Reports | May 24, 2012 15:50

Anand-Gelfand G10, a Rossolimo Sicilian, drawn after 25 moves (VIDEO)

Anand-Gelfand G10, a Rossolimo Sicilian, drawn after 25 moves

The tiebreak is getting closer and closer now that the 10th match game between Vishy Anand and Boris Gelfand also ended in a draw. Today Anand returned to 1.e4 and went for a Rossolimo Sicilian (3.Bb5) instead of allowing another Sveshnikov. Gelfand came up with a new setup, and held equality quite easily.

The handshake at the start of game 10 in Moscow

The score in Moscow is 5-5 with just two more games to play. Game 11 is scheduled for Saturday and the last game will be played on Monday. If the score is 6-6, a rapid/blitz tiebreak will be played on Wednesday.

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

In the 10th match game it seemed that the whole atmosphere of the first half of the match was back again. As if nothing had happened, no decisive games, no blunder, no big advantage for Gelfand the day before, the players added another friendly draw to the score. This was the story on a superficial level, but as always much more was going on behind the scenes.

What was the situation? Three games to play, two whites for Anand, one for Gelfand. If the World Champion wanted to try and decide the match in the classical games, it was this 10th match game that perhaps suited most. One can take some risks when there are still two games to play, but in the last game it's tricky.

Anand didn't repeat the 3.f3 Grünfeld with which he had won his previous white game in 17 moves. Why? We can only guess, but one explanation is that he needs more time to find something against the 3...c5 move. Another option is that he has some big idea against the Grünfeld, which he likes to play only in the last game. 

No 3.f3 Grünfeld, no Sveshnikov, but the Rossolimo Sicilian

In any case, it was a 3.Bb5 (Rossolimo) Sicilian today and it was quite impressive to see that even against a sideline (Anand hadn't played 5.b3 before) Gelfand had prepared a whole new idea: 5...e5.

It is always nice to play a novelty on move five,

said Gelfand.

It usually happens on move 20 or 25.

To avoid getting a bishop on b2 biting granite, White had to take the pawn and this quickly led to a queenless middlegame with a better structure for White but the bishop pair for Black.

Peter Svidler and Alexander Morozevich, who were doing commentary together for about an hour, felt that the position was equal, but easier to play for White. When Gelfand found the excellent idea of trading one bishop for a knight followed by ...f5 he had more or less equalized.

On move 21 Gelfand offered a draw, but at first Anand declined.

I thought I had something with Nd2-b3 but later I decided to return the offer.

Here's our video of today, which includes an interview with Morozevich at the end. He has some strong opinions!

It remains to be seen whether one of the players is willing to take big risks in the remaining two games on Saturday and Monday. It seems more likely that we'll have a tiebreak that will decide the match next Wednesday, just like in 2006 between Vladimir Kramnik and Veselin Topalov.

PGN string

The players today at the press conference. Gelfand: "I want to praise Vishy because with him the idea of the champion keeping the title in the case of a tie or the champion having an automatic revenge match vanished completely. It is out-dated, hopefully forever.”

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.


sundararajan ganesan's picture

...mmm... vishy should have tried for more!

_Nuts_'s picture

Anand played a tame opening, he should play sharp like 8th game.

rdecredico's picture

weak sauce.

Anonymous's picture

I'm happy Anand played e4, but wish he was more aggressive. If it goes to a tiebreak, he will win. Gelfand must get a win in the next 2 games or it's over. He can't beat Anand at faster time controls.

chesshire cat's picture

I don't know if Anand is so sure to win at fast. Gelfand will use all the novelties he has (no point saving them, eh?) and he may well have a good chance doing that, judging by his prep so far. His novelties would indeed be more difficult to respond to accurately at fast time controls, and who knows what torpedoes he has in store?

purplecalx's picture

Good point. I think chances are even in the rapids and probably in the blitz Anand is slight favourite.

visy's picture

gelfand is not weak in rapids as he demonstrated in candidates.

monoceros4's picture

Also Gelfand has twice scored first (once shared) at the Amber rapid tournament. He's not a pushover, I suspect. Anand has more victories to his credit but I think it's safe to assume that Gelfand is no fish when it comes to rapid play.

Anonymous's picture

Anand won't need novelties at the faster time controls. In terms of career he's the best chess player since Kasparov and for the ratings obsessed fans he's 6/10 of a ratings point out of the Top 5 and Gelfand is not in the Top 10.

Harish Srinivasan's picture

So it seems Gelfand offered a draw after ...cxb4 ( as told in the press conf) and then Anand played on a few more moves and offered it himself after a3. So anyway there was at least one draw offered turned down in this match.

giovlinn's picture


Boybawang's picture

I will the rest of the game will end in Draw with a tire break win for Gelfand. It's a punishment to Anand for not playing chess.

sab's picture

Huh? Where's the punishment? If the match end in a draw, Anand will remain World Champion following the rule.

