May 17, 2012 15:31

Anand-Gelfand G5, a Sveshnikov Sicilian, drawn after 27 moves (VIDEO)

Anand-Gelfand G5, a Sveshnikov Sicilian, drawn after 27 moves (VIDEO)

While Evgeny Sveshnikov attended the World Championship match in Moscow for the first time, Vishy Anand and Boris Gelfand played "his" opening today. For the first time in this match the World Champion played 1.e4, and the challenger chose the defence that has three names: Sveshnikov, Pelikan or Chelyabinsk. Black equalized comfortably and a draw was agreed on move 27. The score is 2.5-2.5 with seven more games to play.

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

There was some excitement at the start of game 5 in Moscow today, but unfortunately it was short-lived. Unlike in his previous white games, Vishy Anand didn't play 1.d4 but instead chose 1.e4. Boris Gelfand was of course prepared for this ("It's not the most rare move. If you prepare for a World Championship match, you have to be ready for 1.e4," he said afterwards) and only briefly reacted by looking up to the ceiling for half a second, and then firmly responded with 1...c5, the Sicilian.

But which Sicilian would it be? After Anand developed his king's knight, Gelfand did not push his queen's pawn one square, which would normally lead to the Najdorf variation, but instead he put his queen's knight to c6. A few moments later it became clear which surprise weapon the Israeli had cooked up against 1.e4: the Sveshnikov.

Gelfand plays 5...e5 - the Sveshnikov/Pelikan/Chelyabinsk Sicilian

This opening had been played only once before in a World Championship match, in 1910 by Emanuel Lasker against Karl Schlechter (who played the dubious 6.Nb3). It was expected to come on the board in the match between Peter Leko and Vladimir Kramnik in 2004, but it didn't happen.

A wonderful coincidence was that exactly today, Evgeny Sveshnikov himself, the legendary Latvian grandmaster who started playing this system as early as in 1963, attended the match. He entered the press room about 20 minutes into the game, and spoke with many journalists who wanted to know his opinion about the opening. We were one of the first to speak to Sveshnikov, and so you'll see him in the video below (together with GM Alexander Grischuk, who also came to the Tretyakov for the first time and gave commentary for the official website).

Unfortunately that was about all the excitement there was, because also this game quickly petered out to a draw. It became clear even more how well prepared Gelfand is, and today Grischuk praised Gelfand's choice of going for something new or almost new against both 1.d4 and 1.e4. (Gelfand only played the Sveshnikov a few times in his long career, and the last time in a serious game was in 2003.)

Anand played what is currently considered as White's best attempt to get an advantage: 11.c4, where 11.c3 used to be the main line. From the speed with which Gelfand was playing we can conclude that he knew exactly what he was doing. Just after the opening he already neutralized white's first move advantage, and at move 27 Anand offered a draw. To the question whether this had been Gelfand's easiest game, he answered: "Probably, yes."

The two players just before the start of the game 5 press conference

So far the games haven't provided much entertainment, and perhaps as a result of that the players haven't been able to provide very interesting quotes at the press conferences. Today they were asked about the fact that they both have a one year old son at home. Anand:

You can't prepare 24 hours anyway and I think playing with your son is a very enjoyable way to relax a little bit, I mean it certainly brought me a lot of joy. To be fair, I'd have to admit that my wife helped me a lot.

Gelfand said that he didn't see his children much in the past six months, but that he hopes to "make it up this summer".


PGN string

Match score



Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers


dmitry's picture

oh man what a slugfest! Not for the faint-hearted!

chesshire cat's picture

I took the metro home and settled down to restart watching the match, hoping for an exciting battle what with having seen e4 and the Sicilian an all...but was already 0.5 - 0.5 lol.

PurpleCalx's picture

A little disappointed today. Not with the draw, they can happen any game, but with the length of the game. I know they are two technical players and we should expect technical draws but...this is the world championship! Someone please take a risk!

Bartleby's picture

Black showed a creative solution how to get the tiny rest of white advantage out of the position quickly. The rest was dull.

saturnz's picture

Anand has no reason to take a risk. Gelfand is the only player with the incentive to take any risks.

joe's picture

Great match today. Though draw

Mike's picture

Just computerized games..What a shame...

arkan's picture

We aren't allowed to complain anymore on chessvibes, we should watch wrestling instead.. i wish i did watch K1 instead of this noobfest

Septimus's picture


guncha's picture

Candidates matches were crap, Wold tiltle match is crap too. It seems that match format is outdated and due to long cycles I doubt these two are the best players. Anand might have been the best in past but at the moment he cannot beat No.17 in the world. And No.17 cannot be credible champion.

