Reports | May 11, 2012 16:29

Anand-Gelfand G1, a Grünfeld, drawn in 24 moves (VIDEO)

Anand-Gelfand G1, a Grünfeld, drawn in 24 moves

The first match game between Vishy Anand and Boris Gelfand ended in a draw. Gelfand surprised his opponent by playing the Grünfeld, and if anyone was better in the final phase of the game, it was him. 

The first handshake between Boris Gelfand (Israel) and Vishy Anand (India)

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

About an hour before the start of the game, the first photographers and cameramen sneaked into the playing hall, even though there was still a staff meeting going on. On the first day the rules said that we couldn't get on stage, behind the glass wall, but we were allowed to take the first row of the theater. Thanks to being very early, and not giving in to some of the grumbling Russian photographers, we managed to get the ChessVibes camera on the best spot available: right in front of the board (see video below!). 

Boris Gelfand arrived about seven and a half minutes early - it was easy to see, because fifteen minutes before the start the big TV screen behind the board started counting down minutes and seconds. Exactly one minute to three World Champion Vishy Anand came to the board and shook hands with the challenger.

The Indian was in for a surprise, and we don't mean 1.d4 being performed by FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov. No, it involved Gelfand's second and third moves: the Grünfeld. Some experts in the press room saw this as more 'proof' that both players are using more seconds than the ones they brought to Moscow. For example in Israel Emil Sutovsky is a real Grünfeld expert...

Surprise, surprise! Gelfand plays 3...d5, the move that characterizes the Grünfeld Defence. In the background Chief Arbiter Ashot Vardapetian (Armenia), FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov amd Deputy Arbiter Hal Bond (Canada)

Anand quickly turned it into a side variation, which might have come as a surprise to Gelfand. The Israeli bravely consumed a pawn on a2 whereas after castling Black wouldn't have risked anything. According to Sergey Karjakin, who was one of many grandmasters in the press room today (also e.g. Sanan Sjugirov and Alexander Motylev),

Boris played a more principled and probably stronger move.

At that point White needed to look for an initiative because if Black would be allowed to castle he would be in a very good position. Anand did get some activity, but Gelfand just gave back the pawn and swapped queens to get to an ending that was absolutely fine for Black. In fact Nigel Short, commentator on the official website, was one of many who felt that Gelfand was slightly better a few moves before the end.

PGN string

You can find Sergey Shipov's analysis in English here

Gelfand about to play 3...d5. This photo is by official photographer Alexey Yushenkov. The ChessVibes camera is the one with the red dot above Gelfand's hand.


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.


chesster's picture

Comprehensive analysis I really enjoyed it. Gelfand had all home cooked?

Harish Srinivasan's picture

Comphrensive ?? Naditch on chessbomb has always only spit out Houdini moves with some natural language. Better to listen to commentary on ICC or the live portal where the commentators express true opinions without computer analysis.

Harish Srinivasan's picture

If you are looking for some quality post match commentary, then here it is from GM Shipov translated to English by the popular website chessintranslation

Anonymous's picture

Much thanks.

Mike's picture

Hi would you be so kind and link the english commentary site her =) thanks

ChessFan's picture

I won't watch games on chessbomb because of a person called zeblakob80. He says bad things about God and his chat friends pick on new people. Just today he said bad words about children and that God does not exist. I won't go there and watch again, till this person and his friends are removed.

Beelzebub's picture

keep your god rants to chessninja you weirdo

Remco Gerlich's picture

Which god does he claim doesn't exist?

ban ghe van phong's picture

Maybe Boris prepared all the moves at home. Time to come to Fischer chess ???

Matt's picture

Thankfully there's the US Championship where I can watch real fighting chess with Nakamura, Robson, Kamsky......

Anonymous's picture

@Matt Yes, and this shd make you feel even better :
Nakamura is just two or three US CHess Federation rating points from topping big mouths 2851 rating. Kamsky has joined the 2800 club. And, the Syrian-American is losing boo-coo rating points but, he will continue writing more books for the masses..

billybob's picture

Wow, you are seriously disturbed dude!

steve's picture

dont complain about the draw on icc! all the trolls had a freak out fest earlier! :)

Al Hughes's picture

Excellent start to the match, particularly from Boris. I found it funny how Rybka Aquarium consistently evaluated the positions as 'quiet' while the Moscow commentary team kept insisting on how sharp it seemed. Roll on tomorrow.

Anonymous's picture

There are lots of positions in which a human grandmaster may feel under pressure whereas the computer would see it as 'quiet' because of their processing ability.

o anão gigante's picture

It does not matter what Gelfand says at the press conference about computers. He sure knew it was a drawn position what they reached. Vishy is very sympathetic but is waiting his opportunity, with a slightly superior position - as it was the case for black today - he will push it as far as possible.

