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World Chess Championship 2012 (2)

Anand holds Gelfand with black in World Championship Game 2

Gelfand couldn't make headway against Anand's Slav in game 2. Photo ©

Gelfand couldn't make headway against Anand's Slav in game 2. Photo © |

Viswanathan Anand drew with black against Boris Gelfand in just 25 moves of a Semi-Slav 5.e3 in second game of the World Chess Championship in Moscow's Tretyakov Gallery. They are tied at 1-1. Gelfand took some time after 14...Nf6 to choose between 15.Bg5 and 15.exd5, his eventual choice. Anand said the "position is supposed to be better for white just after 17.Be3. But I'd actually checked this and found that 17...Bf5 gives reasonable [play]". Anand had to be precise after this but with 19...Rfe8!, 21...h5! and 24...Kh7! Gelfand had nothing and offered the draw with 25.Rc5. Quotes from the press conference, photos and Malcolm Pein's notes in the body of the article. Game 3 Monday 3pm Moscow time, 12pm BST.

Nigel Short in commentary with Dirk Jan ten Geuzendam

Nigel Short in commentary with Dirk Jan ten Geuzendam. Short's last day, Timman for the next two rounds, then Lautier, Svidler (4 scheduled), Leko and Kramnik all take turns in the experts chair.

Nigel Short finished his second and final stint in the commentary box during the 2nd game. He felt the matches should be longer as they have more gravitas. There is something about the titanic struggles of the past that make the reputations of champions and he felt Anand had suffered from the lack of recent opportunities to play those. He felt that 16 games was a better number than 12.

Anand and Gelfand during game 2

Anand and Gelfand during game 2.

Anand on game 2

Originally the position is supposed to be better for white just after 17.Be3. But I'd actually checked this and found that 17...Bf5 gives reasonable .... I mean the drawing tendencies of the opposite coloured bishops are important, but I think 17...Bf5 is exact, there are other moves where my pieces are simply pushed back to bad squares. On the very next move after 19.Nd4, well I could make an effort to keep the bishop but I was afraid that something could go wrong there and I decided 19...Rfe8 would be safe enough. When he went 21.Bc5 briefly I thought that this might be unpleasant but very soon I realised white cannot use the advantage of the knight vs the bishop in any way. I think in the end it's just equal and there are many defensive structures for black.

Anand and Gelfand during game 2

Anand and Gelfand during game 2.

Gelfand on game 2

I managed to get a slight symbolic edge in the opening, first of all I thought there was a danger I wouldn't be able to pose any threat whatsoever. But for some time I was able to maintain the pressure but my opponent made a very clever decision to give away the bishop, it was a very good decision.

I wanted to keep my rook plus bishop vs the opponents rook plus knight but in a good position and this was not possible because the king was cut off from the rest of the pieces.

I didn't see any options to continue. Black had found a clever way to put the king in the game through Kh7 and f6 and mobilised all his pieces and so I couldn't find the slightest idea how to put any problems to black.

Anand and Gelfand during game 2

Anand and Gelfand during game 2.

The board during game 2

The board during game 2.

Boris Gelfand during game 2

Boris Gelfand during game 2.

Boris Gelfand was asked about regulations against short draws such as were used in the recent match between Kramnik and Aronian. He was a little more outspoken than you might expect.

"That was just a friendly match, so there were special rules introduced with just one rapid game. I'm not talking about this particular match but currently there is a perception that there should be some anti-draw rules introduced because some people think that chess players are just lazy-bones who don't want to do anything but actually I know who is backing these anti-draw rules but I don't think they are any good." - Boris Gelfand.

Anand during game 2

Anand during game 2.

The stage at the start of game 2

The stage at the start of game 2.

IM Malcolm Pein on Game 2

Gelfand,Boris (2727) - Anand,Viswanathan (2791) [D45]
WCh 2012 Moscow RUS (2), 11.05.2012
[IM Malcolm Pein]

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.e3 e6 5.Nf3 a6

Black often plays this on move 4 as well. Black prepares to play b7-b5 taking space.

