Reports | May 19, 2012 11:02

Gelfand-Anand G6, another Chebanenko Semi-Slav, drawn after 29 moves (VIDEO with Kasparov)

Gelfand-Anand G6, another Chebanenko Semi-Slav, drawn after 29 moves (VIDEO)

Game 6 in the World Championship match between Boris Gelfand and Viswanathan Anand ended in a draw as well. Anand repeated his Chebanenko Semi-Slav and Gelfand tried something different on move 6. He won a pawn, but didn't see a way to finish his development without giving it back quickly. After a few accurate moves by Anand a drawn rook ending came on the board.

Saturday is a rest day. The score is 3-3 at half time; six more games are scheduled in the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow.

Event World Championship MatchPGN via TWIC
Dates May 11th-30th, 2012
Location Moscow, Russia
System Match

Viswanathan Anand & Boris Gelfand

Rate of play 120 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 fund 2.55 million US $ (60% for the winner)
More information Read all info here
Videos ChessVibes on YouTube

The trend hasn't changed yet, and the draws just keep coming! Also in the 6th match game we didn't see fireworks, but two well prepared gentlemen playing moves on a high level and Black (Anand) putting up another good defence to hold the balance. Whether you like it or not, this is the chess that's being played between Gelfand and Anand, two players who continue to be very cautious. The nightmare scenario of twelve draws followed by a tiebreak is getting more realistic by the day...

Again a Chebanenko/Semi-Slav came on the board, and Gelfand deviated from his first two white games, by switching to 6.Qc2 instead of 6.b3. Anand sacrificed a pawn, which was most probably still part of his preparation, and then Gelfand quickly returned the favour.

I calculated some lines but I didn't see a way to bring out my pieces [and keep the pawn].

The 6th day in Moscow, however, was dominated by the presence of Garry Kasparov. It's quite telling to see that, seven years after his retirement, the 13th World Champion still attracts more attention from spectators and journalists than Anand and Gelfand. Just after the game started, Kasparov gave a 50-minute press conference and more media were present than ever before.

He started by repeating what he had said before the match: that for the first time in a long period, the World Championship match had nothing to do with a fight for the title of best player in the world. Confronted with this statement, Anand said he "didn't have time" to deal with these things. Gelfand felt that Kasparov merely wanted to remind people how good he was. You can see all this in the video below.

After the press conference, Kasparov joined the commentary team to share his thoughts on the official website. He was especially critical – or rather disappointed – of Anand.

It is not the number of tournament wins — I can't remember when Vishy last won a tournament — but the sparkle in his eyes. Even in 2010 in some games you could see the spark of genius but in most games he was struggling.

Then, Kasparov gave a simul to about twenty talented kids, very talented in fact. They had actually qualified for the simul by winning different youth events. Normally Kasparov doesn't play opponents rated above about 2000 Elo, but it was clear that several kids were actually stronger than that, and Garry Kimovich was clearly struggling.

Saturday is a rest day; on Sunday Gelfand will have White again because the colors are reversed at half-time.

PGN string

Match score



Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers

Founder and editor-in-chief of, Peter is responsible for most of the chess news and tournament reports. Often visiting top events, he also provides photos and videos for the site. He's a 1.e4 player himself, likes Thai food and the Stones.


Sunil's picture

People who are complaining please remember they are not playing for us ..Being world champion is a great privilege.Even the great 1984 game had something like 90% draws...

MH's picture

Comparing 1984 with this match is a shame. In 1984 the winner needed to win 6 times, so different rules. Also the quality of the games was very high, and K&K were fighting each other fierecely. 1984 was legendary.

Remco Gerlich's picture

Many of the draws were far far duller than what we're seeing now though. Your memory is clouded.

More boring than the current match.

And as someone said, the 1995 Kasparov-Anand, which everyone will tell you was a crushing defeat by Kasparov of a much inferior Anand, started with eight draws and then a loss by Kasparov.

And it's all irrelevant. They're not playing games of chess, they're playing a match, each trying to find the one win they need to grab it all. They're not there to entertain you, they're there to become world champion.

redivivo's picture

You do know that the 1984 match went on for five months? It had four decisive games after nine played, but comparing the draws after several months of play there with the draws here just can't be done. The 1995 match was a bit longer than this one but did have a slow start, but still five decisive games after 14 played.

S3's picture

You're funny.

redivivo's picture

Well, most of the games referred to above as more boring than the draws here were played four months into that match, that fact shouldn't be ignored when comparing Anand vs Gelfand advantageously to Kasparov vs Karpov. The four K-K matches that were limited to 24 games had in all 32 decisive games.

