Reports | May 15, 2012 14:19

Gelfand-Anand G4, another Chebanenko Slav, drawn after 34 moves (VIDEO)

Gelfand-Anand G4, another Chebanenko Slav, drawn after 34 moves

The fourth match game between Boris Gelfand behind the white pieces and Vishy Anand behind the black pieces was drawn after 34 moves. Again the World Champion from India defended himself with a Chebanenko Semi-Slav and again he got equality with Black quite easily. The score is 2-2 with eight more games to play.

Four games, four draws in Moscow | 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
Videos ChessVibes on YouTube

The 2012 World Championship match still hasn't seen a decisive game. Now that the fourth game ended in a draw as well, on Thursday a World Championship match starts that will last only eight games. Obviously it's too early to speculate, but some journalists have already been joking about the nightmare scenario of twelve draws, when a rapid and blitz tiebreak will have to decide this match...

Like in the second game, a Chebanenko/Meran came on the board. Gelfand deviated at move 10 but Anand had clearly expected the move and continued playing fast. In fact it was theory until 16.Rad1, which created some sort of 'Babylon tower' (with the whole d-file filled with pieces), as Sergey Shipov called it.

A few moves later White 'won' the bishop pair, which made commentator Jan Timman believe that White must have a tangible advantage. However, not long afterwards the position had become dry and just like in the second game, the advantage of white's bishop against black's knight wasn't serious enough for Gelfand to continue playing.

Here's our video report, which includes some more observations by the legendary Dutch GM Jan Timman:

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.


Fireblade's picture

At this rate just one win would be sufficient for winning the match.

S3's picture

No surprise there. But it's all the more proof of the class of these guys. They are hard to beat!

Zeblakob's picture

No dear S3, this shows that anyone can be world champion (indeed, except those who can't).

eltollo's picture

Looking forward to see Zeblakob play in the next cycle -;

Zeblakob's picture

Ohhh mercery God, give me back my 6 minutes that I spent on watching this game live on CB ...

calvin amari's picture

Perhaps Vishy, who has won in different championship formats, wants to add winning in the tiebreaks to his resume.

I think the slow start helps Anand. He seems less nervous now. And if, like Toiletov, Gefand assumes he can't go toe to toe with Vishy at tighter time controls, Boris will be forced to over-reach. Boris's other problem
, However, is that Vishy is simply much better in imbalanced positions.

S3's picture

You might be right there, Anand is still faster and maybe better in those complicated positions. But all it takes is one blunder. As for the Tie break, Gelfand has won many knock out mini matches in rapid tie breaks. Despite Anand's prowess in rapid I don't think Gelfand is afraid of TB.

TopaIsChessArtist's picture

What an entertainment competition , what an exciting game , we need one more match like this and only the super intelligent chessmasters who come to this site will follow the WCCh chess title battle.

chesshire cat's picture

Gelfand's style, to try to get a tiny positional advantage and nurse it to victory, is just not good enough against super elite players like Vishy. He needs to turn up the heat and play more aggressively, otherwise Vishy will have no problems with Black at all. He is too well prepared and accurate in defence. Gelfand needs more messy positions where errors are easier to make - even for a super GM - and trust in himself and his prep to win the slugfest. Otherwise, I think, Vishy will land a blow or two as White and easily defend as Black and it will all be over! Gelfand is willing to play sharply as Black - why not as White? A mystery. If he thinks Anand is vulnerable to aggressive Black openings, then why not to White?

Harish Srinivasan's picture

Jan Timman commenting live mentioned the same point but his guess was that Vishy as white will anyway press for a win and there the position is anyway going to get sharp and hence why not sharpen it yourself to a known prepared territory like the Grunfeld. But as white, just play it solid and have tiny edge and probe if Anand will take risks.

Thomas's picture

Maybe Gelfand counts on the surprise element: the anti-Moscow wouldn't be a surprise (Vishy would certainly be prepared) but the Grunfeld was. Then what would be an aggressive surprise weapon with white: 1.e4 e5 f4??!

Chess_FM's picture

No, If Boris starts with e4 then Anand will most certainly go for c5. He will not let Boris go for Ruy Lopez of Kings gambit for that matter. Anand is too good with Sicilian.

ban ghe van phong's picture

Indeed, Anand is wating for Boris's e4 switch, he's Sicilian expert. But nowaday, there're only d4 and the boring Berlin everywhere. The Grunfeld is not so sharp as before, sad but true

S3's picture

Maybe he'd love to nurse a tiny advantage with black as well but that is just not possible. I think it was Karpov who observed something like that in Polugajevski; with white he'd play quiet and positional but with black he would throw himself at the opponent because he felt black was worse anyway.
Whatever the case, Gelfand's strategy might just pay out.

