Reports | May 20, 2012 17:22

Gelfand beats Anand in 7th World Championship game (VIDEO)

Gelfand beats Anand in 7th World Championship game (VIDEO)

Boris Gelfand took the lead in the World Championship match in Moscow, Russia on Sunday by beating Viswanathan Anand in 38 moves. Again a Chebanenko Semi-Slav came on the board and in his 4th white game, the challenger was again the first to deviate, going for 6.c5 instead of 6.b3 (games 2 and 4) or 6.Qc2 (game 6). Black kept struggling with a bad light-squared bishop throughout the game, and at move 38 Anand resigned. It was the first time since 1993 that Gelfand won a classical game against Anand.

As Anand resigns, Gelfand wins first match game | Photo by 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

Anand and Gelfand shake hands at the start of the first game that wouldn't end in a draw

Even members of the Anand team showed signs of relief on Sunday afternoon as the "draw ban" had been broken, despite the fact that it was their man who had lost. These members, as well as all other Anand fans, might want to remember 1995, when it was Garry Kasparov who lost the first game after eight draws, but won that World Championship match convincingly anyway (against... Anand).

On this Sunday we got to see Boris Gelfand at his best: from the opening he got a slight, strategic advantage which he never really let go of. At the same time we didn't get to see Vishy Anand at his best: from a slightly passive position, this time he didn't defend accurately, as he had done in his previous black games. "I started to drift a little bit after the opening," he admitted afterwards.

Anand didn't hide his disappointment at the press conference

The World Champ gave his opponent too much time to build up, and after another inaccuracy, suddenly there was no way back. White exchanged all of Black's active pieces (including the queens), and focused on that one problem Black couldn't solve from the start: his light-squared bishop. Ironically, it was this bishop that was eventually trapped, and with accurate play Gelfand decided the game on move 38.

Boris Gelfand grabs the lead, and needs 2.5 points out of 5 games to become World Champion

At the press conference, Gelfand avoided speaking about emotions, and instead preferred to describe the game in his usual, objective way. Anand limited himself to short, sometimes one-word answers, underlining deep disappointment on his side.

After Anand's loss today and Nakamura's win in Saint Louis yesterday, the top 10 of the live ratings looks as follows:

  1. Carlsen (2835.0)
  2. Aronian (2823.2)
  3. Kramnik (2802.8)
  4. Radjabov (2784.0)
  5. Nakamura (2782.6)
  6. Anand (2779.7)
  7. Karjakin (2779.0)
  8. Caruana (2772.0)
  9. Morozevich (2769.0)
  10. Ivanchuk (2767.4)

The importance of (live) ratings shouldn't be overrated of course, but still it is hard to believe that Vishy Anand, one of the strongest players that ever lived, is now out of the world's top 5...

The score is 4.0-3.0 for Gelfand. On Monday game 8 will be played, of a total of 12 games. Venue is the State Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow, Russia. The winner will receive US $1.5 million, while the loser will earn US $1 million.

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.


Joe Fiasco's picture

Congrats to Boris!
A beautiful result after lots of hard work and perseverance. His overall match strategy (as Sutovsky adviced before the match) seemed to work so far. Keep very safe and secure positions, don't give an inch, and when possibility arises, go for the all-out kill!
Of course, now he has to keep his nerve for the next five games and not play just for draw. BUt honestly speaking, his nerves have seemed far more stable than Anand's throughout the match.

Anonymous's picture

Wasn't this also Kramnik's strategy against Kasparov?

Chris's picture

The true is Anand lost not Gelfand won.
Anand made 2 suicide moves not explainable at this level.
May be he feels bad in Moscow.

hans's picture

Now Anand have too try playing chess, great for the match. Congrats too Boris!

Sligunner's picture

Anand played like a patzer.

FvT's picture

You would know now, would you?

Aidin's picture

Anand the "tiger of Madras " will compensate.... Stay tuned !

Chris's picture

Hopefully but his play does not show it.

Matt's picture

Finally something that resembles a fighting game. If Gelfand wins, Kasparov will be right, we'll have the weakest world champion ever. Thanks FIDE for this bad candidates system and for favouring Grischuk's "poker-chess".

cip's picture

I think you mean 'weakest'. If chess were a religion, Gelfand has always been one of the dedicated monks. He represents a wonderful story of love for chess, for chess truth and the best move, and of perseverance.
If he becomes WChampion, he will become a legend, a saint of chess. Though for me, he has won my heart after Khazan. (My prediction for the match was +1 Boris. I'm not so sure anymore though. The psychological tide has turned.)