Bronkenstein's picture

+1 , people are either unaware or forgetting fast , during 1984. match drawfest there was also loads of draw jokes going around. Also , Kasparov was never too diplomatic or polite (aside from the logical content of his ´arguements´ and judgements). In fact he is , as any politician would do , serving to the masses exactly what they would like to hear.

For example Beliavsky , the first USSR board on the 1984. olympiad (which overlapped with 2nd half of the match) , Answered when asked about Karpov/Kasparov not playing - ´Anyway , all they can do is - draw´. And OFC the 1995. match also had similar ´side effects´.

mdamien's picture

Well stated!

Sligunner's picture

This was a brilliant match of combative chess. Have you read 'Kasparov v Karpov' by GK? Here's some advice: Read it, then you won't make posts as dumb as this.

GeneM's picture

1-on-1 matches between grandmasters would be far more dramatic and exciting if draws did not count, and the winner was the first player to win 4 games (plus lead in wins after an even number of games, of course).

But the enormously high draw rate of elite chess has made the use of the first-to-4-wins-is-winner approach implausible.

An important part of championship chess died with K-K 1 in 1984. That part will never come back to life until a second start position is adopted.

Tyranny of Tradition:
We remember that in 2011 Gelfand became Anand's challenger by winning an event that ended with an enormous, but not too surprising, 90% draw rate. And still the traditionalists said there is no draw problem with the current rules of chess.
The first half of the 2012 WCChamp match is entirely draws. And still the traditionalists are in denial. We now see that even a 100% draw rate could never change the closed minds of the traditionalists.

A second start position would enable the players to prepare clever powerful opening novelties for the *early* opening phase, where novelties can lead to a positionally decisive advantage, and thus can reduce the draw rate.
Then reuse the second setup for a decade or two, until the second setup becomes as deeply analyzed as is the traditional setup.

Criteria for the second setup:
* No bishop should start on a corner square.
* White's two knights should start on the same shade of square.
* Be valid under chess960-FRC rules.

Discard the "Random" from Fischer Random Chess"!

Aditya's picture

I would'nt mind chess960 either with a limited time to prepare. Perhaps the position is released a day before or so. In fact, I strongly prefer such chess960 classical games over rapid/blitz for tie-breaks. I understand that organising this would tedious though, perhaps they can make half the games in the classical round chess960. Would be great to see the players analytical skills on board. History has shown that they have so much to display in that area, and we cannot get to see that due to the solid computer lines which so quickly achieve balanced, equal positions.

Anonymous's picture

What about Yaz's S-Chess? With the extraordinary memories of the top players in twenty or so years chess will be played out and will require a somewhat more radical approach to continue its creativity and general interest.

toltiz4x's picture

very nice idea chess 960 scheme in a world chess match,,, your brilliant idea must be considered, i guess..

Thomas's picture

To all those who suggest switching to Chess960: Do you actually play it yourself, or would you want to (on a regular basis, rather than as a rare experiment)?

I want to make two points: First, I think rules of the game should - as much as possible - be the same ones for players of all levels. But many amateurs have rather limited understanding of the traditional starting position, and might be entirely lost facing a different one. Second and related: For spectators it would be even harder to understand what's going on in a WCh game.

So IMO introducing Chess960 might benefit those who, first and foremost, like decisive results. But it might harm those who care about the game itself, and understand that a draw is a legitimate and often logical and unavoidable result.

Aditya's picture

I do play chess960 often, although not as much as I play the regular position. I also follow the few tournaments they have for the format. I have noticed that at similar levels chess960 games are rarely one sided. Yet, I find them very interesting too, as they lead to more unbalanced positions (perhaps still equal, but unbalanced) than usual chess. And I don't find it hard to understand the game, the same general principles apply.. Weak pawns, bishop pairs, fight for the centre etc. In fact, in my opinion, the lack of extensive computer analysis in the opening makes it easier to understand at a lower level, even highly rated games like Aronian-Svidler. The best past is that the players do not 'know' equalizing lines, but have to find them on the board.

Niima's picture

An interesting and reasonable suggestion. Good thinking.

Sligunner's picture

"An important part of championship chess died with K-K 1 in 1984" – if I remember rightly, the subsquent (24-game) matches were even more dramatic. What a load of baloney this statement is.

GeneM's picture

Sligunner, perhaps you missed the point: After Karpov-Kasparov 1 1984, the preferable format of draws-do-not-count had to be abandoned. That format has remained dead in WCChamp matches ever since.

