Reports | 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
Players

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

Founder and editor-in-chief of ChessVibes.com, 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.

Chess.com

Comments

Szoker's picture

This is seriously a terrible World Champioship match..

boring as hell short games..

well maybe one game was interesting..

a format is terrible imo.. they should make it winner takes at least 80% of the prize and longer match. this way they would fight really hard for the win I think.

visy's picture

I dont know about you guys' expectations but todays match was great and good learning as well.

Ians's picture

If you raise the money stakes , there is more risk taking , 30 years of high stakes Poker cash games tournament proved it . The more the reward is , the more risks will be taken , but ok i respect your opinion

noyb's picture

Some fans are Roman, desiring a "bloodbath", but this is good chess. It's nice to see two professionals with a high degree of skill carefully sizing eachother up. WC matches should be longer than 12 games! This is not an exhibition, it's for the World Championship. 16 games minimum, I prefer the original 24, with ties going to the WC.

Anonymous's picture

Good chess?? I am amazed by the people still swallowing this and keep on defending players who don't want to fight. It is a huge embarrassment to chess, to sponsors and to chess fans.

christos's picture

What is left to fight for in this position? You can make them play fifty more moves in this position (at gunpoint, perhaps) but it will still be a draw. You are probably frustrated because they are able evaluate a chess position, whereas you are not.

Niima's picture

Good point noyb.

Roberto's picture

Hi mates!
Computers and opening preparation are not the problem! Real problem is attitude!! Both players want to take zero risks, then, we have boring draws... Please remember the match Anand - Topalov, many exciting games!! Topalov was a real fighter, able to take risks... Anand and Gelfand are pragmatic personalities, you should not expect many exciting games from them in a Wch match...

adtriano's picture

Roberto do u remember that during this match most of the fans had criticized Topalov for playing under Sofia rules with no short draws, do u remember his victory in 8 th game in equal possition. Hope this fans are very satisfied with this controversial and exciting match Anand - Gelfand-}}}

Anonymous's picture

Anand - Gelfand both do not have 1/10 of Topalov fighting spirit,prefering to play only moves prepared by programs=

Chess Fan's picture

Right, we saw how your hero fought properly on real chess terms with both Anand and Kramnik. When we want to know the true strength of Anand we will come to experts like you and Topolov. Till then, keep your esteemed opinions also ANONYMOUS, and stay quiet in Bulgaria or whichever little hole you are from.

Anonymous's picture

A hole is the country in whitch u live

Harish Srinivasan's picture

From a fact perspective, that position in the 8th game was not an equal one. GM Harikrishna kibitzing on ICC, detailed out a winning plan (which actually got published at several sites eg. http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=6309) for white as soon as the endgame arose otb. And this was precisely what Topalov did and won the game.

Anonymous's picture

Looking for a reason why media aren't interested in chess anymore? Looking for a reason why sponsors don't want to invest in chess tournaments anymore and top tournaments are getting scarcer? Here you have it: Anand-Gelfand. 1.5 hours of work today, another draw, no excitement, no risk taking, just trade pieces and go home. Another huge disappointment for the people paying to visit this match and for the chess enthousiasts at home.

Anonymous's picture

Perfectly stated....Is it time for S-chess to move into the top level of chess?

neil's picture

I think anand's 'big' bouffant comb over is costing him 50 elo points - due to toxic chemicals seeping through his skull, causing brain constipation- gelfand is more honest, doing his natural best ;-)

ps just waiting for the shit to hit the fan ... or fans

Matt's picture

Fide should bring back the old format of candidates matches; the current format produce lucky winners like grischuk or gelfand.
Wow, a draw in 27 moves, so exciting......

rob's picture

This was not a winning attempt as white.. (I think I saw this game before..?!) I hope Anand comes up with something better in his next white. The same goes for Gelfand.

PurpleCalx's picture

The World Championship format needs changing. Combine the World Championship match and the Candidates tournament to create a World Championship Match Tournament. The World Champion plays against his 3 challengers in a 6 round round robin. He ends up having to play 18 games but no-one can risk draws! Huge entertainment.

rob's picture

Sounds great indeed.

