Reports | May 12, 2012 13:50

Gelfand-Anand G2, a Chebanenko Slav, drawn after 25 moves (VIDEO)

Gelfand-Anand G2, a Chebanenko Slav, drawn after 25 moves (VIDEO)

The second match game between Boris Gelfand and Vishy Anand also ended in a draw. Against Gelfand's expected 1.d4 Anand chose the Chebanenko Slav (or rather a hybrid of the Semi-Slav and the Chebanenko, the later being characterized by an early ...a6) and the Indian got a solid if just slightly passive position. After the queens were exchanged, Anand needed to find an accurate way to get full equality, and he did. After two games the score is 1-1 and there are ten more games scheduled.

Gelfand-Anand, game 2, also drawn | Photos © Anastasia Karlovich & Alexey Yushenkov 

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

Unlike yesterday, today the two rivals did not bring any big surprises to each other. On the board came a relatively new, but a very solid variation of the Semi-Slav Defence. 

After Black’s 14th move Boris Gelfand thought for a long time and finally chose a line which led to an endgame with a slight edge for White. According to Gelfand, the seemingly sharper continuation 15.Bg5 would actually have resulted in an equal position.

It leads to more complicated play but I didn't see an advantage for White.

At the end of the game a few precise moves helped Viswanathan Anand to get full equality. On the 25th move the challenger offered a draw, which was accepted by champion accepted.

And so after two of twelve match games the score is still level. Sunday is a rest day; the third match game will be played on Monday, May 14th.

Our video report of today includes a brief interview with English grandmaster Nigel Short.

You can find more ChessVibes videos here

PGN string

Match score



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.


rob's picture

More than 80% of the games to go...

redivivo's picture

From what I've read from many GM commentators their usual view is that these two games have been exciting and that this is how title matches look nowadays. I don't understand that, I mean the first game was decisive in Kramnik-Leko, in Kramnik-Topalov both the first games were decisive, Anand won three of the first six games against Kramnik etc. No other recent title match started out as this one, not that it is surprising that this one is less exciting but there's no reason to pretend that this is how title matches usually look today, it just isn't true.

Thomas's picture

First, you are factually wrong: Anand-Kramnik did start with two draws (the first one also arguably boring). Second, how did these decisive games in earlier matches happen? Kramnik won the first game against Leko because the opponent misplayed an endgame, and the first two games against Topalov because the opponent went too far in his winning attempts. Not meaning to minimize Kramnik's performances, but can we blame Anand and Gelfand for not blundering or overpressing?
Kramnik fell behind against Anand due to the opponent's successful novelty - combined with his stubbornness to repeat the same variation. Something similar can still happen in the ongoing match, it doesn't have to happen in the first two games.
Overall it's quite early to draw conclusions about this match - but well, some people had drawn their conclusions before the match had even started ... .

redivivo's picture

"First, you are factually wrong: Anand-Kramnik did start with two draws"

The second draw was nothing like these draws, worth looking at it as a comparison:

Of course various commentators are paid to make things sound exciting, but to me the first two games together make a dull start compared to the latest title matches.

Thomas's picture

Of course a matter of taste, but in terms of tension that game may be comparable to Anand-Gelfand game 1 - with the only difference that the tension was released a bit earlier yesterday. But people see what they want to see ... .

Harish Srinivasan's picture

You are contradicting yourself. Anand Kramnik started of with two draws precisely this way. Anyway it does not matter if in this match we don't have 3 decisive results in 6 games. decisive results are not what makes game interesting. Its the game itself. The result is just a final end to the game.

redivivo's picture

No, I said that no recent title match started out like this, and that Anand-Kramnik had three decisive games after six games. The second game was very exciting even if it ended with a draw, but one can't only measure excitement in the final result. But it's clear that many like the type of games that have been played in the start here, even if I don't think this is how title matches usually start nowadays.

arkan's picture

As i feared after the first game, another sub-30 ballless draw, this is starting to become very disappointing very quickly

bravo champs

chesser's picture

Still quite ironic that a 2729 player, number 21 in the world can become world champion while playing against the number 4 of the world. Quite a disgrace that one lucky candidates tournament can serve for such a match.

