April 11, 2012 20:31

Gelfand about the World Championship match

I am sure that this will be the best organized match in history

Normally Boris Gelfand would be playing for ShSM-64 in the Russian Team Championship right now, but we all know that he is busy preparing for the Big Match against Vishy Anand. (And the Moscow team found a good replacement: Peter Leko.) Three days ago, on April 8th, Gelfand gave a press conference at the Chess Academy in Tel-Aviv, Israel. The following video was produced and uploaded to YouTube by Aleksander Nesterovsky:

In the first part, which is in Hebrew, the reporter asks: do you feel that this is the peak of your career? Gelfand answers:

We'll have to wait and see! For sure the World Championship match is the most important event there is. I am very glad that I have the possibility to play this match, and right now I am preparing for it very seriously. For me it's very important that in May I will be able to play my best chess possible.

After that GM Ilya Smirin of Israel appears, and he's optimistic:

In reality I think he has good chances. He is very motivated, and this is important. From a pure chess point of view Anand is the slight favorite, but Gelfand has the advantage as far as character and motivation are concerned.

Then, Gelfand answers a question in English during the press conference. Here's the transcript:

Of course Anand is a great player; the first time I played him was in 1989 and I played more than 30 games with him just in classical chess, and if we consider rapid, blindfold, blitz, it's close to 100. So we know each other pretty well. Of course his speed of thinking and chess qualities are incredibly high. But still, OK, nobody is invincible, nobody is immune of [making] mistakes. I will try to show my best and to play my best chess and to force him to make mistakes – that is what I hope.

To the question whether he considers himself a positional player, Gelfand answers:

It's pretty outdated. Nowadays, if you want to be at the top you have to be good at everything. With a player like Carlsen you can see that he is less influenced by computers than other players who are less successful. I think it is also one of the advantages of our generation, one of the reasons why our generation is still doing well, is that we learnt to play on a good basis, and then we learnt how to use computers in our favor, while a lot of young players know only how to use computers and don't have a good basis. Instead of thinking, a lot of people are used to press a button and think what the computer would say. So it's like each invention, it can be used in a good or in a bad way. One of the secrets of success nowadays is to use computers in your favor and not let computers ruin your thinking ability.

After this, Gelfand says (in Hebrew again):

I am sure that this will be the best organized match in history, held in a museum, with spectators, with people from the art scene, with the best players. I think all of this will give me a strong motivation. Anand is a great player; he has been World Champion and a top player for many years, and has won many tournaments. I hope that I can find his weak spot, and will succeed in playing the best chess I can.

Editors's picture
Author: Editors


Gady's picture

The headline is a translation error.

What Gelfand says (at the 3:30) mark is "I am sure that this will be the best organized match
in history", going on to support this with talk of the museum setting etc.

Anyone who ever heard him speak knows he would never make a boasting claim as in the headline.

choufleur's picture

Thanks, I also found this statement most surprising.

Peter Doggers's picture

We've corrected this; thanks!

Nesterovsky Aleksander's picture

Thanks Gady You are absolutely right, Gelfand says "I am sure that this will be the best organized match in history".
Sory, my fault...
P.S. Nesterovsky Aleksander

mjh's picture

Good luck to you, Boris. You are a gentleman and a fine chess player. I wish you well.

Anonymous's picture

Boris Gelfand is a fine gentleman and sportsman. However I definitely hope that the higher rated player retains his title. Vishy Anand has to eventually lose his title if he doesn't retire first; when that happens it will be better for chess if the title goes to a much higher rated player than Boris Gelfand.

columbo's picture

NON SENSE ! What can be good for chess, it's to have a good organisation and a great fighting spirit from both players ...

Fireblade's picture

With Aronian being a close friend of Gelfand.....and with Aronian knowing the weak spots of Anand.....i think Gelfand must surely have approached him for some tips.
Wouldnt be surprised if Gelfand does an upset.

Remco G's picture

Yes, because Gelfand doesn't have a clue about Anand's weak spots himself, after ~100 games in over two decades.

Niima's picture

Hilarious! Thanks for the hearty laugh :-)

Anthony Migchels's picture

However happy I am for Gelfand he can play this match, it's a bit like a life time achievement award, from a purely chess perspective it makes hardly any sense.

He will have great problems. The pressure Anand will put on him will be relentless.

It is also a shame that the candidates matches so utterly failed to produced the (almost) strongest challenger. Clearly only Kramnik, Aronian or Carlsen are plausible challengers.

columbo's picture

Kramnik and Aronian played the candidates matches and were eliminated ! Only ONE challenger is possible -yes ! indeed ! - And Gelfand passed the exam ... So, there he is ... End of the question

Also, the " Life time achievement award " is not a good formula ... you should notice that the world title doesnt belong to 18 years old kids ! Especially nowadays, the " old " generation is stronger than one might think ... And who said that in 2012, 40 years old is the end of it all ???

redivivo's picture

Gelfand showed how bad rating lists are at showing who the best players are. Since chess always progresses and today's best players are better than those of the past, the only question is if he's the strongest player ever or #2. :-)

Anthony Migchels's picture

Kasim became WC through the knock out.

He's a great player. Anand's leading second.

But clearly not a real WC.

That's the problem with these short knockout matches.

They don't produce the strongest players. History shows that without a shadow of a doubt.

Niima's picture

Here we go again with this nonsense rooted in objections to the candidate matches and the rating list.

Carlsen did not participate. The rest had the same conditions as Gelfand. It was a grueling affair, and a top professional, who has been working his a.. off in the last twenty years, got a shot at the title. The best opinions on Gelfand's legitimacy as a challenger are expressed by his co-participants in the candidates matches.

redivivo's picture

Yes, it is nonsense indeed, I can't recall a more grueling Candidates ever.

mjh's picture

I disagree. There are lots of credible challengers. There are a lot of strong chess players out there who would give Vishy a run for his money. He would be favourite against most but in a 12 game match it would be tight. Grischuk, Morozovich, Topalov, Kamsky even...(and more besides)...all would have chances.

idli's picture

after 6 games Anand will be leading with a simple score of 4.5-1.5

idli's picture

after 6 games Anand will be leading with a simple score of 4.5-1.5

bk's picture

Gelfand has advantage in terms of "motivation and charater". What exactly does that mean? Motivation - ok, anyone can claim that. But character? Really odd.

Nesterovsky Aleksander's picture

Character is very important. for example in first game Anand will lose his game and for comeback and to give a fight in second he need to be enough strong, another words has "character", every one know that after lose a game Anand is doing not so well...

Fireblade's picture

A better word would be 'determination' rather than 'character' for your description.

Nesterovsky Aleksander's picture

I did not used this word. This word was used by Ilia Smirin. Not need to know or understand hebrew, just listen him one more time, he mixed it and he used "Character", thats all :)
But I fully agry with Ilia.

Thomas's picture

What Smirin might mean (and this may not be easy to express or to translate from Hebrew into English): Gelfand is "hungrier" than Anand, who already achieved more in his chess career.
Which effect this might have is hard to tell - I guess Topalov was also hungrier than Anand, but then it backfired. BTW, Anand did come back after losing his first match game against Topalov. However, Gelfand is a different player and 'character' than Topalov - Gelfand tends to remain objective on and off the board.

Anthony Migchels's picture

odd or nonsensical?

Can anybody doubt Vishy's character?

guest's picture

Aronian win over Anand seems to be over hyped. Looks like a hit and run case. I think If they play a 12 match series, the result will be in Anand's favour.

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