Niima's picture

Indeed not bad. Perhaps throw in the 3-1 (win-draw) rule as well?

Ians's picture

Nice idea PurpleCalx , sounds really appealing

frendu's picture

Aidin@
means people wanting result asap DONT UNDERSTAND CHESS....And if they understand chess then i think they certainly dont understand what does wcc title mean.....wcc is certainly a lot lot bigger than US championship or other tournaments where aronian and carlsen participate throughout the year travelling around the world.......for these two players playing in wcc is just a dream so far...

Tom Gally's picture

Both of them are laughing all the way to the bank. Not only is this the worst chess match ever but probably the worst sporting match ever. I get more amusement from 2 toddlers playing catch the ball and I even love chess. Think of how you can get people interested in chess, apparently the world championship is just that: Chess' worst promotion. You'd be better off as a sport by not having it.

Thank heavens for the US championship.

Aidin's picture

I cant agree with you frendu@. Cairlsen can beat Gelfand with a fighting chess show and no merci !

Harish Srinivasan's picture

Its not clear why Anand or Gelfand should take risk. Just for the public? After all, at the end the winner can always say "my strategy worked". If risk in chess is possibly striving for double edged positions with lots of tactics involved then clearly taking risks did not help Kramnik. Who knows if Kramnik had played in his super solid style that he is known for, he might have come out better in the match. If Topalov had not gone bizarre in his last game, who knows what might have happened, in fact there did come across a position where Topalov could have attempted a move repetition in the last game.

It seems over here, that both Anand and Gelfand think they can win the match with their current strategy. We will soon know who was wrong. In some sense, the tension is building more with each draw.

To ask the players to play on in an equal position is a different story though and does not please many. for eg. GM Alex Yermolinksy on ICC game of the day mentioned that rather than play 34 odd moves in game 4, they might as well have shook hands 10 moves earlier since there was nothing in the position.

cip's picture

If the WCh was a Round Robin tournament, Gelfand and Anand would have played just 2 games against each other. However exciting those two Round Robin games might have been, no one can say they would be better entertainment than the whole match, more than half of which wasn't even played yet. More games, more fun.

If you long for one or two exciting games, just wait and see. At some point someone will break through and from then on, there will have to be bloodlust. We must remember that the players have a different repertoire for different match situations.

I myself am just kind of disappointed game 3 wasn't decisive. But I enjoy the tension. When we get to the final games, with the rapids looming in the near future, do you think these two will keep playing the safe lines? (both Anand and Topa stepped it up in the end, if I recall correctly)

milan kovacs's picture

for me this is the worst world championship match ever, even Kramnik-Leko was better!
having seen Anand-Topalov a few years ago in person I think this is ridiculous!

Harish Srinivasan's picture

On a side note, for those who want an exciting game take a look at Kasparov-Kramnik in the Sveshnikov albeit a 11.c3 variation instead of chosen c4 by Anand. http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1070747

Having said, if this game had been played today, the computer kibitzers and complainers will latch on and say weak play by white (and not worthy of wch) since after all, black had a clean defense in 25...Bd5 instead of his 25...Re8.

Bartleby's picture

This one game was the first that didn't get me involved. Perhaps that's because I don't know much about the Sveshnikov, but I can appreciate from first-hand experience the subtle precision that is needed in those nearly equalizing Semi-Slav lines. Would be needed, in my case. But what's the point of all those complaints? This is a championship, not a popularity contest. The Najdorf will appear when it fits in Boris' game plan. And maybe not much will happen there either, given that both are experts. Let's watch the entertainers in St Louis tonight, and enjoy the suspense when the masters skillfully deny each other winning chances in Moscow.

arne's picture

International press don't care about the match at all. Only covered by media from india. Not good for chess at all...

PurpleCalx's picture

They can choose whatever strategy they like. However, one player has to lose and I'll warrant they will wish they had taken more risks when they do.

