Anand beats Gelfand in tiebreak, retains world title (VIDEO)
Viswanathan Anand defeated Boris Gelfand 2.5-1.5 in the rapid tiebreak on Wednesday. The Indian won the World Championship in Moscow and retained his world title for the third time. After winning the 2007 World Championship tournament in Mexico City, Anand defeated Vladimir Kramnik in 2008 and Veselin Topalov in 2010 and now emerged as the winner in Moscow as well.
Gelfand congratulates Anand at the end of the 4th tiebreak game
Video of the tiebreak
A very equal match, with two players extremely close to each other in terms of both chess strength and opening preparation, came to an end on Wednesday with a tense rapid tiebreak that was won 2.5-1.5 by Anand. In the State Tretyakov Gallery in central Moscow, hundreds of spectators had come to see the showdown – more than the playing hall could hold. "It went my way," Anand commented afterwards, admitting that a fair share of luck had been involved.
The start of the tiebreak, with Gelfand playing White
Even on this very last day Gelfand didn't really play worse than his opponent, but he needed much more time on the clock. Where Anand showed a "regular" time consumption during his classical games, in the tiebreak the hallmark of his success was his speed.
The games were played at 25 minutes and 10 seconds increment per move. After each encounter there was a 10-minute break in which the players could consult two of their seconds who were backstage. With a clock counting down visibly on stage, this schedule was strictly followed and no incidents occurred.
FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov was one of the spectators | Photo Alexey Yushenkov
It was quite a different day from all the others. The level of security was much higher this time, mostly to avoid noise and other disturbances in the playing hall. We filmed the start of game 1 and then went to the press room for a while. When we wanted to film the final part of the game, we were not allowed back into the playing hall. As it turned out, it had been announced – in Russian only – that people could only leave the hall, but not re-enter, during the games.
Just when the guard at the door said njet one more time, we noticed that we were standing right next to Andrei Filatov, the main sponsor of the event. When we explained the situation, he said: "I'm having the same problem!" Amazingly, even the man who paid for everything couldn't get in! However, all this was quickly resolved when we spotted organizer Ilya Levitov in the corridor...
Gelfand started with the white pieces in the first game, which was a very sharp fight. Anand got an advantage, but it seems that with 21...Bxg3 he miscalculated. After 22.Ra3! and especially 27.Rxb7 it was the World Champion who had to watch out. Instead of 28.Qxh6 perhaps with 28.Qd3 Gelfand could have tried for more.
Game 1 in progress, this time seen from the stage | Photo Alexey Yushenkov
In the second game Anand repeated his Rossolimo Sicilian. Probably following more home analysis he won a pawn, but Gelfand clearly had compensation with active pieces and a bishop against a knight. Later in the ending he was even playing for a win for a while, but Anand maintained his extra pawn. With much less time on the clock (basically playing on the increment at some point) Gelfand suddenly allowed his bishop to be exchanged for white's knight, and the resulting R+p vs R was a textbook win – Anand didn't even have to show it.
The third game was arguably the most dramatic, with Gelfand having excellent chances to immediately level the score. "I was lost of course," Anand admitted afterwards. Not only in the middlegame, but also in the rook ending. Just three moves before the end, Gelfand gave away the last win, again with little time on the clock.
Gelfand agrees to a draw - he missed several wins, the clearest shortly before the end | Photo Alexey Yushenkov
Gelfand had to win the last game with Black, and he actually got an advantage. Anand was "playing too much for a draw", as he said afterwards. However, Gelfand probably chose the wrong plan at some point and as soon as white's pieces became active on the kingside, Anand knew that the worst was behind him.
Here are a few quotes from Anand at the press conference:
It was incredibly tense. Right now probably the only feeling you have is relief. I think I'm even too tense to be happy but I'm really relieved.
I would say that my nerves held out better. I simply held on for dear life.
The problem with such a tight match is that every mistake has a much higher value than in a match where there are mistakes going back and forth in every game. In a match where there were so few chances for me it was really an incredibly heavy blow to lose game 7. I cannot remember such a black day. I couldn't sleep. That day I really thought I'd blown the match.
Vishy Anand | Photo Alexey Yushenkov
More comments by Anand are included in our video above.
I would say that it was an equal match, and that I was better sometimes, for example in the second game. I think I had more than enough compensation for the pawn and good chances. Probably the problem of the whole tiebreak was that I was behind on the clock for most of the time. In such a situation it is sometimes difficult to find the best move on the spot, which happened with my blunders in games 2 and 3. Also in game 4 I had the advantage but because of the same problem, I failed to convert it.
Boris Gelfand | Photo Alexey Yushenkov
On Monday Hans-Walter Schmitt, a good friend of Anand and organizer of over a dozen of strong rapid chess events in Mainz, said that "Vishy must be the favorite in the tiebreak. He won almost all of my tournaments!" And indeed, Anand, who owns an apartment in Germany right next to Schmitt and who spent his last weeks before the match preparing right there, proved that Schmitt had predicted right.
The winning team: Peter Heine Nielsen, Radek Wojtaszek, Surya Ganguly, Eric van Reem, Hans-Walter Schmitt (back), Aruna Anand, Vishy Anand, Rustam Kasimdzhanov (front) | Photo thanks to Mate in Moscow
Anand pocketed approximately US $ 1.4 million (1,13 million Euro) -- 55% of the total prize fund of USD 2.55 million. Gelfand won approximately US $ 1.15 million (92,700 Euro).
According to the latest FIDE schedule, Vishy Anand will defend his title in October-November 2013 against the winner of the next Candidates tournament, to be held in March 2013.
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