What about 4 player round robin once in two years between the World Champion, World No.1, World Cup Winner and proposed Grand Prix Winner? With such kind of format we would have two games a day and players would need to score insted of trying to avoid lossess. Even if one game would be boring draw, the second one might be a fight.

Chess_FM's picture

Mr. or Ms. Guncha, If you had $1.5 M at stake, you would have played the same or even in a more conservative way. Don't blame these players.

Niima's picture

This is not accurate. The match prize is divided 60%-40% between the winner and loser respectively.

Boybawang's picture

This players doesn't deserve a rest day.

Anonymous's picture

" It was once again a technical and positional battle which beginners and amateurs may find difficult to follow, but neither player conceded an inch."
This quote came from chessbase. It explains why all the complaints...too many people watching who don't know sheet about chess but, they have an ipad and some chess programs which like watching CNN, puts them in the know.

nội thất văn phòng's picture

Agreed. This kind of play deserves no rest day. They seem like playing chess in the beach of Hawaii

chesshire cat's picture

Pattern emerging in match: unexpected opening, opt for safe line to return to opening when better prepared, quick draw. Question is how many openings the guys have prepared. If the Sveshnikov appears again we may get more fight. Then again, if Gelfand surprises again with another opening we will probably see safe main line, good Black prep, and draw. The Wch is about money and career, not entertainment. Understood. Pity computers and prep have brought it to this though : ( . How about a new rule forcing both players to drink 12 espressos before every game?

redivivo's picture

"The Wch is about money and career, not entertainment. Understood. Pity computers and prep have brought it to this though"

It was never about entertainment, but has always been entertaining anyway when the participants have been two of the strongest player in the world in good shape. Nothing boring whatsoever in any of the latest title matches, and most of the games were very exciting, but this one is just a dull effort by two tired old players that don't look as if they can beat a top opponent anymore.

Zoli's picture

I almost rolled on the floor from this one :)

Niima's picture

Excellent suggestion chesshire cat! A bottle of wine each (or vodka given the venue) might be even better. That way, we may witness some trash talk or even a fist fight during the game, pieces flying in the air, Anand's wig coming off...

SetNoEscapeOn's picture

Replace "expressos" with "martinis" and we'll get somewhere

Lee's picture

Your plan to liven up the match intrigues me greatly

Ians's picture

If the prize fund was "winner takes it all" (or at least 75% of the prize ) , and using the Bilbao system (3 points for a win , 1 for a draw like in football ) coupled with a longer match (so more opportunities to make up for a loss or increase the lead ) , there would be far more incentives to play risky for both players

But in this match , losing narrowly having played with 0 risks earns you 1 million dollars at least , and there is no point taking too many risks in such a short match

Plus both players are extremely well prepared with black for equalizing and both very cautious with White .... generally speaking not a good omen for spectacle

So only thing left is the pressure that will build up in the last games on the mind of the players , i think this match will be decided by just one win or in the rapid session (which would be a shame ) .

I think the FIDE and Chess community should think about the future of chess if it wants to have more audience and sponsors in the years to come , somehow they have to find a way to encourage creativity and risk taking which are the only " human" thing left in chess IMO ...

the question is how : well for a start , make a victory far more precious , and a loss not that dramatic in the scoring system . Don't count draws in matches only victories , and enforce Sofia rules at all level ( If people are too lazy or don't like playing a drawn position , why do they play chess anyway , stating position is equal ) , so that everyone always presses until the position is mechanically exhausted

Remco Gerlich's picture

In 2 player match the Bilbao system is completely irrelevant. The player who has won more games is ahead. Regardless of whether a draw is worth 0.99 and a win 1, or a draw 0 and a win 100000 points.

Zeblakob's picture

Right Remco !!! :)))) 3-1-0 scoring system is irrelevant here !!

Ians's picture

No it is not , look : Say Anand win 2 games more before game 10 , he will be 2 points ahead , if he wins 2 games with Bilbao system , he will be 6 points ahead

What's the difference ? More incentives to play for a win . Why ? because a draw is a bad result in Bilbao system , you HAVE to win at all costs , thus players HAVE to take more RISKS

Of course in both systems , the player who wins the most is World champion . In any system ...