Anonymous's picture

Any truth to the rumour Kramnik is assisting Gelfand?

Niima's picture

Interesting assessment chesshire cat - makes sense.

Bronkenstein's picture

It´s not Gandalf´s style in general, and connected to that - he actually played his second Gruenfeld too agressively , almost losing the game. On the other hand , Anand is opting for quiet equalizers as black, while showing pretty much nothing with white, but people (esp. some journalists) tend to ignore that , while pressing the challenger.

Additionally , one of Anand´s defeats in his match vs Topa came from pretty equal different color bishops (speaking of ´not good enough against super elite...´).

IMO Gelfy´s ´black counterpunching + white microplusNursing´ strategy is optimal for this match, the only minus being his too early(!?) draw offers in 1st and 4th.

Jasnaldo's picture

Look at the rating performances! Gelfand's is more than 60 points higher so he is clearly in better shape!

Chess_FM's picture

Listen, rating performance is based on with whom you have competed. In a swiss tournament, there are many players you play with, so rating performace is bit different. But in this match you are playing with only one person, and therefore if there are all draws, then lower rated persons rating performance is the rating of higher rated person and vice a versa. So its no surprise that Anand is playing at Boris level and Boris is playing at Anand level since there are all draws thus far.

Johnny's picture

Jasnaldo's comment was intentionally absurd and ironic.

chesshire cat's picture

Ratings don't matter - it's all about who wins the match, even by the minimum margin

chesshire cat's picture

Anand will not take risks as Black, Harish, unless he falls seriously behind - he will continue this super solid stuff, which is working excellently so far. It is up to Gelfand to raise the stakes.

roamingwind's picture

I have a feeling Anand is waiting for Geldfand to play agressively, then Anand will get him.

JM's picture


Anonymous's picture


Anonymous's picture

Grandmaster Gelfand is the challenger therefore he must rise to the occasion, beat the reigning world champion Grandmaster Anand.

eltollo's picture

Pictures show that there is no dress code in world championship match. So why the ECU burocrats impose it on the lesser gods?

Anonymous's picture

I believe Gelfand has good chances to become world champion. Gelfand is more a match player than a tournament player, Anand is past his peak and will power can overcome strength sometimes (every top level chess player dreams to become world champion in his life, Anand has already reached it).

On the other hand, I think Anand still has the most chess knowledge, he's always extremely well prepared for world championship matches, he might be more relaxed due to his experience (this is his third world championship match in the last five years), he knows that he's the favourite among the spectators and his recently poor results might be due to not wanting to give away home prep (I remember him playing poorly too in the months before the world championships against Kramnik and Topalov).

redivivo's picture

"I remember him playing poorly too in the months before the world championships against Kramnik and Topalov"

Even if that was in one single event very close to the match, while he won for example Linares 2008. Now he hasn't beaten any other 2700 player than Vallejo the last one and a half year but lost against several and finished bottom half in tournaments, so he has looked considerably weaker than in 2007-2008.

Chess Fan's picture

When people comment about the draws and how the US national championship is better(!!!), please remember the level and preparation of these two players. This is a World Championship with EVERYTHING at stake. A small mistake on either side might decide the World Champion. What appears a simple draw to "us" will have lots of theory and reasons for these two great players.
Let us admire and enjoy the level of the games.

Steve Giddins's picture
Harish Srinivasan's picture

You quote that "The computer is now so powerful, that it becomes impossible to out-prepare another top player in the opening.", but you also quote the exact opposite that "The computer is now so powerful, that it becomes easy to out-prepare another top player in the opening". Basically it boils down to what lines you are analyzing. There is always a good chance that the line you analyzed was not analyzed by your opponent with the computer. For instance if in the first game Gelfand played the Grunfeld and Anand had to opt for a side-line to avoid directly stepping into preparation. But then in the 3rd game he was prepared by then to play 3.f3 line. Similarly Gelfand avoided the main Qc2 line as white against Anand's slav as he had possibly not expected the a6 slav, but today he tried it out. A small battle of tests concluded after 4 games. Now we may move onto newer frontiers. The computers have just changed the nature of the battle of wch matches i.e. the perspectives have changed, but it remains interesting.

Kamalakanta's picture

Harish, I agree with you. Both these players are playing at an incredibly high technical level. And the thing is, it is not only in opening preparation, but they are also highly skilled in the middlegame and endgame as well.
Anand missed a win in game 3, it is said. But it was not an easy win to find. Either the patterns were irregular enough, or he was tired from the first phase of the game, or he is slightly out of form.
Otherwise, he seems ok to me. Maybe he is one of those players that get in form while playing!