Vishy, believing what he says is not a great computer fan also.

Chess Fan's picture

Great comment, Mr. Guigante.
It was informing and I agree.

Zeblakob's picture

Loks good

RealityCheck's picture

Get rid of the dog on computer assisted analysis during the match. Its BORRRRRRING and very annoying and makes all of you look real stupid.

David's picture

This WAS real fighting chess. But for these guys, a small advantage will be converted 80% of the time, so the stuggle to solidify that small edge IS the life-or-death struggle.

In the US Championship, similar struggles take place but the level of precision is not as high. One can survive a larger mistake.

There were two such struggles today, first by Gelfand to survive the surprising d5, and then by Anand to prevent the stabilization of an open position with two bishops for Gelfand. Both crises were defended adequately, and a draw resulted.

Chess Fan's picture

Again great comment.

Thomas's picture

My take on the game (as a long-term amateur Grunfeld player): If - after 8.Bb5+ Nc6 - the rather logical 9.d5 was dangerous for black/promising for white it would be far more common. At most, Anand posed Gelfand some small problems or opportunities to go wrong. At the same time, he avoided whichever surprises the opponent might have had in more topical lines.

Historically, I was wrong once: the "Sevilla variation" was considered harmless before it became a theme of one of the Karpov-Kasparov matches. Thereafter it was reasonably popular for a while.

Referring to the US Championship is altogether odd: Nakamura and Kamsky know that something like +5 might be required for first place; hence they try hard to beat nominally weaker players. But their direct game may also turn out to be "devoid of fight" (depending on the tournament situation at that stage). Anand and Gelfand know that +1 means mission accomplished, and 6/12 means tiebreaks rather than match over.

Anonymous's picture

Plus BG's outside passed pawn...check out the position with one pair of rooks and one pair of bishops removed.....Hardly a draw but likely a win for Black.

arkan's picture

I really hope they used game 1 to get started, a series of boring and badly played draws like this would be a shame

Bombo's picture

badly played? what are you talking about??

redivivo's picture

A thriller!

Raj's picture

Expected the game to be advantageous for white after Anand's 16th move, but it was not to be.

Harish Srinivasan's picture

Interesting headlines here and on chessvibes. Chessbase says "favorable to Anand though Gelfand neutralized the dangers". I dont think the game requires deeper analysis to reveal what was really happening.

Konstrikt's picture

Why can't we have one long thread. These subpages are annoying to read through!

RealityCheck's picture


Anonymous's picture


redivivo's picture


Lee's picture

Also have to agree. 10 comments per page? Far too few.

Anonymous's picture


From your mouths to Peter's ears!

Anno's picture

Second that!

Beelzebub's picture


Zeblakob's picture


Anonymous's picture

Sometimes ads pay according to number of page views. Each time the page reloads = 1 page view.
Everyone has to make money.

bondegnasker's picture

Yep, really annoying. Especially because we can add comments in mid-thread (like this one). That means you have to go through all subpages anyway to see what is new.

Harish Srinivasan's picture

BTW, a side news. Anand and Karjakin will be playing in the double round robin in Bazna kings tournament next month. This was confirmed by Karjakin when he was commenting live along with Nigel Short on the official site.

Anonymous's picture

Draw? You must be joking....imagine two boxers after five rounds deciding to stop and go home. Why does FIDE allow this?

Bartleby's picture

It was only the first round. They changed a few punches, tested the opponent's reactions. Gelfand showed confidence and grabbed the initiative. Anand showed accuracy when he was in a tight spot. Try to find the right measure of counterplay in such an asymmetric position yourself once! They are here for the title, not for the show. Good start. Tomorrow will be the second round.

Anonymous's picture

Because it's not boxing.

Sanjeevi's picture

The "Comments" section links to next / last pages takes us to an unrelated page, please fix this.

Lee's picture

Despite it being a short draw, I found the game after 9. d5 interesting and tense. Boris went very red in the face for quite some time after that move and so perhaps this was a surprise to him.

The commentary by Short (and Karjakin later on) on the official site was entertaining. It looked like they weren't using computer assistance and I thank and salute them for that.

grabapawnalotski's picture

i agree Shipov is Quality ,,,but so is nigel... very entertaining ..was that a flat coke or vino in his tumbler ?!

rdecredico's picture

What's with this lame way to generate page views?

Consolidate into one commenting thread else you going to lose people and will have gained nothing.

fen's picture

Completely agree. The current format is very irritating.

Peter Doggers's picture

We always try to make the site more user-friendly and the 'pager for comments' was intended for that. Unfortunately it had the opposite effect! We've changed the number of comments per page to 50, so it should be better from now on.

Konstr's picture

Thx. But even for 50 it can become annoying once you have an exciting/controversial thread.


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