Reports | June 03, 2012 19:09

Anand-Gelfand: the aftermath (UPDATE)

Anand-Gelfand: the aftermath

The Anand-Gelfand World Championship match finished four days ago, but the news stream hasn't stopped yet. Vladimir Putin inviting the players at his office, Anand's arrival in India, Gelfand's return to Israel, the reactions on Twitter, Kasparov's criticism, Anand's reaction... In this article we'll mention the most important developments since Wednesday and include the most striking quotes.

Gelfand and Anand shaking hands with Vladimir Putin on Thursday morning | Photo © Presidential Press and Information Office, Kremlin

Not long after they finished their tiebreak, both Vishy Anand and Boris Gelfand were invited for a cup of tea by Russian President Vladimir Putin. The meeting took place on Thursday morning in Novo-Ogaryovo, an estate in the Odintsovo District of Moscow Oblast to the west of the city and a suburban official residence of the President. The Kremlin website provided a transcript and here's part of it:

VISWANATHAN ANAND: I’ve been coming to Moscow from the mid-1980s to practice chess and I must admit that I have benefited immensely from interacting with Russian chess players and the school of chess here. I’ve always enjoyed my visits to Russia and this time especially the organisation was superlative.

We played in a very beautiful gallery, the Tretyakov. Overall I would say I enjoyed the Russian hospitality a lot this time.

I would like to thank Mr President for taking the time to meet us. For us, this is a great honour.

VLADIMIR PUTIN: Thank you very much for your kind words about Russia. I hope that you will visit Russia and our cities many times in the future. You are the world champion, and I am sure that chess fans, and other people as well, will always enjoy any activities with your participation.

BORIS GELFAND: I grew up in Minsk and every time I came to Moscow I visited the Tretyakov Gallery, a wonderful museum, and I could not even dream that one day I will play in the world championship final in this wonderful museum and a treasury of Russian art.

Due to the busy Moscow traffic, the players almost arrived too late for the closing ceremony! We were told that Boris Gelfand spent his last night in Moscow with his wife and his team. The Anand team in fact was invited for dinner by the Ambassador of India for Russia, Ajai Malhotra.

Friday was mostly spent travelling. On Saturday Anand received a special reception at the Chennai airport as a huge crowd had gathered, among them many school children wearing Vishy masks. Government and chess federation officials were also present. Here's a video by NDTV.

Upon Anand's arrival, the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, madam J. Jayalalithaa, announced an award of Rs.2/- Crores (US $360,000 / EUR 290,000) for Anand, and mentioned the support from the Tamil Nadu government for a local chess in schools project. Meanwhile, the All Indian Chess Federation has thanked the CM for her gesture in a press release.

Although he didn't win the match, Boris Gelfand was certainly welcomed as a winner when he returned to Israel. He landed at Tel-Aviv airport on Friday and according to YNet News, all those present at the terminal gave Gelfand a round of applause, as dozens of fans held up signs and presented him with flowers. Gelfand thanked those present, saying that he was very touched and satisfied.

I didn't realize it will be like this. I heard that people in Israel closely followed and that the entire nation watched the games. I was truly excited, and I hope this will elevate chess in Israel to its rightful place. I think it's a very good thing for the public that every child will know what chess is.

Below is a video of Gelfand's arrival at Tel-Aviv airport.

You can find more about Gelfand's return to Israel in this Chessbase report. To the Haaretz newspaper, he said that "the great support in Israel is a huge thing" for him.

Already on Thursday, Gelfand seemed reasonably down-to-earth about his loss. Here's how he described his feelings to the same newspaper:

It happens, like in Barcelona against Chelsea, when it led 2-0 against 10 players and also got the penalty kick. I can also score a goal sometimes and miss a penalty kick. All in all it was a great duel. I can only regret one truly mystical moment in the third game of the tie-breaker series, when I had an advantage and then I moved my rook away that 999 times out of a 1,000 I wouldn't dream of doing. I came here feeling sure of myself, but I played against a great master who was absolutely capable of causing me problems and also of handling some of the new things thrown at him by my team. Up until the 10th game I was pretty much in control, and then Anand recovered, thanks to his hard work and that of his team of advisers.

More and more chess personalities are active on Twitter. We've collected a few reactions:

Judit Polgar
What a nail-biting tie break at the WC! I certainly enjoyed every moment of the play off. (...)