Niima's picture

Well said cip. Could have explained it better myself. I will focus on your comment and ignore the nonsense that came before it.

Niima's picture

couldn't have

Bartleby's picture

Today Anand made "only" reasonable moves but didn't come up with a good plan/creative idea how to equalize completely. Gelfand showed this is not good enough on the top level. Leko was just the right commentator for this kind of struggle. He pointed out what was going on for someone like me who is always surprised how GMs create just the right amount of counter-play when they are on the defense. This time Anand had a classical QGD bishop problem and was denied every opportunity to do something about it. Well done, Boris Gelfand.

MH's picture

Boris played well, but I though the move Qc2 was a very natural move with a double threat (winning a pawn or getting into the 7th rank chocking Anand's pieces. Not really a deep plan, and it surprises me that this came as a surprise.

Thomas's picture

If white wanted to win a pawn (at least temporarily) he could have done so immediately with 23.Bxe4 rather than Qc2. But then black gets compensation - the light-squared bishop finally comes into play - and probably regains the pawn by force.
In isolation, Qc2 is rather obvious, but the move and its consequences (infiltrating on c7) was the consequence of white's previous play. So Qc2 was a move but not a plan by itself, rather part of Gelfand's plan.

neil's picture

anand's heavy hair is slowing his brain. needs to for a close shave and come out fighting! - 'are you talking to me!?!' :-)
BTW gelfand made to most his position after anand's Ne4 and g5- 'g5 makes gelfand alive' 8-)

Bronkenstein's picture

Typically Gelfandian white victory , similar (with it´s integrity and ´evaluational disagreement´ with our beloved machines @ some key points) to his victory vs Grischuk in the WCC finals.

Kramnik was talking about games like these 2 when describing Gandalf´s style in an post-Kazan interview.

slonik's picture

It's been a long time since Anand played like a top ten player and he certainly isn't doing it here, it wouldn't be surprising if he would retire after this match, as Kasparov said he seems to have lost interest.

Anonymous's picture

wait, in which of the previous games did he play inaccurately?

9th Champ's picture

Tournaments and matches are two different things. The ratings are based almost completely on tournament results. As for examble Kramnik has stated, certain styles and personalities are clearly more suited for match play. Ivanchuk has won many very impressive tournaments ahead of all the big guns, but it would be rather unlikely to have him as a favorite in a match against Gelfand. Also Gelfand has shown many times already that he has strong nerves, he plays his best when it counts.

Mike's picture

Indeed, WCC matches nowadays are decided in terms of a battle between computerized aided chess teams...The challengers are almost just the pieces movers...

sab's picture

Since the start of this championship, both players had shown their ideas after their prepared moves. If all was about computers, the result would essentially be determined by computers which doesn't seem true still now.

Aris's picture

I think that if Gelfand will win match then Carlsen will be have easy match against Boris. Of course if he win candidate competition.

danny's picture

the problem is I can't see carlsen (if he wins the candidates) even bothering to play a match against gelfand, he won't see it worth the effort, so the world title will get disbanded again like it did in 1993, with maybe a carlsen vs aronian unofficial match and gelfand rematching against anand in the fide version.

S3's picture

Aronian would never act in such a shameful way. He acknowledges Gelfand's rights and the legitemacy of the title.

danny's picture

true, but in any case I can't see carlsen playing the candidates tournament in the event gelfand wins the match, which of course many will then argue undermines the legitimacy of the world championship.

Niima's picture

I suspect that Carlsen himself does not agree with you.

What's Next?'s picture

So much rubbish have been written how weak Gelfand is, so many draws have been played in this match. Relax. Gelfand looks more hungry than Anand, so no surprise Gelfand won.

katar's picture

How humiliating. This was like a Capablanca game with a single, very pure strategic theme. Portisch - Petrosian (Santa Monica 1966) comes to mind as another game in which a reigning world champion suffered from such a bad/trapped minor piece. Finally Vishy will play for blood and make this thing worth watching. BTW, Fide's WCH system will correct itself when no sponsors line up to fund a Gelfand vs. (let's say) Caruana match. Press conference here FYI:

brazil's picture

there will be many norwegian sponsors ;-)

Harish Sinivasan's picture

This game makes you wonder why Gelfand did not play c5 in his last white game. It seems black never equalized. I am counting on Vishy to win tomorrow though.