KingTal's picture

You are a few decades behind...

Zarathoustra's picture

It can clearly be stated, that Anand is no longer the strongest player. He has shown no strength during this event whatsoever. Now Carlsen has to stop withdrawing for world champion cycle, and take his chance.

AK's picture

Gotta love Moscow. You have former champs and top10 players dropping by to comment games. Didn't expect Morozevich there, especially in the English booth. So next time it's Kramnik and all leading Russian players have commentated in one form or another.

As of match... impressed with Boris prep. Two games to go and Anand hasn't shown anything to deserve his title. He is currently playing like some average 2650 GM. One could argue that commentators Svidler or Grischuk would show more.

cmling's picture

I like to think that people who thought Gelfand would be a pushover are reconsidering their opinion.

Harish Srinivasan's picture

Anybody would agree Vishy's team's work has not hit the right points. Even so, the score is only 5-5, that should speak something about Gelfand's ability in the middle game. It looked like Vishy's team clearly understood that they are out prepared and that was the reason today he just wanted to play some chess and Gelfand still surprises him. First of Bb5 is a slightly rare move and then b3 is very rare. It is scary to see the breadth of Gelfand's preparation.

Aditya's picture

I guess what was said before the match was quite true. The motivation (Not just Anand's, but his team too) is lesser than Gelfand's. Perhaps a "been there, done that" thing. In today's age where the openings matter even more, Gelfand seems to have brought every bit of preparation to the table. The other thing with both these players is that their psychological play is almost non-existent. They try to play concrete,solid foolproof lines, and wont change the style irrespective of the opponent. It's more like chess research. While some others might try to base their play on the opponent's on board weaknesses and nerves, these two don't. I'm not saying that is better or worse, but considering their preparation is solid and equal, the non-existence of that trait seems to be a disadvantage.

Thomas's picture

The idea that Anand was outprepared seems to be based on the fact that Gelfand kept surprising him. That was easier for Gelfand because his opening repertoire was narrower. From Anand, 1.e4 was no real surprise (he was always "both-handed"). With black against 1.d4, the Grunfeld wouldn't have been surprising either - so the only way to surprise the opponent would have been somewhat dubious or risky choices (Dutch, Benoni, KID). And the one surprise from Anand (1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.f3!?) worked pretty well: a winning position and an easy win is about as good as it can get.

Anonymous's picture

Then he needs a new team. I remember Anand making similar comments during the Topalov match.

Anonymous's picture

BG has been in the top twenty for decades. Imagine the enormous amount of time dedicated to chess study.

giovlinn's picture

@cmling- Nah! Anand hasn't shown ANYTHING the last few years. That's common with most world champions. They loose their motivation, Kasparov being the exception.

cmling's picture

Not sure what you mean.
You also did not consider Gelfand a pushover?

giovlinn's picture

No, especially NOW. Gelfland must have noticed the results of Anand the last few years. This is Gelfland's once in a lifetime chance to become world champion.

Anonymous's picture

@Zarathoustra I hope Carlsen never enters the FIDE world champion cycle, because it's ridiculous. It should only include the top 5 ranked players. As soon as Anand steps down (or Kramnik if he takes the title from Anand) I will just recognize the #1 ranked Carlsen as the World Champion.

cmling's picture

Interesting idea. No more World Championship matches. The top-ranked player holds the title, even if it might change monthly.
Not what I want, but I wouldn't be surprised if many people did.

Septimus's picture

I think Gelfand will win this.

Big Alex's picture

A reasonable candidates cycle would be a double round Robin of the six best ranked players (except the champion).The cutoff date could be six months prior the tournament. The winner would play the champion for a 16 games match. In case of draw, 2 classic games of chess 960 until it's over.

Rodzjer's picture

Best remedy would be to go back to the "First to win 6 games is world champion" system. That would solve the riskless chess, and the 12-game matches where losing 1 game is close to losing the match.
I'd vouch for that - it would bring back fireworks to the board.

segler's picture

Good, creative idea. I agree, very much so with the double round robin format for candidates! Picking six players also sounds reasonable. I'd just keep 2 spots for the winners of the 'FIDE grand prix' series and the FIDE world cup tournament. Plus the top 4 ranked players averaged for one year prior to the cutoff date. Those 6 players should play a double round robin tournament. 16 games to determine the world title also seems slightly more challenging (mentally and physically) than 'just' 12. Why not chess 960 as a tie-breaker?

Rodzjer's picture

I find this match to be a bit disappointing.
Let me say up-front that Anand and Gelfand are the best in their class. But something's missing. And it's not about the draws. But when I look at this match and the players in it, I just don't see a true world champion at work. Neither Anand nor Gelfand can really enchant me with their play. They just repeat what their computers spat out the night before and there's no brilliant moments. It's in no way like what Kasparov, Fischer or Tal showed in WC matches. Even Topalov showed great class with his exchange sacrifices. This is just computer chess that I'm looking at. May the best computer-aided analyst win...

giovlinn's picture

It's certainly not fighting chess...... I think people will soon forget this match, regarding the outcome.

