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.


cip's picture

He hasn't won yet.. but, I kind of agree with you, NN.

Sligunner's picture

I agree. For Carlsen not to be competing for the world title just shows how devalued it has become because of President KI's crackpot running of FIDE. Bring back six-game candidates matches; bring back a ten-game candidates final; bring back the 24-game final.

Szoker's picture

also.. wow SO unexpected !!!


Finally !!!

this should get exciting now ;)

Tom Tuttle's picture

Who cares. Two has beens. Todays game was pathetic and a true view ofo Fides wonderful practices. Anand is washed up..and Gelfandl is pretty second rate. Itès sort of a pathetic spectacle

Joe Fiasco's picture

For all you people ranting out there about Gelfand potentially being the 'weakest WC ever'. Please, stop this nonsense. He's, oddly enough at this late age, at the top form of his life. He has shown to possess nerves of steel. Shipov has said he's one of the best chess theoreticians in the world. Svidler proclaimed that he may well be the best 'match player' alive today.
Again, as I said before, the higher the rating, the more Gelfand is respected and admired. It seems that Anand's superiority and Gelfand's mediocrity are only visible to some patzers roaming the internet with too much free time on their hands.
Ratings don't mean that much, it just reflects the player's form in his/her current rating range. Good players play well when it counts, and that is what he does.
If he wins this, and I'm saying 'if' since Anand is not to be underestimated, it will certainly be well-deserved and a clear sign of his position among the world's top players. His path has been long to get here, first winning the Chess World Cup, then the Candidates and now this.
Many players are tremendously good and may win great tournaments, but just lack the stamina and energy to really break through when all is at stake. It seems just chess talent isn't the only ingredient to becoming world champion, and perhaps rightly so.

Frits Fritschy's picture

You cut the grass from under my feet!
According to the elo rating system, the expected outcome of the match was 7-5 for Anand. (And the expected outcome of a match Carlsen-Anand would be 7,5-4,5.) Not a big difference; and in a short match like this, statistics can't be trusted: accidents can happen.
Determination can also be a deciding factor, and it seems that is what we are seeing here.
It somehow reminds me of the first Alekhine-Euwe match, where most people expected a walk-over for the world champion. In fact, Euwe's results prior to the match were not much worse; Alekhine seemed a bit worn out, and the result was clear.
I saw a few times how Gelfand executes his moves: it looks like he is screwing the pieces into the board. This is a man that won't budge.
It takes quite some mental energy not just to become world champion, but also to stay so. So far, Anand hasn't shown he still possesses that energy.

Bronkenstein's picture

´Good players play well when it counts´ Exactly , Joe F! But try to explain it to an Eloite...

Also - Kazan is another fine example of Elo favorites (and quite heavy ones) being slaughtered, ie sent back to play tournaments and keep on pumping their little numbers.

Patrick (nl)'s picture

Nothing wrong with Gelfand, but imagine: Gelfand the world champion. That cannot be good for the sport...

Ians's picture

Well i respectfully disagree here . Why is it so ? Gelfand got there honestly and deserve his presence there , you can only beat what's put in front of you

As much as i admit the fair criticisms about short draws , shortness of the match or about the candidate match format , i think it's unfair to target Gelfand for his rating

Ok yes , if he becomes world champion , he will not be considered the best tournament player in the world (which is Carlsen , ok )

But in match play , in my book he will be the best until he's beaten . It's not his fault that the higher rated players did not qualify or participate in the candidate .

The player with the strongest nerves and better form and preparation usually comes out on top in Wch matches , and if Gelfand wins this match , it remains to be proven that the better tournament players or higher rated ones will manage to dominate Boris in a match

Anonymous's picture


Anonymous's picture


PP (nl)'s picture

That is not my point. I fully agree with you that the situation is not Gelfands fault. But this is clear for people that follow the sport to a certain extend. But for outsiders?

The world champion should (we can at least hope) be somebody that represents what is good about the sport. Or should at least be a bit special/strange. Gelfand is a nice person and a great chess player, but for the rest...

Carlos Cleto's picture

In past - most of you wasn´t born then - a great player matured in his forties, long after the prime age of the majority of the grandmasters.

Born in 1931, Viktor Korchnoi was writen off by the pundits after losing to Petrosian in the semifinal of the 1971 Candidates Tournament.

A candidate in 1962, 1968 and 1971, he seems old just in the wake of his major boost to fame.

Then, he wins the Candidates Tournament in 1977 and took the great Karpov to the ropes in Baguio 1978, losing a the royal battle by 6 x 5.