Ian Nepomniachtchi
Congratulations to Vishy Anand, who retains his title! But my sympathy prize undoubtedly goes to Boris :-)

ECU President Silvio Danailov tweeted:

Nobody said the truth.Very boring match for chess was saved by the tiebreak and the brilliant organization from the Russian Chess Federation

Well, as we know Mr Danailov wasn't exactly the only one who complained about a lack of excitement in Moscow. We'll just mention GM David Smerdon's blog post  and GM Judit Polgar's blog post, in which she wrote:

Some say the 12 classical games were not so exciting. I have admit, I think that some of them could have been played out longer really. On the other hand, the rules do not forbid to offer a draw any time of the game at all. So when you have big, no sorry, ENORMOUS pressure and there is nothing more you want but to win the overall match and you believe that half a point makes you to get closer then, of course, you do not care about the spectators, if they are happy with what they see or not.

Levon Aronian
Congrats to World Champion Anand! Great comeback in the later stage of the match! Gelfand deserves a praise for his creative & dynamic play!

Mig Greengard
@LevAronian What, did they play another match? ; )

Levon Aronian
@chessninja How come the less a person knows about a subject, the more he treats it with disrespect.

Gata Kamsky
Looking at the last few world chess champ matches, it makes me sad that chess at present is 80% preparation and only 20% is about the game.

It's time to start looking at one of Fischer's greatest inventions, fischerandom chess. No more teams of helpers, or even draws, pure chess!

Since the demise of the Mainz events, perhaps FIDE should consider at least trying to make fischerandom startup events and ratings.

Because, fischerandom chess, imho, is the future...mark my words.

Pentala Harikrishna
Brilliant victory!!!

(Natalija Pogonina collected a few more tweets with reactions about the match.)

One of the strongest reactions on the match came from Garry Kasparov. Shortly after the match, the 13th World Champion spoke with Sergey Shipov, who posted the comments on his forum

Anand played a terrible match, but it seems it wasn't meant to be that Gelfand would beat such a weakened opponent. Anand played wonderfully in the 2008 match against Kramnik, adequately against Topalov in 2010, while his current play is on an entirely different level. The tie-break was beneath contempt...


Anand got lucky that Gelfand qualified to play him. If the Candidates Matches in Kazan had been run under the 6-6-8 system (6 games in the quarter-finals and semi-finals and 8 in the final) then Gelfand's chances of getting to the World Championship final would have been minimal. Someone else would have played Anand and he could have won. Let's say, Grischuk. Never mind the fact that Carlsen would have played in Kazan in that case.

I'll repeat once more that the current match for the title had nothing whatsoever to do with determining the strongest chess player in the world.

(Translation by Colin McGourty)

Deccan Chronicle quoted Anand's reaction to Kasparov's comments, described as a "rare display of irritation".

I think that this is the first time I have played a match where so many people seemed to have negative opinion about my play. And the thing is I do not think I lacked motivation. [Kasparov] keeps talking about my age but I could just as well say Boris (Gelfand) is even slightly older. I think the problem is all the people who started out assuming that I was the heavy favourite in this match were reluctant to admit that their prognosis was wrong. (...) This was Gelfand playing well and me trying to play equally well, hang in there and wait for my chance. But all those people who said I was a favourite were reluctant to admit that they were wrong and were simply saying that I lacked motivation and was playing badly and so on and on. And I definitely feel like I proved something here. (...) But it was very satisfying, especially when the ambiance around you is so negative. In the press conference they more or less keep repeating what people like Kasparov said. It is not secret that I have had difficulty in a couple of tournaments and my confidence therefore suffers a bit. But I think under those circumstances if you can hang in there and win like this then it is all the more satisfying.

We'll conclude, by popular demand, with one more photo of the splendid trophy won by Anand - the one provided by the Tretyakov Gallery and designed & made by Andrei Molchanovsky.

The photo was in fact taken by Eric van Reem at the start of the match, which gives us the opportunity to mention one last time his highly entertaining blog about the match!


Update June 4, 08:23 CET: Anand gave an even stronger reaction to Kasparov at a press conference on Saturday, which was quoted by several Indian media, e.g. Times of India:

He is the man who regrets leaving chess. He misses the attention he got in chess, somehow wants to be there. May be he should play again. Kasparov retired in 2005, he has been trying to make me retire since 2011. You just have to develop a thick skin as a public figure.

And here's a lengthy interview with Vishy and Aruna Anand by IBN Live:

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.


RealityCheck's picture

@S3 "But I'm pretty sure that Gelfand didn't need/get help of state agencies if that is implied. Both contestants are fair players, they ain't like Kasparov who will do anything to win".

Acutualy, getting some help from the State of Israel and/or Russia was implied but, not with the negative connotations associated with any Dirty Garry involvement.