Geof's picture

Sorry, but you might think about checking your facts before making such comments. Gelfand is one of the most successful players of all time in Interzonals and qualifying tournaments for the World Championship.

He won the last two Interzonals that were held before they changed the system, in 1990 and 1993. He won the 1996 FIDE Interzonal. He was second in the 2007 World Championship Tournament, after Anand. And he won the 2011 World Championship Candidates to qualify to play Anand. There is a strong argument that no player who has not become World Champion has done as well as Gelfand for so many years in World Champtionship qualifying events.

So this talk about one lucky candidates tournament is simply nonsense.

redivivo's picture

"There is a strong argument that no player who has not become World Champion has done as well as Gelfand for so many years in World Champtionship qualifying events"

There is a strong argument that he is nowhere near someone like Korchnoi who won more than a dozen Candidates matches, three of them against Petrosian.

RealityCheck's picture

How many candidates matches or tournaments did Aronian, Carlsen, or Nakamura win? It will be long time before these guys match Gelfands track record here. Btw, leave gramps Kortchnoi, out of this.

redivivo's picture

Of course Gelfand has won and lost more Candidates matches than the much younger players mentioned. Anyway, I don't agree that Korchnoi should be left out of the discussion greatest player ever in qualification events, he qualified for three title matches since the Karpov match in 1974 was a de facto title match, and would have qualified a fourth time if he hadn't agreed to play the already defaulted Kasparov. Great results worthy of being remembered and placing them below Gelfand's once qualifying through a knockout is harsh on Korchnoi.

RealityCheck's picture

I say leave Kortchnoi out of it because he wasn't being compared to Gelfand.
Aronian, Carlson and Nakamura are the supposed to be playing the Wch now instead of him.
If I remember correct, Gelfand finished ahead of Aronian in Mexico City. Beat at him the board then mentored him like any good father would....

Anonymous's picture

no need to be sorry for this FIDE Apparatchik

Niima's picture

Well said Geof.

Anonymous's picture


bhabatosh's picture

why you guys are comparing this title match with another , there is no way we can predict similar outcome as in the previous games . Games played till now are tensed till some point and draw is fair result in both game. As somebody pointed out in K-K match only 8 games were decisive out of 48 , so it is quiet common in chess WC. It is very unlikely that there will be 6-7 decisive games in 12 game match .... chess played till now is very good and there is no reason to complain. And regarding Gelfand being outside top 20 does not matter all. it was top 20's responsibility to prove their rating worth and qualify for the final , everybody got equal chance and this Gentleman did very good job by beating all formidable opponents. Respect him and enjoy the game. Let Nakamura , Aronian , Carlsen qualify for this type event and then compare anything. Since I know lot many players who plays excitingly like Moro , Ivanchuk . But no one can take Gelfand's spot .....

redivivo's picture

"it was top 20's responsibility to prove their rating worth and qualify for the final , everybody got equal chance"

Everybody have an equal chance in a coin toss, but it doesn't prove the worth of someone's rating :-)

Joe's picture

You seem to be misinformed. The candidates were decided by playing mini chess-matches rather than by tossing coins.

One could as well claim that winning a random 'open' tournament is determined by tossing coins. After all an average 7-9 rounds are far from enough to be sure the 'strongest' player wins. Rather open tournaments should have 49 rounds!

classic's picture

One should admit that this match is not the most interesting match to the chess-community. As would be if one of the other top-4-players were the opponent instead of Gelfand.
Probably 90% of the chess-community share this opinion.

Septimus's picture

The problem is not Gelfand. He is trying to play aggressively. Anand is the one who is being a bit passive. Short draws like this are ridiculous and should not be allowed in a WCh match. Topalov had the right idea.

Ians's picture

About the short draw , it's not really the fault of the players IMHO but that of the organizer who should have specified a rule against short draws .

The players are immersed in their match , if they can conserve energy and avoid playing a position that they think is devoid of winning potential , it will matter to them more than the entertainment of the audience . Also it's the start of the match , sort of round of observation , with a high pressure
on their mind : who will make a mistake first .

But ok , i was disappointed too to see a 25 moves draw , basically a failed attempt to get an edge out of the opening .

On the other , it's just the start of the match , and i think it may well be the last time we see Vishy or Gelfand in a world championship match , somehow i have a feeling Anand could retire if he loses and i don't think Boris will have enough in the future years to come back as world championship challenger if he loses this match .