Gelfand was a brilliant young man, then went down... Is he prone to repeat Korchnoi ? The last try to glory in the mid-forties ?

Well, seems so !

dev's picture

probably anand missed the basic principles of chess that resulted in his this loss.

David's picture

Anand knows more basic principle of chess in his sleep than I will ever know (same is true of Gelfand), and I'm a master rated player.

This was one great player catching another on an off day and making it stick.

Michael Lubin's picture

"Anand didn't reveal his disappointment at the press conference"

What sort of caption is this? His disappointment was written all over his face, including in the very photograph that caption appeared under!

Hopefully, this will open the match up and we'll start seeing some titanic fights. Certainly, Anand cannot afford to keep playing the same way as before, or it's likely to be five more draws and out for him.

Ownerator's picture

You know the caption says ''Anand didn't hide his disappointment at the press conference'', right?

Peter Doggers's picture

First we had 'reveal', which was a mistake of course.

Manu's picture

I've never seen smile like Gelfand's smile in a chess player before in my life.
Applause to him .

sundararajan ganesan's picture

i am appalled by the majority of anti-anand sentiments (at times smacking racism!) ; one is sure that vishy will bounce back!

Lee's picture

I haven't detected any racism. I've detected a whole lot of ageism though. However Boris seems to be copping at least as much of that as Vishy.

Neither player has been cursed by overwhelming praise around here.

Anonymous's picture

Kasparov lost to Kramnik, and Anand defeated Kramnik. Topalov won the first game, but he later succeeded in losing. Anand may lose this match, but there are still chances he can win. Kasparov also lost to Topalov in the last game of his career! Let's not forget his insipid draws with Karpov, more than 17 in a row at times. Fischer was right, all of those matches were pre-arranged. I hope Anand will return with better play. If Anand doesn't win this match now, he deserves to lose. Playing overcautiously is his biggest mistake.

Harish Srinivasan's picture

Gelfand's team will have warned him that tomorrow the hammer will fall on him the hardest. Gelfand's best chance to win this match to survive tomorrow.

Raphael's picture

Kasparov lost to Kramnik, and Anand defeated Kramnik. Topalov won the first game, but he later succeeded in losing. Anand may lose this match, but there are still chances he can win. Kasparov also lost to Topalov in the last game of his career! Let's not forget his insipid draws with Karpov, more than 17 in a row at times. Fischer was right, all of those matches were pre-arranged. I hope Anand will return with better play. If Anand doesn't win this match now, he deserves to lose. Playing overcautiously is his biggest mistake.

chessian's picture

there is nothing surprising in Vishy's loss yesterday.

He is past his prime. isn't the writing was on the wall when he lost against nakamura, chucky, tiviakov in past months.?

Vishy fans should accept the reality and support Carlsen

PircAlert's picture

Anand, don't be discouraged. You can pull it off!

Deviate from theory as early as possible (move 8??) .

And if possible, try to use a strong computer unconnected to internet and do an overnight preparation in lines you have never analyzed or stored before and do it without any second's help.

Carlos Cleto's picture

There are a thing who no one are taking in account : Gelfand seems to get big on demand !

Look : Interzonal of Manila 90, Gelfand won. Interzonal of Biel 93, Gelfand won. Elista Candidates 2007, Gelfand got through. Mexico 2007, Gelfand equal 2nd with Kramnik. World Cup 2009, Gelfand won. Kazan Candidates 2009, Gelfand won.

But his rating was ever comparatively low. In Biel, only 6th (after Kramnik, Anand, Ivanchuk, Salov, Shirov. In Mexico, only 7th (besting only Grischuk). In Kazan, only 7th (besting only Kamsky).

Clearly, his rating don´t reflects his real force, when he gets in "fighting mood".

Remember Petrosian. All the Chess World spoke with disgust of the performances of the Armenian in 62/65, and his chances against Spassky was despised. In Chessmetrics, Abril 1966, Spassky was 1st, and Petrosian only 8th. But Petrosian disposed of Spassky almost with no effort in the 1966 match.

Clearly, Gelfand don´t concentrates himself in rating points.

Anonymous's picture


redivivo's picture

That is a bit of an after construction though, when it mattered he didn't produce any great results. Even if he won Interzonals just like Mecking he was beaten badly in the more important Candidates matches, for example by the much lower ranked Short, as well as by the aging Karpov. In the Candidates 2002 he had a really bad result, as in all the previous knockouts before 2009, and in the Grand Prix series that were qualification for Candidates.

There's no comparing him with Petrosian, in 1962-65 he was usually second in the strongest tournaments, but won the extremely strong Candidates and was ranked #1 in the world without much discussion in 1963-64.

