive I can see, so I would take it much more seriously. The only thing I don't quite understand is, why he thinks Grischuk would have been so much stronger a challenger than Gelfand. As I recall, Grischuk didn't win a single classical game to get to the final of the challengers' matches. That wouldn't have boded well for a 12-game classical match against even a weakened Anand.

Anonymous's picture

"Grischuk didn't win a single classical game to get to the final of the challengers' matches"

But he faced and eliminated both Aronian and Kramnik, and was pressing against Gelfand until the latter got in a very strong novelty in the last game. Not easy to beat the two favourites in tough tiebreaks and then have a third match immediately after that, and I think Grischuk is a better player and Gelfand (just like I think Aronian and Kramnik are better than Grischuk, even if such things of course don't show in knockouts like the one in Kazan).

As for Kasparov's stating that Anand played very well when beating Kramnik that is just the truth. After six games he had three wins and with some luck he could have won five of the first seven. Compare that to the match against Gelfand where his winning one of twelve was due to a horrible blunder in the opening that Gelfand won't repeat any time soon.

bronkenstein's picture

´Grischuk didn't win a single classical game to get to the final of the challengers' matches´ - he also didn´t lose a single game, playing 8 of them against Levon+Kram.

Additionally, common commentators are belittling Gelfy´s mamooth preparatory work ( think : iceberg) and Vishy hitting bullseye in his prep against Vlad, early lead made his match vs Vlad quite unbalanced. Gandalf´s level regarding homework was much higher(call it luck if you want o,O).

Sunil's picture

Totally agree with the Kasparov comments. I think everyones being very unfair to Gelfand. If winning candidates was nothing ,then why even have it.

Sunil's picture

Actually i was just watching the documentary which covered the match he played with Deep blue.

What a bloddy sore loser he is . No doubt he is the best chess player ever , but is a whining pussy in everything else. Gelfand i think gave a good rebuttal during the match.

Anonymous's picture

Sunil, I agree that Kasparov is a jerk, however there is strong circumstantial evidence that a human grandmaster intervened and helped Deep Blue with certain positional moves during the match.

When Kasparov became suspicious of this he threatened to pull out and so IBM promised to share the logs with him after the match if he would finish it. After Deep Blue won the last game of the match IBM got a big boost in their stock price and went back on their promise and
and disassembled the machine and destroyed the logs. They said the match was for research but apparently there was only one acceptable outcome for them.

Sunil's picture

Actually they did put up the logs on their site for a while for every one to see i think. I agree there may have been an intervention ,but you don't behave so childishly like he did. Even after his loss against Kramnik he demanded a rematch even though the contract clearly didnt have that option and when Kramnik refused it , he said he wouldn't play candidates . That is showing total disrespect for the system. You certainly dont want these kind of personalities for a role model ,but unfortunately in chess you have a history of eccentric champions.

Anonymous's picture

IBM cheated....but GK did not quit because the losers share of $$$ was too much to walk away from.

RealityCheck's picture

IBM did not pay Garry a penny for the match he played against Deep Blue. They said in so many words--take a hike punk.

Who stepped up w/ the $$ and payed Kasparov?
a) FIDE President Kirsan Illumzhanov
b) Amercan President Bill Clinton
c) Russian Chess Federation
d) Apple founder Steve Jobs

good luck mates. n, enjoy yourselves.

Anonymous's picture

The answer is Kirsan Illyumzhinov.

chessian's picture

the award is 400,000 $ and not 20,000$, Please correct the article

Peter Doggers's picture

Thx, corrected to the June 1st rate: 10,000,000.0 INR -->  145,128.31 EUR.

Niima's picture

It seems 50% of Kasparov's time these days is spent holding others in contempt (the other 50% is spent promoting himself).

ssd's picture

lol yeah

boardgame's picture

Very beautiful trophy indeed!

Anonymous's picture

PCA, Braingames-- corruption, corruption mainly due to R. Keenes' and G. Kasparovs' involvement.