Boy I am glad the stench of a cheap, un-sportsman like Garry Kasparov victory didn't foul the air.

But, it just seemed natural for them, the States, to back Gelfand. Especially when his support base staged names like Netanyahu, Sharansky, Bushinsky, Levitov, Filatov, et cetera.

We all know, the World Chess Champion is still a viable symbol to used by politicians.

S3's picture

Did you see how Anand is exactly describing your behavior? Before the match you said Gelfand was not worthy as a challenger and now you've changed it into critique of Anand.

Adam's picture

Thomas yes Gelfand is speaking in Hebrew in this video! :)

ssd's picture

poor kasparov .. deprived of attention, hoping vishy will retire as he did .. only vishy keeps retaining the title whilst he lost under his own terms and politics .. sad sad .. and really sad that the pro-kasparov brigade like chessninja, pogonina etc keeps parroting him .. he is history .. hail the new champions .. Aronian, magnus, kramnik, radjabov etc .. may the best man win

S3's picture

Anand has shown himself to be a greater match fighter at this age, I don't think Kasparov takes kindly to that.

Niima's picture

Kasparov does not take kindly to anyone who poses a challenge to his bloated ego.

Anonymous's picture

Thanks so much for the player comments on the match. Kasparov's opinions should be given the highest value (Check out "My Great Predecessors" to see GK's great love and knowledge of the history of the game).

abhishek's picture

dude...he din t write that book.....he jst put his name there...later it was found that the material was copied frm many sources

Anonymous's picture

Thanks so much for the player comments on the match. Kasparov's opinions should be given the highest value (Check out "My Great Predecessors" to see GK's great love and knowledge of the history of the game).

ssd's picture

somehow biased opinions about contemporaries isnt my idea of "knowledge of the game". Love for the game and personal ego can often be confused. Anyways i am wasting my time here. Please read comments of current greats like Aronian, Giri, Ponomariov and Kramnik .. and not biased opinions

Anonymous's picture


RealityCheck's picture

As regards classical chess, Kamsky is history. It is time for HIM to move on to Chess960. Leave the rest of us out of it. Thank you.

RealityCheck's picture

On a more serious note, the trophy is worth the champioship alone. Impeccable!
Does any one know of a website showing the illustrious winners Trophies won by our world champions over the years?

S3's picture

no website but a google image search for chess world championship trophies does the trick.

John C's picture

World Chess Champion - a hollow title. So, what's the big deal?

The current WC is not the strongest player in the world and not having to survive the grind of qualifying rounds for the new match has always given the WC a distinct advantage going into the contest.

Anand in reality is just another strong player and definitely not the most entertaining. The only big deal is the world of professional chess needing a "champion" and of course, the prize money.

An unbiased chess fan's picture

very well said

Minguel's picture

How about checking the qualifiers that Anand himself went through to qualify for the right to challenge the world champion.

Check the statistics and you will know that Anand went through far more candidates matches than any of the current players.

RealityCheck's picture

"I'll repeat once more that the current match for the title had nothing whatsoever to do with determining the strongest chess player in the world."
We know Garry, Bobby Fischer did not compete in this one either.

Gert's picture

I don't agree. Anand is at the moment the strongest player in the world. If i'am right he is now almost 5 years world champion (longer than Fischer :-) !). In a match you really see who's the best. In a single tournament there are to much other things that influence the results.

slonik's picture

Yes, if Anand is ever so slightly better than Gelfand in rapid he has to be the best player in the world even though he hasn't beaten a top ten player since 2010

John C's picture

@Gert " a match you really see who's the best..." Yes, of the two playing the match. Anand was barely better and not in classical chess over Gelfand!!

Do you remember the Nakamura blowing Gelfand off the board a while back? Ever see Fischer or Kasparov humiliated like that in their prime?

Thomas's picture

"Ever see ... Kasparov humiliated like that in their prime?"
What about this game against - if I am not mistaken - one of Gelfand's seconds?
I wouldn't make a big story out of a single game ... . Else we can argue that Nakamura is simply the best because he beat Gelfand, Anand, Aronian and Kramnik in classical games and won a blitz match against Carlsen. Or we could consider that he also lost some games against the same opponents, Or we could call Svidler simply the very best based on his score against Nakamura.

bronkenstein's picture

Just remember Kaspy´s post-London(2000) bitterness, same old tune, same story about ´the strongest´ (...that refuses to compete, opting for political pressure instead).

As long as we have Kaspy & Danailov around, the fun is guaranteed =)

T's picture

I thought Kasparov retired from profesional chess, but no, he is still around...