Too much of the drama in post-1984 K-K matches came from worry whether the player with the early small lead in victories would be able to stuff the remaining allotted games into the draw basket. That is a cheap form of drama.

When draws count, we lose the drama that great comebacks bring us, such as Karpov-Korchnoi 1 1978.

1984 marked the end of honest debate about whether modern elite chess is too draw prone for its own good.

Anonymous's picture

What about 1-0-0, with Sofia rules (and a repeated position loses)?

Bronkenstein's picture

You are making way too general conclusions based on just 6 games (!) , or Kazan - in which the format should , eventually , be criticized (though I would prefer it to DRR anyday) and not the very rules of the game.

It´s just the old Capa´s tune preformulated - and we now know very well how right he was.

Let the history judge , don´t be too harsh.

Henk de Jager's picture

It is starting to look like a checkers match.

Anonymous's picture

Ease off the booze. @Henk de Jager

Anonymous's picture

In top level checkers matches the openning moves are chosen by the TD, otherwise it would be wall to wall draws, sort of like......

Remco Gerlich's picture

But checkers it's a much easier game, it's been mathematically solved by computer. Chess won't come close to that. 10x10 "checkers" (international draughts) also isn't quite as drawish as to require TD picked openings.

And remember that only two years ago, Anand-Topalov had far fewer draws, and computers can't changed the game of chess drastically in those two years.

Anonymous's picture

Thanks for your response. Chess also allows for the picking of different beginning piece positions, something checkers does not have.

Matt's picture

Besides being a too short match, both players lack passion, you only have to look at they both. Please, Morozevich, Aronian, Carlsen or Nakamura for the next final, PLEASEEEEEE!!

MH's picture

I completely agree with Matt, it's the players not the format of the match that makes the difference.

Fireblade's picture

The players so far have averaged about 30 moves per game in the last 6 games.
Given that the winner takes 1.5 Million USD that averages to about 50,000 USD per move.And given that the winner automatically plays the final next cycle,he is guaranteed another $1 Million at the very least. So a total of $ 2.5 Million is at stake here which averages to $83,333 per move.

The moves better be freaking accurate !
But accurate moves result in draws.

I propose getting rid of the prize money ;)

Frits Fritschy's picture

In the mean time, when the players are building up the tension, I'm still looking at the ending in game 4 after 32 Rc6. How come that I keep on getting my Fritz 10 (okay, hopelessly outdated) in problems, me playing white? Okay, he keeps on escaping, but that's all there is to it.
Eagerly waiting for an expert who really proves to me black has an 'easy' draw (or a draw at all). As I said before, Daniel King (chessbase) didn't convince me.

Anonymous's picture

Frits, what looks like "problems" from a human perspective is not so much for a computer. You are judging according to the position that you see but the computer is doing exact calculations. Lasker had a similar style - that of appearing to get into trouble while having everything worked out in his head. BTW, I also have Fritz 10; it is an excellent interface but I reccomend you download the FREE Houdini 1.5 ... then open up Fritz 10 and 'Add UCI Engine'. I have lost
faith in the analytic abilities of Fritz 10 because when it is playing Houdini it keeps evaluating it's position as O.K. while Houdini keeps telling me that Fritz 10 is losing. And guess who is always right?

Frits Fritschy's picture

Anonymous, I have a bit of experience with computer aid on analyzing games. Remember Nb2 by Gelfand in game 3? Houdini gave +1.00 at least for white after move 26, but Nb2 wasn't considered. After that, Houdini switched to +0.43 for white. So you may not count on Fritz 10 completely, but the same is true for Houdini.
I use engines when analyzing. I have to confess it was not me that gave Fritz 10 problems, it was Fritz himself. I let him play the best moves for black, and for white, I chose the moves I liked best from those he proposed. Not a completely objective method, except for proving that engines don't necessarily should have the last word. As I said before.
But what I really hope is that people here talk a little less about the players and the system and what else, and a bit more about chess. We can repeat how much we dislike about this match a thousand times, but could also concentrate on what we like most - and if it is hard to find, we just have to try harder.

Anonymous's picture

Frits, I was referring to analysis that the engines display while they play each other at time controls like 5+3 and not deep positional analysis. When Fritz 10 plays Houdini at 5+3 it displays that it is doing o.k. not far out of the opening while Houdini insists that it is doing horribly. I just thought that was relevant because if I can't trust Fritz's analysis when it is actually playing a game, why shouldn't I just analyze with a stronger engine? BTW, how many (and which) engines do your recommend analyzing games with?