Did Kramnik ever get his Trophy back from these, Raymond Keene and G.arry Kasparov, thugs? You know they actualy stole his winners trophy from the London match. Low lifes.

Anonymous's picture

hey garry, you sell many books in moscow at the world championship? if you interested in carrying the encyclopedia brittanica in your line give me a ring. he he he

Thomas's picture

It seems odd to suggest that Judit Polgar agrees with Danailov, Smerdon (and Kasparov): The given quote is just a small part of the blog post and doesn't say anything on whether the moves that _had been played_ were or weren't exciting. Longer games that still end in a draw might not make spectators happy, at least not biased ones such as Danailov and Kasparov (who had made up his mind already before the match!). And longer classical games almost certainly wouldn't have been as exciting, entertaining and blunder-struck as the tiebreak games ... .

She shows lots of respect for both players. About Gelfand she wrote "I know Boris for a long time and I am not sure who else could I name who has so much dedication for the game, enjoys the tournaments, takes the training sessions this seriously. ... (As I know him, I can say, that he is not only an excellent player, but a very nice person, too)". And at the very end she calls Anand "the best chess player on the planet of the time" - which may be exaggerated and may put her on the blacklist of certain Carlsen fans.

BTW does Gelfand speak Hebrew in the video? If I remember correctly, some time ago in an interview he said that he still has to learn it!?

redivivo's picture

Nothing wrong with Polgar's claiming that Anand is the best player in the world at the moment, but I think it mainly has to do with people very much wanting and needing the World Champion to always be the best player in the world.

Anand squeezed past Gelfand with the smallest possible margin and has not been able to reach a plus score in any of Bilbao, Tal Memorial, London, Bundesliga or title match. He has also said that he started preparing for the match in January, so his results in 2011 had nothing to do with being in a preparation phase.

It will be fun to see Anand in Bazna later this month, I would actually enjoy seeing him play excellent chess, beat Carlsen and win the tournament. But I would like to see at least one tournament win after all these winless years before stating that he is stronger than players like Aronian and Carlsen.

RealityCheck's picture

"Anand squeezed passed Gelfand" Ha, this makes sense only if one realizes Anand just defended his title against the Israel Defence Forces (military). Yes, he beat the global Jewish community at their own game. Even so, still half the world chess champions are jewish. Ok, there are a couple half jews like Kasparov....but,

RealityCheck's picture

"Anand squeezed passed Gelfand with the smallest possible margin.." @ridivivo
Ha, this makes sense only if one realizes Anand just defended his title against the Israel Defence Forces (military). Yes, he beat the global Jewish community at their own game. Even so, still half the world chess champions are Jewish. Ok, there are a couple half jews like Kasparov....but,

S3's picture

What's this b*** about jews. You used to make far greater comments RC, I hope you will get to that again soon.

RealityCheck's picture

@S3 B***? No beef. Really. I just want to emphasize that there was no "squeezing by" GM Gelfand the tired oldman rated 20 something on the Elo List, the push-over.

GM Anand barely squeezed by GM Gelfand and a very well prepared team of experts. That was, no doubt, heavily supported by the global Jewish community, and the Russians' School of Chess.

Three plus three will tell us they were well funded and equipped with the best weaponry (hardware, software, counter intelligence, you name it) available because of that support.

It is no secret Jews dominated world chess for many decades.They own about half the wch titles.

This false image of Gelfand the weakling has to stop. It can ruin the credibility of the match.

We know this is their, the nay-sayers, intention.

S3's picture

Of course Gelfand was no pushover (and ofc no beef:) ) the games clearly show that. Anand could only win one classical game not because he played badly but because Gelfand didn't make serious mistakes. And he was super well prepared. He played way better in comparison with Kramnik and Topalov vs Anand. Very few GM's could have played this match as well as him.

But I'm pretty sure that Gelfand didn't need/get help of state agencies if that is implied. Both contestants are fair players, they ain't like Kasparov who will do anything to win.


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