MH's picture

It's not the world championship format that causes these dull games, it's the players. When Carlsen and Caruana would play each other, then you would see good fighting chess. Prediction: Anand wins this match, then we get Anand-Carlsen and after that Carlsen-Caruana. So we need to be a little bit patient here ;-)

Chess Fan's picture

To the bunch of whiners and arm-chair chess quarterbacks here - if you are so much better than these two, you are free to compete for the next world championship or ask your hero Magnus Carlsen to qualify and make it more interesting.
While doing something that constructive from your perspective, go ahead and watch soccer, car racing or wrestling, and leave this chess world championship to real unconditional chess lovers like me.

visy's picture

+1

MH's picture

I think everybody here loves chess, otherwise we wouldn't be following this match. Anand and Gelfand are good players, and we all respect them. But we can be disappointed by the lack of fighting chess on the board so far. One of them needs to win, so the other needs to take risk, then it will be better. By the way I also have season tickets for a soccer team in my country, they are average, but at least they go for it every game.

Chess Fan's picture

Right Soccer games are most interesting. Just need to follow the World Cup games, FIGHTING to a 0-0 draw and deciding by penalty kicks after overtime. Come here in America and ask the average america how exciting European soccer is as compared to real man's football.

Szoker's picture

What a douche you are !

Nobody said anything about being better.. all that we are saying is that as the chess fans, we are DISAPPOINTED in this year's WORLD FREAKIN CHAMPIONSHIP match.. hello ?? its WC for christ sake.. dont these players want to win ? they can smile all they want during the press conference, but at the board ? they should throw at eachother's throats !!!

chess is a BATTLE game.. its so much better when its lively.. not closed and boring..

Geez..

Anonymous's picture

As it is, too many positions have been analyzed into the late middle game. Maybe it's time for FIDE to give S-chess a try.

neil's picture

anand is having a bad hair day in this match- it will be a close shave!!

Chess Fan's picture

I "neil" down to your expert opinion about haircuts and world Champions.

Martijn's picture

OK so it is not an exhibition, But still. What kid is ever going to replay all of this and marvel at the beauty of the game? You just have to look back to the 20th century and see how many matches were fought where the outcome was at least as important to the players, even though the financial reward was considerably less. But what a difference.

cip's picture

One book I studied when I was kind of serious about chess was the entire collection of WCh games. Let me tell you, more than half of the games there were "boring" and some of the older matches saw some moves so bad that myself as a beginner would cringe.
Still, there was a fair bit to learn about the history of the game and how chess developed. This match is in no way less interesting from that point of view. Kids will replay the games and marvel.

Martijn's picture

I am really sorry you cringed. Was it Capablanca- Lasker? Euwe-Aljechin? Tal-Botwinnik? Spassky-Fischer? At any rate I would not think that kids aspiring to be grandmasters one day are going to be inspired by these particular games.

cip's picture

I'm sorry I don't have the book around anymore. I could check my old notes.
The funniest and silliest thing I remember was this one game where resignation happened in an objectively better position. I don't remember if it was in a match, or in one of the tournaments for WCh title.

Nicholas's picture

As Gelfand seems happy with such results, I don''t think he will change his opening preparation for game 6.

Tomorrow, he will go for 1 d4, and if Anand wants to equalize safely, he will go for the Meran. Nevertheless, if Anand, wants to take risks with Black, then he should go for the King's Indian Defence. Spectators would appreciate a fight.

neil's picture

it could be argued that we are all A.D.D - wanting instant gratification..but
what we need is a grand tournament 8 players 4 rounds.. impossible for computers to aid to completely aid preparation- the variables in style and substance would be too much -they would have too play. also they should be paid per win

neil's picture

it could be argued that we are all A.D.D - wanting instant gratification..but
what we need is a grand tournament 8 players 4 rounds.. impossible for computers to aid to completely aid preparation- the variables in style and substance would be too much -they would have too play. also they should be paid per win

neil's picture

yeah i have aids ;-)

Aidin's picture

Seems like Kasparov has been invited to paricipate in upcoming round show ( friday) to motivate two players !

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