Anand was a hot favourite against Gelfand

Last Updated: Thu, May 31, 2012 20:02 hrs

Viswanathan Anand retained the title of world champion, beating Israeli challenger Boris Gelfand in tiebreakers in the world title match at the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow. It was the Indian Grandmaster’s third successful defence of the title he won in 2007. The winner’s purse amounted to $1.55 million.

At a rapid time control of 25 minutes plus 10 seconds increment per move, Anand was the heavy favourite, with a 11-1 head-to-head record. However, Gelfand made a great effort and had his share of chances.

Game one was drawn after extreme complications, where both players may have missed certain key moves. Gelfand, playing with the white pieces, allowed Anand to denude his kingside with a temporary bishop sacrifice in a Slav Defence. But Gelfand fought back with an equally sharp counter-attack, forcing a draw in 32 moves.

Game two went decisively in favour of Anand. He unveiled a strong novelty in the Sicilian Rossolimo and gained a little advantage. Gelfand generated ingenious counterplay and managed to simplify to a drawn endgame, before again making errors in extreme time trouble. Eventually, Anand won in 77 moves.

Game three saw Gelfand gain an enormous advantage against an irregular Slav Defence. He missed a simple win on move 26 and Anand clawed his way back. Gelfand missed another clear win on move 61, finally splitting the point on 63.

Game four again saw Gelfand generate some advantage when Anand played passively for a draw against the Sicilian. However Anand solved his problems neatly with concrete tactical manoeuvres and forced the draw in 56 moves.

The Diagram position, BLACK TO PLAY (Anand Vs Gelfand, Game two, tiebreaks, World Chps, 2012) is a draw after 71. – Bh1 for example. But Gelfand was down to 2 seconds and played 71.-- Rf5? 72. Ne6+ Kc8 73. Nd4 Rf8 74. Nxf3 Rxf3 75. Kb6 Rb3. Due to 74. --Kb8?? 75. Rg8#, black can't block the pawn. The game ended 76. Rg8+ Kd7 77. Rb8! (1-0) This is a known win since the 15th century. White wins mechanically, for example, 77. - Rb1 78. Ka7 Ra1+ 79. Kb7 Rb1 80. b6 Rb2 81. Rh8 Rb1 82. Ka7 Ra1+ 83. Kb8 Rb1 84. b7 Ra1 85. Rh4 Ra2 86. Rd4+ Ke7 87. Kc7 Rc2+ 88. Kb6 Rb2+ 89. Kc6 Rc2+ 90. Kb5 Rb2+ 91. Rb4, etc.

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