So far though , it looks like Boris is in better confidence and more relaxed , whereas Anand doesn't look in his best form , probably just an impression though

Aditya's picture

Well I'm sure the players see equality clearly where we cannot, but as people watching chess, we'd like to know exactly why. And if the actual play holds out to the theorotical claim (Isnt that why they are playing anyway? For the minor faults in practical play, for the mistakes one can make and how the other can take advantage). No disrespect, but sometimes, I'm not sure if they really know it's equal or if they just dont want to continue.

I suggest the following (it might surely have been suggested before). If the players make a draw before 40 moves (or any other suitable number), they should play the position separately against a prior agreed upon engine which is set to the average rating of the two players, i.e continue where they left with similar times. The result of those games should be set aside for each player and should be used as the first tie-break in case of equality (at the end of all games).

If the players are afraid of making mistakes against the engine, they will not offer draws. If they are confident and play the engine, the spectators will know if and why it was actually equal. If they make a mistake playing the engine, they will themselves learn from it and strive harder in next games as they have a disadvantage in tie breaks.

The system can be used in both matches and tournaments with modifications.

Rama G's picture

I don't think the opinion of engines should have any relevance in tie-breaks. Instead, why not force them to play out the position at a blitz time control and if that fails then an 'Armageddon' time control? That way each game will have a definitive result. This is an idea that has already been proposed.

Aditya's picture

The driving factor is not to forcibly obtain a decisive result (which can be done by blitz, coin tosses, roulette wheels), but to see games reach a result we can understand and appreciate. Fighting draws are always welcome. The Aronian-Kramnik draws seemed quite interesting (except one) and I could understand when they finally made the draw. I'd just like to see the players validate their short draws against a more stubborn opponent.

Septimus's picture

Whatever one might say about the atmosphere, Topalov-Anand was one of the most enjoyable matches in recent history.

Kamalakanta's picture

I disagree with the idea that the so called "Sofia" rule should be in place here. That rule is disrespectful and patronising, in my opinion.
At this level, the players deserve respect. They are playing games at a very high level. Since they are both playing well, the games are equal.

We fans are impossible to please! If Gelfand had blundered and lost one game, fans would be saying, "Ah, look, Carlsen should be the one playing, or Aronian. Gelfand does not deserve to challenge Anand", etc.

If Anand had blundered, people would be screaming, "Look, he is so out of shape, he has lost his level, can't play well anymore, he is done with, past his prime, etc."

However, both players are showing great composure, maturity, excellent opening preparation and, of course, great technique. So, the truth is , so far they HAVE been equal. Is that not what is supposed to happen? A battle between equals?

I am sure at some point the fireworks will start. I agree that the games have not been "entertaining", but as somone pointed out, Kasparov and Karpov had plenty of "short" draws. EVERY match for the World Championship has had short draws. it is a way for players to save strength for the critical moment.

Right now, like in a boxing match, Anand and Gelfand are exploring each other, trying to find a weakness. We shall see what they find.....

Lee's picture

I have no problem with draws in general - it's part of the game, but short (non-fighting) draws need addressing.

I'm already feeling my interest wane after 2 games. Such a major event should showcase chess, not disappoint or underwhelm through short draws.

Chess doesn't want to end up like the "If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?" question.

If two people play for the WCC and no-one is watching, will anyone care?

Bartleby's picture

If two people play for the WCC and those watching the games are drowned out by people who complain about who isn't playing, the shortness of draws and life, the unfairness of the rating system, does it make a sound?
To me both games were interesting enough, full of tension, showcasing technical finesse. I would have liked them to play on, because both final positions looked still demanding to me, but probably not to them.
The interesting point would be: Should one of them play on in a position with not much play left? Would it help to win the title?
Do you see a continuation how Gelfand could have made more out of his advantages? Do you suggest a strategy how he could maximize his chances?

Lee's picture

On the bright side, the coverage on the official site is the best I've seen.

Nigel short was a delight the last 2 days and the page with the game + Houdini analysis is super slick.

Well done whoever is in charge of the English language live broadcast and game web pages.

Short's picture

I like Short's critics on short draws...