S3's picture

I told you he might play c5 instead of Bg5 systems:) I don't have the statistics to back it up but the c5 system is probably more risky and that may have been the reason why it hasn't appeared sooner.

Thomas's picture

This system might have appeared earlier if Anand had won one of his white games? As things went, he (or they, of course he has seconds) tried quieter, arguably less promising lines in earlier games - one could even speculate that they wanted to lure Anand into a false sense of security.

Aleksander Nesterovsky's picture

As I said Gelfand will win this WCCM by +1, but I will not object to a bigger win by Gelfand.

Anonymous's picture

Don't get your hopes up too high. I voted +2 in favour of Vishy. The battle has officialy started!

cip's picture

Nice job, Aleksander! Same here, Gelfand is a wonderful chess player. A real chess lover.

chesshire cat's picture

Must be quite annoying to have to give a press conference when you just want to leave and blow off some steam nd get over the loss. Anand did not look happy at all. Surly body language. One- word responses. He also had to put up with such silly questions as "how will you change your strategy now" though ( a curt "I don't think I should reveal that" was the response).
Btw Short much preferred Bxf6, as he said did Kasparov, whom he had been speaking to. (He said this on playchess). Must be a style thing I guess. Will be most interesting game tomorrow!

chesshire cat's picture

Bahhhh chessbase really IS biased:

"Interestingly it was Anand who tried to keep the position alive with some not so routine moves, initially, while Gelfand appeared more than content to keep his position solid and steer towards a draw."

Other VERY strong commentators were saying things closer to this:
'I started to drift a little bit in the opening and the rest revolved around my bishop on c8' - Anand

Thomas's picture

Yep strange - it seems pretty inconsistent with their own game analyses.

For comparison, this was the reaction on who have every right to be biased as several of their staff are on Anand's team [translated from German]:
"As a glowing fan of Viswanathan Anand I find it obviously hard to report objectively. But without doubt one has to admit that, in today's seventh game, Boris Gelfand was the better player."

Michael's picture

For all the people wondering where they can see the PRESS CONFERENCE, here it is:

TheSeaLettuce's picture

Anand blinked first! Now we will see a match. Gelfand will wait for him to take risks and hope to jump in when he does. Interesting....

redivivo's picture

Gelfand was just much better and won easily, no complaints about that one. Anand has been unrecognizable for a long time now but I still thought his general level would be much too high for Gelfand but this far it certainly hasn't.

Harish Sinivasan's picture

It's not surprising now that Anand takes longer times for his moves. It happened in his match against Topalov. But what is surprising is Gelfand is finding the most precise moves in short time putting the pressure back on Anand. He clearly feels very confident. Now it's upto Anand to challenge Gelfand to more complications.

redivivo's picture

Also, Anand's no longer being at his best was hidden a bit in the Topalov match by the fact that Topalov was much weaker than a few years earlier. Anand had help from Kasparov, Kramnik and Carlsen apart from his own team, and even if he blundered away wins and draws in a few games people didn't notice it as much since he won the match in the end. But it's a pity if Anand's reign would end like this, he is a legendary player and thoroughly sympathetic guy.

Harish Sinivasan's picture

I don't think Gelfand is any closer to winning this match yet. I am sure Anand is more than capable of fighting back. Gelfand still has to play out of his skins to win this.

David's picture

I think Gelfand is just getting better with age. He is better than Gelfand of 5 years ago, much better than Gelfand of 10 years ago. He gains from the experience and study, yet he does not suffer noticeably from age related deterioration.

Anyone who could beat Grischuk like he did, when Grischuk was playing perfect chess, has some unusual power. He did it by making a position where Grischuk lost his bearings and his perfection. Real inspiration was at work. Then of course the exploitation was at an extremely high level.

That said, I expect we'll see some changes in Anand. Maybe 1. e4 tomorrow. He will lose some caution and gain some passion.

Anonymous's picture

How many times has Gelfand visited the toilet! ; )

celso's picture

Not as much as Kramnik would!

Mike Magnan's picture

This Match is very sad. For a World Champion to lose in such a bad way stands as a testament to Fide and Chess. Its very sad. Neither of these players deserve to be called the best. Pathetic.
I feel sorry for both of them. I Can not imagine Carlsen, Aronian, Kramnik' Radjabov or any other top player playng like this.Fide has produced its wonderful fruit.

NN's picture

You will be sorry for your challenger in two years, when Gelfand crashes him (whoever he may be).


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