Reports | May 30, 2012 10:20

Anand beats Gelfand in tiebreak, retains world title (VIDEO)

Anand beats Gelfand in tiebreak, retains world title

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

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 or 55% if a tiebreak is needed)
More information Read all info here
Videos ChessVibes on YouTube


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.

PGN string

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.

PGN string

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.

PGN string

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.

PGN string

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.

Gelfand said:

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.

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.


giovlinn's picture

At least they wouldn't draw so many games and even if they would, theirs would be hard fought draws. Not 20 moves draws...

john1976's picture

How can you be certain of that, they have never faced its other in a formal match? With the stakes being high I doubt you will see both playing chess that are focus on entertaining the fans.

giovlinn's picture

You know those guys. They have the fighting spirit, esp. Carlsen.
Gelfland had it too. But not Anand.

RealityCheck's picture

@giovlin Its past your bed time. Go to bed Boy. Why don't you do us a favor and take Matt, arkan Zeblakov, Roger, and James Eadon with you.

sab's picture

What you really fail to understand is most all of the young players have fighting spirit. Remember how Anand played in his prime ; don't ask him to play like nothing have change. Neither you can force him to retire if he want to stay. Like he said himself, if someone wants him to retire, that person will need to bring him down herself by beating him in WC. He's not here to entertain, it's his job to do what it takes (by following the rules of the competition) to retain the crown, put that in your mind once and for all.

And if you want Carlsen to play, JUST ASK HIM TO NOT CHICKEN OUT (since so many of you want him so bad to win that WC) for the next qualifications, whatever could be his reasons to cowardly escape again.

darkergreen1327's picture


Szoker's picture

That was..

well I wont say exciting..

definitely long

good job Anand, but Im 100 positive that he is going to lose his title next time

time for some new blood !

Anonymous's picture

Haha Gelfy will soon beat someone up at the press conference

fling's picture

I know! His expression was ridiculous. It looked like Gandalf was about to whip out his staff, jump onto the table, and yell, "Avada Kedavra"! ...And then sit back down and say into the microphone, "Spasiba".

john1976's picture

Congratulation to GM Anand and GM Gelfand for a hard fought match of the highest caliber. Both were very strong in the cassical games with GM Anand having the edge in the rapid games. Well done !!! to both.

Roger's picture

"Both were very strong in the cassical games"

Really? Trapping your own queen and resigning in 17 moves is strong? A nerve-wracked Gelfand completely gifted the match to a seriously underpowered Anand. Can't wait for the Tal Memorial.

abhishek's picture

oh roger..that was one game...
but boris was v well prepaed...and in some games he came up with v novel ideas like c4 in g12....

Roger's picture

I know that Boris was very well-prepared. He played excellently in many of the games, and came out of the opening with a superior position quite often. But don't you think it is a blemish on the match when Anand's only classical victory was due to a horrific, patzer-like blunder on the part of Gelfand? Anand wasn't very convincing in this match.

abhishek's picture

i agree anand was no where near his best.....and maybe that s why it was an even contest.....coz if anand plyd like he plyd in 2008 with kramnik...we would nt go to the rapids :)

abhishek's picture

it is safe to assume he s past his prime....dude he s 43 now.....

john1976's picture

Blunders are part of chess and have happened in most of the WC matches. That does not distract from the quality chess produced throughout the match

pieter's picture

chessvibes a bit slow on news today ....?!

Bronkenstein's picture

Bravo Vishy for defending the crown , and Bravo Boris for an excellent challenge - you guys really deserved your millions - you worked hard for them!

Now , after the big fight, we can rest and take a look at some incoming easy tournaments of unofficial ( just some everyday Elo-grind) nature ;)

giovlinn's picture

You're being ironic, right? Although I got my doubts about that..

samthecat's picture

Its an opinion-not an insult-if you liked the match fine-if you didnt you are entitled to say so without someone coming on here saying you know nothing about chess. I thought it was pretty dull-different styles of play or huge personalities tend to make good matches-both players were too similar for me. Nothing against either player.

abhishek's picture

geovelin and samthecat..... you are of course entitled to your opinion....but as a keen chess observer s why i found the match interesting...

1. In all classical games, we had novelties, new moves and new ideas. You did not have two GM s blitzing out 18 moves of a known theoretical variation before agreeing for draw.

2. For a person like me, i like psychological battles and subletity over anything in chess....(even more than your so called tactical action...) so some ideas like vishy defending in game 1 or 3 with a v good Re8, and building a fortress in one game while gelfy s c4 in G12 were very entertainnig...and instructive for budding players..

3. Almost every game was a fight, since gelfy is a positional player...n vishy s turned himself into one in the last 5 yrs or so.....there was great theoretical battles in many games......

4. opening prep frm both sides was v good.

5. and v imp, apart from gelfy blunder of Q, n vishy playing badly the game before...the standard of chess was very high....esp ...when defending...both players were good.

6. not a place where you players din t play extra sharp lines its understandable....see if i m carlsen im only 21...dude...i can take chances ....with my talent i ll get another shot ...definitely in coming years...

but dude if i m gelfand...43...a huge talent..but not so lucky in my career...i ll try my best in my own way .....

