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


bronkenstein's picture

The safest thing Vishy could do, Elo-wise, would be to immediately resign the match and just simply do nothing, or go play some candidate masters (a-la-Nakamura) farming few more points.

S3's picture

It means that the rating system proved to be a flawed predictor once again. And it seems that it's easier to get/keep a high rating without playing in qualifiers and/or difficult matches.

nis's picture

since the time kramnik destroyed kasparov poor kaspy has gone insane, started drawing games when trailing...., forced carlsen to tweet , i will crush kramnik like bug, ha ha ha , he cannot swallow tht anand is better than him , he defeated kramnik who kaspaorv could not beat once.., and kaspy himself is drawmaster in matches, kasparov is not half the man anand is, he beat anand by dirty tactics in his match , otherwise anand would have been the champion , kasparov is nothing compared to vishy

nis's picture

nakamura himself said without his opening theory prepration kasparov is nothing

Anonymous's picture


nis's picture

the first game he won against anand was mugged up by kasparov to the last variation ,

kaspy is idiot's picture

anad will beat kasparov blind folded now...

Anonymous's picture


anonymous's picture

lost ur head?

Anonymous's picture

did i have one?

hal's picture

double round robin tournament, defeating 3 world class players in matches and still as per kasparov anand is not best . this guy must be hallucinating,
kaspy remember eating dust against kramnik , remember that how u were crushed like a bug? anand won u lost , and in 1995 u won with unfair means , u had coaching by world champs from age 9 and anand was always alone, he is god and u are nothing compared to him

Anonymous's picture

Are you 'nis' brother?

anonymous's picture

ur father

Anonymous's picture

so her mother...

A Viswa's picture

Kasparov is an arrogant fellow, to say the least. His press conference was like that of a kid who was not invited to a birthday party when all his other friends were... smacked of jealousy, retribution, and insecurity. Great champions and great people make way for others... but not Kasparov! He's just such a poor personality, I have no sympathy for him. He's lost my support and that of a gazillion Indians.... 1/6 of humanity. He could have used our goodwill to fight his imagined forces of evil -- instead he has just alienated people with such sustained rubbish. There is one thing to note some recent tournament weaknesses (which Vishy has acknowledged) or some erosion with old age, it's another things to go on and on about them and then go overboard because you want to be acknowledged as the "greatest player of all time" -- what an insecure idiot. He's NOT a champion. I have lost my respect for Kasparov. May he be checkmated for his bad karma soon.

A Viswa's picture

Kasparov is an arrogant fellow, to say the least. His press conference was like that of a kid who was not invited to a birthday party when all his other friends were... smacked of jealousy, retribution, and insecurity. Great champions and great people make way for others... but not Kasparov! He's just such a poor personality, I have no sympathy for him. He's lost my support and that of a gazillion Indians.... 1/6 of humanity. He could have used our goodwill to fight his imagined forces of evil -- instead he has just alienated people with such sustained rubbish. There is one thing to note some recent tournament weaknesses (which Vishy has acknowledged) or some erosion with old age, it's another things to go on and on about them and then go overboard because you want to be acknowledged as the "greatest player of all time" -- what an insecure idiot. He's NOT a champion. I have lost my respect for Kasparov. May he be checkmated for his bad karma soon.

A Viswa's picture

Someone should analyze Kasparov's loss to Kramnik and ask him questions similar to what he's asked Vishy. Vishy has never bragged about he's better than his opponents -- whereas Kasparov, with his usual arrogance and superiority, wants to constantly rub them into the ground. Vishy has never said that he's better than Kasparov or Fisher -- yet, those imagined devils stay with Kasparov. For Kasparov, there's no room for more than one champion in history, it seems like!!! There's only 1 way for Kasparov -- and that's his way. May he lose in the game of reality.

hal's picture

in one game the mistake which kasparov made against kramnik i suspect kasparov was playing with hands not his brain!! lol

ron's picture

though kasparov cannot play quality chess now his tongue is still pretty versatile , remember how kramnik stuffed him , man.., still our great chess player was excepting 10 move draws,

hari's picture

gelfand can beat kasparov blind folded

Anonymous's picture

nis, hal, viswa, hari... keep it up!

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 people. Anand behaved with dignity when the Indian HR ministed 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.

Anonymous's picture

Chess and Anand Fan and Chess and Anand Fan

G.M.Visser's picture

We also had world champion matches like Aljechin-Bogoljubow, Aljechin-Euwe. Both Challengers were not at all top 5 in the world. We also had Steinitz-Chigorin (1889) and Steinitz-Gunsberg (1890). Furthermore we had Karpov-Timman 1994. The challengers mentioned were not absolute top players at that time. But the chess world was longing for Capablanca-Aljechin (replay), Keres-Aljechin (1939), Fischer-Karpov (1975).
The chess-world is not a logical world.