Bartleby's picture

Amazing resource: Give up the d5 pawn, and scare your opponent enough to get it back immediately.
I think there's a strategy behind these fine draws: Lull your opponent into thinking you're a harmless, content mouse, and then, when he's not longer on guard, not longer prepared for it, let out a big roar, and strike with force! Show him what carnivorous beast you really are.

S3's picture

I think it's an excellent match so far.
How many of you have understood the reasons of giving back a pawn with 18.Bd2 ?

S3's picture

Or the tactics behind 20..Qe6 for that matter? Maybe the games are a bit dull, but I'm sure this stuff is challenging for most of the people who complain.

RealityCheck's picture

Most of the crass remarks and complaints are coming from the retired and the retarded.

Anonymous's picture

I'm both, but my take is that GK agrees with me (see video interview above): BG too cautious and VA has lost his passion for the game. At least that's what I thought I heard GK say.

S3's picture

Well GK is retired and retarded too, isn't he?. GK also has a record of talking silly about people, by nature he is of course a very envious person. History has shown that Kasparov isn't afraid to play non games (or even break the rules) when it suits him ('84 f.e.). He also played many short draws with white against Kramnik. In short, he isn't a gentleman like Gelfand and he has played a lot of short draws in world championship matches. He isn't really the one to talk.

Gelfand at least plays serious games and so far his cautious style has worked.

Niima's picture

Well said S3 - important points. Kasparov may say things that are true, but he is almost always promoting himself. I do not recall once when he had harsh words about his own misdeeds. He also nags a lot - always complaining about something.

DirkBredemeier's picture

I think the games should be interessting not just for experts, but also for "normal" players with a rating around 2200. Except for game 3 everything was very boring so far: Good preparation with black, risk avoiding play with white, result: draw. Are they gonna go straight for the tie-break this way in games 7 to 12?

S3's picture

So what do you propose? Do you want them to play bad preparation and make 2nd rate moves ( "risk"??).

As I see it people are just complaining no matter what. At first they said it would be a whitewash and massacre of Gelfand but now he holds his own so they demand him to change his game. Well I like it as it is.

Manu's picture

For many years worldchampionship matches where held between the strongest players , but that was just a mathematical coincidence , we are now witnessing the real deal .
Im enjoying this match but is the first time that im not excited about it . Im sure this is happening to other enthusiasts as well .
Maybe it is time to switch to ratings , like in tennis.

S3's picture

And maybe not.

Anonymous's picture

GM Short, challenger to GM Kasparov in the private match 1993, has proven to be one of the worlds strongest chess players we have ever known. He was right up there with GM Kasparov. Legendary.

hildcar's picture

It should be Magnus vs ARONIAN!

MH's picture

Some people state that Anand/Gelfand did an excellent opening preparation. But I have not seen anything yet that has been revolutionary so far. In contrast in 2000 Kramnik won his second game against Kasparov with a Gruenfeld novely that won him the game and the match. The story is even nicer, in the months before the match he deliberately played this opening weak, to help Kasparov step into the trap. That's excellent opening preparation.

Harish Srinivasan's picture

When one person comes up with a winning novelty, it means that the other person did not prepare as well or he overlooked it. When both prepare equally well, and further keep side stepping you don't get revolutionary stuff. It also depends on what you think is revolutionary. A winning novelty is not necessary the only revolutionary thing. A novelty for black that changes the evaluation of white is better to dead equal also contributes to the advancement of chess theory.

chesshire cat's picture

Gelfand has another White now, doesn't he... surely he will not try to beat this Slav hybrid again with the same lines? What to do? Either Bg5 (but would either player risk entering this sharp line while scores level?) or else 1. c4 or Nf3 versions of the Slav...Anand is looking invincible in this line otherwise. It really looks like one win could win the match, although I am sure the players have cut-throat variations prepared in case of necessity. The stink of the machine is permeating this match. Is Wch matchplay worth it anymore? Tournament with maybe 4 players looks like the way to go. Prep has gone too deep.

val's picture

A former member of Kramnik`s team wrote that during the second half of the 2000 London WCh match Kasparov or his supporters hired rabble to physically assault Kramnik so as to influence that match outcome. Fortunately Kramnik managed to save himself then by running away at a lightning speed from those gentlemen. At least let`s hope we`ll see no foul play of any kind on this occasion.

slonik's picture

That sounds like the type of things they like to make up about Kasparov all right


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