Lee's picture

For those interested, at 15:58 of the day 2 coverage, Nigel gives his view on short draws. He makes a couple of excellent points, particularly in relation to football (soccer) in which there are similarly a high number of draws.

PurpleCalx's picture

Nigel Short has been the best thing about the match so far. Entertaining! I think his analysis of the players is correct; they are very technical so draws are inevitable. Who will win? Well, I think Anand will now be aware that Gelfand is very well prepared and Vishy himself doesn't appear as strong as he has been. However, he knows that sooner or later Boris will have to push for wins. I think there will be very few wins and stick my neck out and say 2 to 1 in Vishy's favour.

By the way: the debate whether Boris is a worthy challenger or not is demeaning to the chess world. The beauty of the chess crown is that theoretically anyone can qualify to play: all they have to do is win the qualifying competitions. Boris Gelfand has done that. We should respect his right to play. Sure, there are stronger chess players (Aronian, Carlsen), more exciting chess players (Ivanchuk, Morozevich) but they didn't qualify. Gelfand did. That's all that matters.

lefier's picture

Sorry, that is not all that matters.
Simply, one doesn't want a lottery for the chess-crown.
And simply, one wants the strongest players to contend the title.

Bronkenstein's picture

Thats what has happened, we have No1- the WC , and No2 - the challenger , playing for the crown.

Elo is something else, and should not be confused with matches of any length (as it is so often...)

redivivo's picture

Today four game minimatches have become "matches of length" but when Spassky, Fischer, Karpov, Korchnoi and Kasparov won serious Candidates match series no one doubted that they were top two in the world then and that's of course also where they were placed on the Elo list.

RealityCheck's picture

Yeah. Yeah. And Kasparov undoubtabley holds the record for beating the most Senior Citizens in any given candidates match...Kortchnoi, Smyslov before his eyes went bad ... Steinitz

Thomas's picture

These guys were dominant players in chess history; Aronian and Carlsen aren't yet as firmly established. In any case, currently it would be quite hard to organize "serious Candidates match series" - it was already hard to find one spot in the tournament calendar for the next candidates tournament.
I still wonder what you and others would actually want: disqualify both Gelfand (wrong format and, most important, wrong player) and Anand to proceed out of the blue with a WCh match Aronian-Carlsen?
BTW, even serious candidates matches do not guarantee that the highest-rated player wins: in 1993, the final was between #11 Short and #17 Timman. Short had eliminated - directly or indirectly - several favorites, namely Karpov, Gelfand(!) and Anand(!).

redivivo's picture

Who wants to disqualify Gelfand? I just think his achievement is being talked up a bit too much when he is called the second best player today. He of course qualified for the title match and should play it, but it's good to see FIDE ditching the knockout immediately after Kazan, it just isn't a worthy format for anyone taking the World Championship seriously, as the lack of support for Khalfiman and Kasimdzhanov shows.

As for it being hard to organize longer Candidate matches then four game ones I wonder, FIDE did organize a cycle that was four-five years long. It wouldn't be difficult to for example just skip the several years long Grand Prix series since it was meaningless after the rule change and instead have a serious Candidates event.

Short won longer matches against Karpov and Gelfand with a clear margin when they were top five, it would certainly have been more criticized if he had won a knockout without facing them. But of course players below the top two should have chances to qualify be beating higher rated players, it's just more meaningful if it's done in a format that means something.

Wim's picture

Great guy Nigel, always enjoy his interviews.

Sarunas's picture

Definitely Gelfand is most worthy challenger of all right now. His profound chess heritage, embodied in his games, books and bio stands way above those say Carlsen or Aronian. Let's for instance take up 1990 -2000 period Gelfand and compare to Carlsen or Aronian of the same period. I am laughing loud with you...One doesn't need to be a wizard to state that present is impossible without past...
How blind must be folks rallying for Carlsen or Aronian on grounds of few ELO points...This prompted me to putting into daylight the fact that I am in terms of 1:1 with former and have 2:0 in my favor with latter. Well, unfortunately I am 0:4 behind Nigel. So, basically being ashamed of my poor score I would have never drawn this public, but I got triggered by groundless sustain of some green and unworthy guys...

FvT's picture

Sofar this match is even more boring the Kramnik - Leko. Let's hope there'll be some good fights ahead.


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