Anonymous's picture

Or will think the recent Kramnik-Aronian was for the WC.

What's Next?'s picture

The two next games will be very interesting. Something will probably happen. Both players have more nice ideas to show... Good luck to both players!

Anonymous's picture

Boris drew that too easily. If he wins the 11th game then I would bet good money that he could hold a draw in the 12th and thereby become the new World Champion.

Anonymous's picture


Sligunner's picture

Are you mad?

Anonymous's picture

No, it was meant as a joke, thus the ; )

lefier's picture

Anand has not been motivated to do much prep at all I'm afraid. He is definitely on his way down. Kasparov knows what he is talking about, when keeping to chess.

MH's picture

I started following chess in the K&K era. I am a supporter of a match with 24 games. The challenger needs to beat the champion to win. If you look at for example Sevilla, Moscow, London/Leningrad..these were great matches.

And assuming that the 2 top players play worldclass chess and are "interesting" personalities it will be easy to find sponsors and people will love it. And if not, the pricemoney will be lower, but high enough to fight for it. I also would like to see the restdays reduced to once a week. I think pressure and an extreme workload make a match even more interesting. Great players also make sure they are topfit before a match. That's part of the fight.

Blitz, Rapid, 960 chess etc is not the right way for a match at this level.

Maybe I'm a dreamer, but I am not the only one ;-)

VietLion's picture

People like to complain and draw conclusion after 1 game. Two games ago he broke the WWCh record of shortest decicive game! I think Anand wanted to test how wide is Gelfand prep and is preprering for the last games, or rapid. I am optimistic about his chances to retain the title.

Anonymous's picture

Hopefully Morozevich will be the challenger in the future. As he said, the lack of emotion has more to do with the players than with the format.

Lee's picture

On the bright side, Kramnik is up for game 11 in the English commentary booth.

If Dirk can stop talking over the top of and interrupting his GM partner, it should be entertaining.

Dirk also seems to have a habit of trying to paraphrase and parrot back what the GM has just said in order to dumb it down into non chess-speak. At this point, no-one watching the commentary is a casual observer of the game and so this is just unnecessary and ruins the flow.

Bronkenstein's picture

Good game by Gelfy , his prep is really terrifying. Unfortunately , nowadays it´s much easier to equalize with black novelty than to seriously test your opponent with white one.

B L's picture

I like this comment. It's very true.

Septimus's picture

Perhaps Anand has one magic bullet that he will use in his last white game/ We may see a c4 or something.

SacredChessSpirit's picture

Anand is scared. Very much scared.
That's not proper for the world champion.
Even if he wins this, he hasn't really showed anything worthy of a true World Champion.

He hasn't really tried to impose his will here.
Maybe we should add a new twist to World Championship Matches' rules: if the current champion doesn't show anything worthy of a true champion in the World Championship Match, he should renounce his title, and leave the seat open for the next cycle.

These sort of matches should be considered as 'failed championship matches', in case the defending champion "wins".

Now, the winner of that next cycle, which can consist of a tournament and/or matches, will be crowned as the New World Champion.

In the meantime, that is, during the time between the 'failed world championship' and the following wch cycle, there will be no World Champion.

He, the now ex-champion, can be included in this next cycle, of course.

What do you think?

Anonymous's picture

I don't think you need to change the rules for people like Anand or even the late Petrosian. Anand is a counter-puncher and you saw plenty of excitement when he played Topalov. If Anand holds this and has to face Aronian or Carlsen next he will either rise to the occasion and you will see once again see a "real" world champion - or he will lose and you will see a "real" world champion.

For excitement you only need one side to press. Ditch the tiebreaks and restore the draw odds that the champion used to have and let the challenger have 16 games to prove that he is better. The challenger will press because each draw brings him closer to the 16 game limit.

SacredChessSpirit's picture

Chess is not a circus.
It is not about excitement nor entertainment.

Not at this level.

We all welcome spectacular or entertaining, or beautiful games.

Players, just us everyone else, enjoy when they produce such games.

But in competitive chess, entertainment or beauty is secondary. It is a subproduct.

Because art is not a competition: you do not create in order to 'win'.

We wouldn't be judging the player, and current champion's whole career: we would be judging this moment.

Anand is a great player, no question about that, and has won two World Championship matches already.

He has proved his worth as great.

But we do not give the title of World Champion to those who 'have been' great or to those who "deserve" the title because they are so talented.

We give this title to him who conquers it.
Who fights for it.

He wants it more, he sacrifices more.
But he doesn't do this stupidly, carelessly; imprudently.

It is a struggle not so much with your opponent, but with yourself. You overcome your own limitations.

At the end of the day, that which we reward in the figure of the World Champion is his spirit.

And in this match, Anand hasn't showed why he was once the person we all loved and admired.


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