A Viswa's picture

I thought that Gelfand was such a strong player and a wonderful ambassador not only for chess, but for Israel also. Same with Anand. I don't know why Kasparov has to insult these players by saying that it was not a match between the 2 strongest players on the planet... what does he want?? Maybe he should pick and he was not allowed to?? what is the process that he wants? Let's not insult Gelfand or Anand, both such gentlemen.

Adam's picture

Considering their recent tournament performance and some of the WC games which still had some play in them/were played very cautiously he does have a point. However *the way he said it* was indeed rude and inappropriate! He said it because he has a big Ego, unfortunately it happens to many people that have reached the top. I admire Anand for his openness and honesty ("I didn't sleep after losing the 7th game") and being a true gentlemen and ambassador for chess and India. Gelfand and Anand have demonstrated how to remain cool after immense pressure and defeat. Hopefully we'll see one day a great tradition of super-tournaments being played in Israel and India (and other magnificent countries) :-)


Kasparov is a plain old boor who desperately craves attention. Anand is absolutely right when he says that Kasparov misses being in the limelight.That explains trying to hang on to Carlsen's and Nakamura's coattails to stay relevant in the chess world. He is also a cheat - takeback against Polgar, visiting the hotel room in the middle of a game to check analysis when his skills were on the vane etc.

Kasparov's insecurity is so large - after losing to Kramnik in 2000 (first and only instance of a match where the sitting world champion did not win a single game), he was at pains to criticize Kramnik's victory as a fluke since he couldnt bear the thought of someone else being better than him. His parrot Mig criticizes all the draws in Anand -Gelfand forgetting that Kasparov had 11 move and 14 move draws with white while trailing Kramnik.

Now that Anand has 5 titles, Kasparov is already paranoid about Anand's legacy becoming as great as his (as of now I still put Kasparov comfortably ahead of Anand - but maybe one or two more title defenses against the likes of Carlsen and Aronian and we can start comparing legacies and Kasparov's insecurities may be justified).

Also it is stupid to compare Anand's tournament record as World Champion - No other World Champion in history has had to play 4 WC events against different opponents in less than 5 years - where is the chance for Anand to do well in tournaments if he has to prepare for the next match pretty much immediately? I remember Kasparov in 1987 compalining he had to play Karpov again and again and again. At least for him, it was the same opponent. Has he said anything about Anand needing to play so many WC events? In later years, Kasparov happily went 5 years without a defense, claimed draw odds in every one of his subsequent matches, picked his own opponents, crushed the entire chess structure to dust with his breakaway in 1993 etc. No less a person than Kramnik, barely a year ago commented that Anand is the best player in the game right now (including the likes of Carlsen and Aronian). Anand, in turn, appears to have a healthy respect for Kramnik recently remarking that everyone is playing openings revived by Kramnik.

There are only three real heroes in the chess world, when it comes to world championships:

1. Kramnik - responsible for re-unification of the title (and keeping Topailov out) and overall a thorough gentleman
2. Anand - World Champ sans controversy, thorough gentleman, winning in every format to remove any doubt about his WC credentials (also keeping Topailov out)
3. Gelfand - rising up to play superlatively in every WC event and letting his chess do the talking.

If rumors are to be believed, Gelfand was helped by Aronian, Sargissian and a couple of other strong GMs in addition to his usual seconds. Gelfand almost did to Anand what Anand did to Kramnik in 2008, completely outpreparing him. Anand realized his preparation shortcomings, played safe, bided his time, came back strongly when he needed to and won the match. I think almost any other player would have lost to Gelfand in that match. Gelfand had come into the WC match winning his last 12 matches!

Now onto the next cycle - would be great if Carlsen or Aronian come out of the candidates, and greater if the old guard of Kramnik, Gelfand or IVANCHUK! shows it can still ball.

Time to put Kasparov on Ignore! and enjoy Tal Memorial, Bazna, Dortmund, Biel, Bilbao, London, Tata and the candidates! Long live chess.

Adam's picture

"Kasparov had 11 move and 14 move draws with white while trailing Kramnik." WOW I completely forgot about that!! I guess that's just admitting defeat, wonder if we'll have a match in which pieces are given a way, a la Ivanchuk ;)

Bias buster's picture

Are there any links to these rumors? Aronian is good friends with Gelfand but now they have to meet in the candidates again.

sab's picture

I'll add to the list of heroes : Capablanca, Botvinik, Bronstein and many others.

Niima's picture

One of the best comments. Thanks RUSSIANCHESSFAN.