So, honestly buddy...both players deserve a lot of credit...and even though i m an indian..i still think gelfy deserves....greater credit for his fighting spirit....upto the last game....

n really hats of to the hard work they put in

arkan's picture

Anand flagged Gelfand in a drawn position and retains his Worldtitle

I'm glad this crapfest is over

Zeblakob's picture

+1 @arkan

Chris's picture

It was crappiest WCh match of the century :)

Anonymous's picture

With the crappiest comments on this website.

Roger's picture

Are you talking about Anand's rapid victory? After Anand played Rb8, it is a forced win for White, so Gelfand resigned. He completely earned a win in that game.

RealityCheck's picture

@arkan You said that you're "glad this crapfest is over". I feel for you. Its time to go wash your face, and it might not be a bad idea to rinse your mouth out with some clorax......Get my drift.

filiusdextris's picture

You're acting like an immature bully. Why do you disrespect people for expressing their opinions? What elevates your opinion above theirs? If you can advance your argument using reason, fine, but the rhetorical slights are reflecting badly on these boards.

Anonymous's picture

@filiusdextris The comments you refer to are not opinions. They are slander. Anyone comparing the World Championship with a "crapfest" shd be treated accordingly.

Since you want to play the role of Mr Nice guy, why don't you teach these boys some manners.

Sam's picture

Anand said he just felt relieved it was all over! And that he simply clung on to dear life (i.e. his title). While his modesty deserved respect, it also shows that it is actually ok to win by not losing!

Aravind's picture

Congrats Vishy!!!!! He deserves to be world champion

Johan de Witt's picture

Yes, I belong to the 6% who voted Anand wins on tiebreaks!!!

By the way, I love this quote by Carlsen on his Twitter yesterday: "I don't blame the players for agreeing to all those early draws, it's just appaling that the rules allow them to."

Bronkenstein's picture

MC obviously has no serious match experience, he should try to qualify and play some prior to such comments. Also , ´early draw´ - the term that he used automatically - is quite controversial.

giovlinn's picture

I feel sorry for Gelfland. He should have won this match. There won't be a next time for him, alas.

Knight Solo's picture

Many were deceived from the match and me too, but I noted two things:
1) Kasparov Kramnik 2000 had many short draws
2) Gelfand was the challenger yet he didn't try too hard to win games it seems to me
3) Anand is the defending WCC so it's not him who has to beat Gelfand it's the other way
Don't you think so ?

Sam's picture

Yes. Both players may have tried harder if the prize money was say winner takes all or at least 80%. Not 55% for winner and 45% for "loser"

Isaac Thabo's picture

1. That match is memorable for Kramnik introducing the Berlin Wall...something that Kasparov was unable to break until Astana '01. Secondly, the challenger was leading and it was the champion who was trying to make a comeback in the match.

MH's picture

I can advice veerybody to read the book from London to Elista, that is covering the 3 WC matches that Kramnik won. Written by his secondants that assisted him during the matches. Really interesting stuff.

Hopefully there will be a book about the Anand-Gelfand match too, that shows some inside info, around preparation etc. It might changes how we view things.

chesshire cat's picture

Damn fast games. All that effort by Gelfand. He had the initiative in the match. And now he lost to the better fast player and will likely never get another chance. The system really has to change.

MJul's picture

Classical games, after a -let's dream- 24 games match, the first desicive decide the winner?

And Sophia rules?

MJUl's picture

Reading some people writing about Carlsen, I would love to have chosen psychology as career.

sundararajan ganesan's picture

kudos vishy! you have made your millions of followers happy yet again by winning the world title! great credit goes to you and boris for playing great chess in the tie-breaks!

sundararajan ganesan's picture

kudos vishy! you have made your millions of followers happy yet again by winning the world title! great credit goes to you and boris for playing great chess in the tie-breaks!

gersel's picture

Zzzzzzzzzzz oh wait no, yes, there is an old world champion. Thanks for the oh so exciting chess. Chess can be so boring, thanks for proving that.

Anonymous's picture

why did you wake up?

Anonymous's picture

Please check the games between Carlsen and Anand from 2011 before making coments on how entertining this or that guy is.Anand-Gelfand was a very interesting match and to be honest in none of the 'short' games playing on would have changed the result

Isaac Thabo's picture

Well that was a bit underwhelming. I doubt many will buy books about this match. Kramnik Topalov and Kramnik Anand were gripping matches...Anand Gelfand never seemed to quite take off. They presumably never got to really show their preparation.

Sunil's picture

Actually Anand-Topalov was the most gripping match in recent memory..All the games were very well fought . The wins were brilliant , but the draws were also very well fought with lot of new ideas.
Anand-Kramnik was the most lop sided match in recent memory. Anand played well but Kramnik played poorly.

sab's picture

Sorry but Kramnik DID NOT played poorly. Anand came up with some novelties which completely put Kramnik out-game.

Mohit Sharma's picture

To me Gelfand was a more honorable challenger than Ananda an honorable incumbent.
When Anand defeated Kramnik it was a big win. But after that, he has not created a legacy. Compare this to Kasparov: His taking over Karpov was big, then he had few long streaks of dominance. And when Kramnik dethroned him, that was a landmark in chess. Not so for Anand, even if he matches Kasparov in grasp of chess.


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