S3's picture

Yep, he retired after he lost the title in a match and when he got to old to get it back let alone defend it. He should take lessons from Anand.

bronkenstein's picture

It is controversial whether he lost the title or not during that private exhibitional friendly match, or maybe, according to some authorities, it happened long time before that, back in 1993 ;)

So long, Kaspy has 4 undisputed titles, same as Vishy, but Anand is still counting... =)

Fireblade's picture

Kasparov regrets leaving chess: Anand
Press Trust of India / Chennai June 03, 2012, 14:55

Hitting back at Garry Kasparov, world champion Viswanathan Anand today said the Russian legend's remark about him was nothing but frustration of a player, who misses "attention" and "regrets his retirement" from the game.

Kasparov, during Anand's world championship match against Boris Gelfand, had said that the Indian lacked motivation and was "sliding downhill" these years.

However, Anand succesfully defended his crown, which was a befitting answer to his critics such as Kasparov.

"We were asked about his remarks. He is the man who regrets leaving chess. He misses the attention he got in chess, somehow wants to be there. May be he should play again," Anand said at his first press conference in the country after winning his fifth world title.

Anand said maybe Kasparov wants him to retire.

"Kasparov retired in 2005, he has been trying to make me retire since 2011. You just have to develop a thick skin as a public figure," he said.

When Anand had drawn the sixth straight game against Gelfand during the world championship in Moscow, Kasparov hit out at the Indian, saying: "What I think with Vishy is that he has lost motivation. Gelfand hasn't won a single game against Vishy since 1993.

"As for Vishy, I think he's sliding downhill these (last) years. He wants to win, he knows he's a better player, but it's not enough."

The Indian chess legend said he shuts himself down when he is locked in a tournament, to avoid distraction.

"In general I try not to read anything during world championships. I try to stay in a bubble. The idea is to block it out. He came to the match venue and gave a PC," he said.


Anonymous's picture

What is all this talk about Carlsen being better than Anand? Carlsen Elo is higher because he is a better TOURNAMENT player than Anand but the World Championship is about MATCH play and in that Carlsen is untested.

Also styles make matchups in chess as well as boxing. Carlsen's style is made for Vishy Anand:

"Classical games: Viswanathan Anand beat Magnus Carlsen 6 to 1, with 16 draws.
Including rapid/exhibition games: Viswanathan Anand beat Magnus Carlsen 15 to 9, with 30 draws.
Only rapid/exhibition games: Viswanathan Anand beat Magnus Carlsen 9 to 8, with 14 draws."

On the other hand Vishy's style is made for Levon Aronian:

"Classical games: Levon Aronian beat Viswanathan Anand 6 to 1, with 13 draws.
Including rapid/exhibition games: Levon Aronian beat Viswanathan Anand 10 to 6, with 24 draws.
Only rapid/exhibition games: Viswanathan Anand beat Levon Aronian 5 to 4, with 11 draws."

"*The figures above are based only on games present in our database which may be incomplete."


h8dgeh0g's picture

Your statement might be quite reasonable, but using statistics to support it is not. The statistics include top form anand playing kid carlsen, so obviously the score will be lopsided. let a past-his-prime anand play for another 10 years, a top form carlsen might get over his weakness and swing the record against anand in his favor.

in principle, comparing head to head record of two players who have very little overlap in the playing span is wrong. just saying.

giovlinn's picture

Like Fischer would say: those were old games....Also Carlsen is still "young"
Let's wait and see how Anand will play in the future.

Abhi's picture

lengthly interview of Anand -

bronkenstein's picture

Ty for the link, Abhi :)

boardgame's picture

I think he is not completely wrong about Kasparov's motivation to talk like that. And if Anand wants to become the next Korchnoi (even though it's still a long way to go), who can blame him. It's his profession.

RealityCheck's picture

@boardgame Kortchnoi? Why would Anand aspire to be like him? Victor leTerrible has never won a world championship. And, he won't win one-- even in a 100 years!

lefier's picture

Anand is obviously aware himself that his play has been weakening the last couple of years. His comments to a couple of lost tournament-games lately shows that he is no more confident with his play in complicated positions outside his safe repertoire. Consequently he plays only safe, not aspiring for wins through sharp fight anymore. Knowing that any top10-player would now beat him in a wc-match. I guess we will see him retire within a year or two.