S3's picture

The "aging Karpov" was still the number 2 in the world and still a better player than anyone currently around.

But in order to get to play the match against Karpov Gelfand had to win matches against Kramnik and Adams. Not bad at all, wouldn't you say?
Anyway, a few compatative failures in the late 90's don't change the fact that Gelfand tends to do well in the wch cycles.

In the end it's you who is biased and making "constructions". But I understand. It's hard to see the succes of someone who actually dares to play in wch cycles, no matter the format.

Bronkenstein's picture

Indeed, C.C. and S3. Grischuk also mentioned ´´the 2 different Gelfands´ in few occasions.

Prior to belittling Gelfy´s numerous achievements, we should compare them to the ones of today´s Elo favorites (which are mostly ´just´ being efficient in endless tournaments , ie pumping up the Elo).

redivivo's picture

There's no belittling Gelfand's achievements in saying that he's no Petrosian. The first 20 years of his career Gelfand didn't perform better or worse than could be expected in all the Candidates and World Championships he participated in in different formats. He was never anywhere close to win but that wasn't expected of him either, and that's why no one expected him to do well in Kazan either.

Tournaments aren't just about "pumping up the Elo", that's why the best players always did well in them. It's hard to find a World Champion that didn't have excellent tournament results the years just before and after winning the title. Not because they pumped up an Elo that didn't even exist when Lasker, Capablanca and Alekhine won top event after top event, but because the best players always win lots of tournaments against the strongest opposition.

Carlos Cleto's picture

Redivivo : You says , "It's hard to find a World Champion that didn't have excellent tournament results the years just before and after winning the title."...

Well, as I said before, Petrosian. He don´t win ANY internacional tournament in 55-62, but win the most important of all : Curaçao 62, and Botvinnik in 63.

And, "because the best players always win lots of tournaments against the strongest opposition" is debatable.

Reminds Botvinnik. He don´t have any clear win in the fifties after the Soviet Championship 52 (OK, he was equal first in Alyekhin Memorial in 56), but Smyslov and Tal discovered he remained a very tough nut to crack.

redivivo's picture

"Well, as I said before, Petrosian. He don´t win ANY internacional tournament in 55-62"

He won the Soviet Championship more than once during those years though, and those were the strongest tournaments that existed back then. Even if he played very few International tournaments in those years he was top three in Candidates 1956 and 1959 before winning in 1962, so his tournament results weren't bad.

In the first unoffical Elo list of 1964 Petrosian was ranked as #1 in the world together with Fischer, so as all later World Champions he has also been ranked as #1 going by Elo at some point. If Elo had existed before Petrosian all other World Champions would also have been #1 for long periods, with the exception of Euwe who still is #1 for a couple of years at Chessmetrics thanks to strong tournament results.

S3's picture

You are making the wrong argument here. That Gelfand isn´t Petrosian is clear. The comparison with Petrosian was made because he too didn´t win many tournaments and wasn´t the highest rated player but still a worthy world champion.

As for the rest, Gelfand did do relatively well during wch events no matter how often you deny the facts.

arkan's picture

As a firm opposer of the draws sofar i have to say this is an excellent result in more than one way - Anand looked so pissed off yesterday he will surely win today's game (or at least try very hard!) so he won't have to have another press conference like that again!

He has no choice now but to play (much) more agressively, i ithink we're in for a treat now

Anonymous's picture

Did everyone think that Anand was finished when Topalov scored the first win of their match? Why is this any different?

KingTal's picture

In that match Anand had 11 games left, now he has only 5, the pressure is much higher. Anand didn´t fight much the whole match long, but now he must switch his strategy 180° degrees and this can be very hard...

FP's picture

I also just want to say that Leko was a fantastic commentator. What an irony - when Leko comments the match turns in to a slugfest!

suspicious's picture

There is a rumor that Mossad is somehow involved in this match, with some agents staying at the same hotel as Anand.

Joe Fiasco's picture

Yes, I've heard so too. It seems they have hacked his opening repertoire and put in bogus variations and a new version of Pinball for him to waste time on ;)

classic's picture

Mossad's involvement in the match is strictly secret and therefore absolutely not true, so I cannot imagine where you got that information.

Joe Fiasco's picture

I believe, and would hope for his sanity, that 'suspicious' was just joking.

Soviet School's picture

Remember Schlecter, Bronstein and Leko , were all in the same or even better position as Gelfand , that is one up with games running out for the champion. So don't arrange the coronation yet.

I would also say Gelfand has played some excellent games in the past and that Match chess is very different from tournament chess.


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