Anonymous's picture

Intersting analysis on game3, though I have not come across any clear move order that gives white the winning position

Chess Fan's picture

Interesting perspective.
Seems quite logical.

Steve Giddins's picture

What on earth are you talking about?? When did I say that "The computer is now so powerful, that it becomes easy to out-prepare another top player in the opening"?

Anonymous's picture

From you blog and I quote
"Imagine the following experiment. Lock Anand and myself in separate flats, for a week, on our own, to analyse a certain opening variation. Even if I work every bit as hard as Anand, or even harder, at the end of the week, he will have analysed the line much better than me - he sees tactics faster, his positional judgement is better, etc. There will be a large gap in the quality of the analysis we each produce."

In the end the top player will rise to the occasion.
The advent of powerful computers have ensured that the games are now top quality and not determined by some human blunder.

Lee's picture

The part you quoted was illustrating them analysing without computers - thus the large gap in quality of analysis. At no point did Steve contradict himself.

Harish Sinivasan's picture

Sorry I meant to say you can also quote the opposite and the statement holds. I,e if you were to say the computer is so powerful that it is easy to out prepare opponent, then that is also quite true and it really depends on whether two opponents are analyzing the same or completely different openings.

Xenyatta's picture

There is a reason why Gelfand hasn't scored a win against Anand in almost 20 years.

He has been so risk averse that he has not been willing to leverage the advantage of the first move. That requires dynamic play and unbalanced positions. Anand demonstrated in the Topalov match that he is willing to defend "bend, but don't break" positions in the Slav. It is up to Gelfand to dictate the terms of the opening play. He does need to switch to 1. c4 or 1. e4--just to give Anand something to think about. I am not sure that Anand would adopt the Sicilian Defense against 1. e4. After all, Gelfand himself played the Sicilian for many years,

joe's picture

Time running out for Gelfand

Anonymous's picture

Each draw brings the players closer to the rapid tiebreaks in which Anand should be a favourite.

vishy 's picture

I would have to agree here. Gelfand is the challenger. he must play unclear lines with Anand and bring him out of his comfort zone..

Frits Fritschy's picture

I think it's strange Gelfand didn't push a little harder and longer. Engines may be right with their evaluation of +0.03, but that doesn't say anything about how difficult it is to maintain this in an actual game. For example, in the line 32 Rc6 Rxc6 33 Bxc6 Kf8 34 Ke2 Ke7 35 Kd3 Kd6 36 Bf3!? Kc5 37 a3 white's position seems 'a bit more equal than black's', I would say. Shipov ( says something similar about the final position.
I think the way for Gelfand to have a chance to win this match is not changing his style (that will most probably backfire) but to have a little less respect for his opponent. Some people may think it's very nice both are being the perfect gentleman, but you do need some killing intent to beat a stronger player.

vishy 's picture

well saidd

chessian's picture

is stamina at play here or a important factor. i remember many games by Carlsen where he keeps on playing dead games and sometimes squeezes a win.

geminme's picture

Is that a wig on Anand's head?

Stephen's picture

I think that you have a good point here. Houdini assesses the hair as a slight plus for Anand about +0.03 but Rybka gives it -0.03 i.e. a slight edge in favour of Gelfand. Although the engines disagree it's clear that their assessments have a huge impact these days on personal preparation.

noyb's picture

That haircut makes Anand look like Moe Howard. We have Moe and Larry playing for the WCC!

Anonymous's picture

I dont agree, again (people are not reading the previous posts , so I will have to partially repeat myself) on Gelfand´s style (many posters here seem to be unfamiliar with it , just checking his Kazan games , for example, should give you the insight: he was one of the few , with Topa , attacking with black, playing sicilian - no matter that he has Petroff - pretty safe equaliser - on his repertoire , and he scored 2 victories while EVERYONE else scored 1 - out of 30 games! - his performance has obviously been overshadowed by the infamous ´drawfest´ label auto-sticked to everything happening there) and match strategy (again , I guess that white microplus nursing is an excellent choice in this situation - remember Topalov´s victory against Vishy in their match , in that seemingly boring and equal different color bishops) , just he should ´nurse´ it few moves longer here and there.

PS Vishy is , also , showing even less with white IMO, while going for equalisers with black , but due to his shiny crown ;) and , naturally, much bigger fanbase, the pressure to play dynamically is , by default, on Gelfy.


Latest articles