The point is to chose the one that encourages the most : risk taking , creativity and thinking over the board out of the opening (outside computer )

SetNoEscapeOn's picture

No, you still don't understand. You can call it 2 points or 6 points, or 6 million points, it's still simply +2.

jussu's picture

What strikes me as astounding is that someone who doesn't understand this has still been able to learn the movement of six different pieces. Or maybe the latter is simply not true for the advocates of the football scoring?

Remco Gerlich's picture

Actually I think raising the stakes means the players will take _fewer_ risks. That's precisely it, it's the World Championship at stake (and some money), which is why they can't risk losing at all. Compare it to the friendly Kramnik-Aronian match recently, hardly anything at stake and fun games.

Giving the winner all the money as well (grossly unfair considering the huge cost of preparing for a match like this) would just make them even more risk averse.

Ians's picture

Perhaps it wouldn't change much to the current situation , but at least , the "fighting spirit" would be encouraged by the rules and the general audience would probably like it better

Niima's picture

Give it up lans.

archimedes's picture

if +2 is 2 wins or + 6 is two wins the defecit is the match is the same. The player down must win the same two games to even the score. Write it out.

Calling one dollar 100 cents doesn't make buying a coffee more exciting.

Lee's picture

"Calling one dollar 100 cents doesn't make buying a coffee more exciting."

You have made me laugh sir. Well said.

archimedes's picture

Cheers. :--D

Mauricio Valdes's picture

very dull games so far..I wanna see chessboxing

Mike's picture

US-Chess Championship is also nice! Fighting chess and every player wants to mate the other guy.

Not just play 20 moves of computer prep and then agree a draw because Anand has a 32 core cluster at home and gelfand a 30 core cluster which level up against each other as every player has houdini installed with 3400 elo strength

Thomas's picture

Yeah, maybe that's the solution: throw in a few players rated 2500-2700 and call it a world championship. Decisive games matter more than anything else!!!

SexyZeblakob's picture

I can't wait to see who will be the next world champion of preparation.

Format match with today reality look like F1. This is not always the better driver that win but the one that have the best car.

This is why I praise more a event like raceofchampion where drivers compete with same car

The equivalent for chess is round robin...

Zeblakob's picture

Hi dear, I found out a Serbian_Zeblack for our revo.....
Right idea about cars !!

Anonymous's picture

Wasn't GM Botvinnik the first wch prep-master?

iLane's picture

Short, boring draws. No excitement at all. The official site coverage is a joke. Press conference is between uninteresting and shameful. Sitting there and answering with one words? C'mon guys, that's not fun.
Worst Wch match ever!!!

iLane's picture

...and by the way Korchnoi was right: if you don't hate your opponent you don't want to destroy him at the board, and if you don't want to destroy him you'll play like this. Need more fighting spirit.

Niima's picture

Yeah, like the Fischer-Spassky and Anand-Kramnik matches.

Thomas's picture

Actually I wonder whether the relatively cautious and risk-averse play has to do with the fact that the match is (relatively) long? Maybe both players are patiently waiting for one opportunity, one += position that can be converted ... . In shorter matches they (or at least the one who is more afraid of tiebreaks) have to take more risks earlier on. This doesn't mean that I would want a shorter match.
BTW the official site coverage may still be the best ever for a WCh match. It's rather natural that players don't want to answer questions such as [to Gelfand] "Why did you choose the Sveshnikov? Who was helping you with it?"

cmling's picture

If you consider this match long, you must be young.

What's Next?'s picture

A good and interesting match. The players are doing their best to win a game, but that's not easy these days with all help from strong chess computers. Maybe we have to wait for the rapid games to see the first win.

Aidin's picture

If carlsen was there , I bet Anand will be motivated ! But playing against a lesser famous player .....?!

Zeblakob's picture

People who are CAREFULLY following the WCC games DO NOT UNDERSTAND CHESS.

Aidin's picture

What you mean Zeblakob ?!

Zeblakob's picture

@Aidin. I mean that those players are extremely well prepared and both of them always look for the safest lines. Besides, they give of the impression of thinking OTB, however everything was cooked at home. Who will give me back my 4 hours if I carefully follow the games? WHere is the imagination? taking risks? new chess dimensions ?

Niima's picture

We'll just have to wait for you to get there and give us something better.


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