S3's picture

Great post!

The Devil's picture

Kasparov has a strong opinion and it's very hard ignore it considering what he has shown in Chess throughout the years. Here you have arguably the greatest player of all time in Chess who had a strong opinion on it, you cannot simply dismiss it.

S3's picture

History has shown that Kasparov's is a liar and a great player. In judging his stated opinion I think the liar part is more important.

Calvin Amari's picture

If saying that this match was not played by the two strongest players on the planet makes one a liar 99.9 % of informed chessplayers are liars.

Kasparov can be abrasive but nobody can deny that he is bravely willing to confront power, whether that power is merely FIDE (regarding this championship match following a botched candidate process) or to Putin (regarding far more weighty issues). In both cases, he is undaunted notwithstanding the thuggishness of his opponents.

Garry obviously cares deeply about chess quality and advancement. I suspect, also, that he would prefer a dominating champion in chessic terms because such a champion is more likely to be influential enough to help reform FIDE, which is sorely needed. By the same token, one can view FIDE's actions post-Kasparov as a single-minded attempt to avoid the emergence of dominant influential champion so as not to lose its complete fiat over chess.

Anonymous's picture

Excellent comment.

S3's picture

Kasparov only cares about himself. Not about chess. He has made deals with Fide and many former enemies whenever it suited him and he used to surround himself with violent thugs.

Minguel's picture

Then how come Carlsen chickened out, and Aronian and the rest fell by the wayside as Gelfand came through?

There is this perception that Gelfand is not strong just because he doesnt have as many tournament victories to his name. Gelfand may not be as focussed on tournaments as he is on a world championship. No wonder he does much better than the so-called strongest players in World Championshio related matches, qualifiers

slonik's picture

As has been said before a knockout doesn't necessarily say that much.Gelfand and Kasimdzhanov and Khalifman were none of them underrated, such things just happen once in a while with such a format and no amount of repetition of Carlsen chicken etc can change it

Anonymous's picture

Also, this is how Kasparov is. He has not changed as a person when he was in chess and now when he is out of chess. Kasparov's remarks may be less than satisfactory but we are talking about the best chess player in history, you have to consider such opinions that have that kind of weight. I think if anyone knows a thing or two about the match it will be him. If the match had been really fighting chess he would have a different opinion

bronkenstein's picture

The best chess player in history - no, many would disagree, his reign was too short, his London whitewashing too embarrassing, his sportsmanship too ,ahem, unexistant =) Maybe the best tournament player.Just maybe,since I would prefer Lasker there.

His experience in matches past 1995 DoorSlamGate - for almost 20 years ! - was either unexistant or embarassing (I would count 1995 in the ´embarassing´ phase as well), so I wouldn´t consider him exactly the expert on matches.

Additionally his wonderful character and ´political´ chess position in this moment (and for quite some time in fact) just further minimizes any traces of weight of his ´arguements´, ´parroted by many´ to quote Vishy.

Anonymous's picture

Didn't GK defeat Karpov four separate WC matches while the latter was in his prime?

bronkenstein's picture

No, only 3 + No, Karpov was (arguably) far from his prime(more on this later) and that was Kaspy´s major match achievement.

It is interesting to note that Karpov was the WC that never defeated another WC in a match. He seems to be much stronger as a tournament player - same as Kaspy, therefore not too good as a ´measure´ of GK´s match strength.

On Karpov´s prime - Botvinnik once expressed opinion that Anatoly´s playing strength decreased after he got the WC title (!! waay back in 1975) due to his game becoming safer, less dynamical.Anyway, I wouldn´t consider second half of the 80s Tolya´s prime, though thing is OFC quite arguable.

PS he added something similar about his other pupil, Kasparov, and Fischer can be considered another proof of The Crown ´killing´ it´s bearer.

PPS you can try to determine player´s prime by using Elo or Chessmetrics, but then we are mostly talking about tournaments, not matches.

The Devil's picture

Keep trying in vain to dismiss Garry Kasparov as the greatest player of all time. You keep looking more pathetic as a result bronkenstein.

Anonymous's picture

Kasparov is dismissing himself actually.

Anonymous's picture

Capablanca felt that he was "at the height" of his powers around 1917 which was four years before he won the title.

Anonymous's picture


Septimus's picture

On a positive note, what a fantastic trophy. I want one! Peter...lol?

hari's picture

kasparov needs to slam doors to win....
he is a thug...,old man needs attention , plain and simple

anonymous's picture

hey kasparov, 12 draws is better than 2 losses and 10 draws, kramnik neutralized your opening prep and u collapsed , thts wht u are , nobody compared to anand, nobody inpolitics as well,stoog of west


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