Calvin Amari's picture

The disappointing thing is that Anand at his peak was a tactical machine who nobody could out calculate. While those skills apparently have eroded somewhat - enough to present problems when facing today’s very top players - I believe that he would markedly outperform Gelfand in sharp, imbalanced positions in a comfortable majority of games. Witness game 8. One would have thought that seeking such positions would have been his match strategy. But match rules are what they are and it is clear that willingness to head to tiebreaks was a very big part of Vishy’s strategy. Every easy draw in the classical games was not so much Gelfand fighting like a lion as much as it was Vishy implementing his hold-firm-until-tiebreak strategy. Perhaps he thought that Gelfand, like Toiletov, would towards the end of the classical part of the match take unreasonable risk to avoid a tiebreak with Vishy. That did not take place. Gelfand did not employ the same desperate measures as Toiletov in a similar position, but his chances in the tiebreaks were no better than Toiletov’s. The same strengths that make Vishy better than Gelfand in sharper positions predictably gave him an edge in the rapid games.

This all was a reasonable strategy but it is curious, and perhaps telling, why Vishy viewed the hold-on-until-tiebreak strategy as more promising than seeking more imbalanced open chess positions in the classical games.

Adam's picture

Well said!

Anonymous's picture

You got me at 'Toiletov' :)

dorian's picture

I'm happy Anand defended the title, and I'm happy about Boris playing like a real lion; after all the difference between the two was the third rapid blunder by teh latter, but of course we have the tendency of remembering trophies only [with all the pros and cons you might wanna put to it].

now, although I'm one of the "paranoids" who still believe Aronian had the last game set over breakfast with Radjabov at the 74th Tata, this time I cannot disagree to the armenian, who twitter stated that those who don't know a damn about chess are the ones to yell "whatta boring WC match".

come to psychology, Kasparov used this people whining in slapping both Putin (the man who put him in a cell for Christ's sake!!), who IMHO invited over both players not so much because of the government protocol requirements, as much as for wanting AGAIN to dominate Kasparov in a "see, I can beat you in your favorite game too" style, and Anand, who as the usual "nice guy", spends praising words to the country Russia, a country which many, KASPAROV INCLUDED, have sued being a totalitarian one, thanks to Putin.

yes, I'm an Anand fan, Vishy is a Godsent over that 64 square board, I found this match other than boring for I lived every single move out of it, but come to the above reasoning, I would have acted like Garry, over and over again, throughout lifetime. This evident dissociation takes Vishy on some coward ground in my eyes; history will tell

KingTal's picture

I think Putin gives a damn about Kasparov, because Kasparov doesn´t have political value in Russia. Also don´t forget who Kasparov is working for, the West elites, who are zero interested in a strong Russian country, so it doesn´t surprise that he is always bitching about Putin...

kaspy is idiot's picture

kasparov is irrlevant in politics and completely irrelevant in chess , top grand masters like nakamura have said that without his opening prep kasparov is zero

Anonymous's picture

Nakamura is an idiot for saying that. As Kasparov said, his games speak for themselves and you can look at them from move 20 on. When Naka even wins one championship then he is in a position to criticize a World Champion.

Anonymous's picture

So much trolling in the same post.

RealityCheck's picture

From the Daily News:

Anand firmly rejected the idea of him turning to politics after retirement, like former World champion Garry Kasparov did, but that he was looking forward to the title defence in two years' time.

KingTal's picture

A match like Aronian - Kramnik should be arranged for Anand and Kasparov to shut up Kasparov already... he´s reduced to bitching around about things he wouldn´t do better himself, what a donkey.

Coco Loco's picture

Someone should say this clearly to Kasparov: Gelfand is now stronger than you are, so stfu!

Also, great reply from Aronian to Mig's tweet! ("How come the less a person knows about a subject, the more he treats it with disrespect")

classic's picture

An answer to Aronian:
"How come the more a person is involved on personal level with participants or organizers of a match, the more he treats it with excessive praise"

Anonymous's picture

An answer to 'classic':
"How come the more a person is informed on the personal involvement level a player have with participants or organizers of a match, the more he treats it with ignorance".

An unbiased chess fan's picture

Can anyone please explain this - its in indian newspaper times of india

Title defence costs Viswanathan Anand rating points
TNN Jun 2, 2012, 12.54AM IST

The defence of the title has cost Anand 11 rating points and he has dropped to the No. 6 position now. As the Moscow match ended in a tie (rapid games not counted for Fide ratings), Anand had a rating of 2727, which was Gelfand's rating, and the Israeli had a performance rating of 2791, which was Anand's rating. Anand's loss of points became Gelfand's gain for the period.

nis's picture

wht is there to explain, 12 match game means that u have very little margin for error , many top players have said that [kramnik repeatedly emphasized this]


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