[5...Nbd7 6.Bd3 dxc4 7.Bxc4 b5 Is the Slav Meran Variation where Black sometimes plays a7-a6 later to defend b5 and allow c6-c5 challenging the centre. So we could transpose]


So that b7-b5 can be calmly met by 7.Bd3


A clever move designed to force a white bishop onto a poor square

[6...b5 7.Bd3]


[7.Bb2 Qa5 8.Rc1 Qxa2]

7...Nbd7 8.Bd3 0-0 9.0-0 Bd6

Viswanathan Anand


Boris Gelfand

Position after 9...Bd6

Boris started to think. He had lost to Kasparov in 1991 playing Black in this position after 10.e4

[9...Qe7!? 10.Qc2 Re8 11.Rad1]


[10.e4 dxc4 11.bxc4 e5 12.c5! Bc7 13.Na4 exd4 14.h3! 1-0 Kasparov,G (2800)-Gelfand,B (2700)/Linares 1991]

10...e5 11.cxd5 cxd5 12.e4

Boris hopes his slightly more advanced development will assist in a more open position

[12.dxe5 Nxe5 13.Nxe5 Bxe5 Produces an Isolated Queen's Pawn position where Black's active pieces more than compensate for the slight weakness of pawn. If a white bishop was on b2 and not d2 he might be slightly better but here Black is fine 14.Ne2 (14.Ne2 Bg4) 14...Bxh2+ 15.Kxh2 Ng4+ 16.Kg3+-]

12...dxe4 13.Nxe4 Nxe4 14.Bxe4 Nf6

Viswanathan Anand


Boris Gelfand

Position after 14...Nf6

Very solid, a real challenge for White to extract something 'A slight symbolic edge' - Gelfand At this stage it was clear that if there was an advantage to be secured Boris needed to think hard and he did for 30 minutes before deciding against 15.Bg5


[15.Bg5 exd4 Seems to work in all lines 16.Nxd4 (16.Qxd4 Bxh2+ 17.Kxh2 Qxd4 18.Nxd4 Nxe4; 16.Rc4 h6 17.Rxd4 hxg5 18.Rxd6 Qe7= 19.Bd5 Bg4) 16...Bxh2+ 17.Kxh2 Qd6+ 18.Kg1 Nxe4]

15...Nxe4 16.exd6 Qxd6 17.Be3 Bf5

Viswanathan Anand


Boris Gelfand

Position after 17...Bf5

And now I guess Qxd6 and Rfd1 White has an edge for sure but the opposite bishops might make it fizzle out. Indeed after the game Anand said he had checked this position and determined it was level

18.Qxd6 Nxd6 19.Nd4

A natural move but the white knight is now closer to the black knight and if they are exchanged it's very drawish with opposite coloured bishops. However that's not the way it turned out

[19.Rfd1 Rfd8 20.Bb6 Rdc8 21.Nd4 Rxc1 22.Rxc1 Rc8=]


Viswanathan Anand


Boris Gelfand

Position after 19...Rfe8

It's one of those positions where a few accurate moves should secure the draw but as Nigel Short pointed out, such accuracy often requires tactical skill and here we see an example


Vishy equalises easily now indeed from the video I sensed he might have been feeling more relaxed after this.

[White appears to be winning after 20.Bf4 but 20...Re4!=; 20.Rc7 Bg6 21.a4 f6 22.Rfc1 Continues the struggle but I cannot see any way for White to progress]

20...Nxf5 21.Bc5 h5

Viswanathan Anand


Boris Gelfand

Position after 21...h5

White has bishop v knight on an open board but the knight is well placed and stable

22.Rfd1 Rac8 23.Kf1 f6 24.Bb4 Kh7

'A clever way to get the king in the game' - Gelfand


Not a very exciting game but these are two supremely well prepared players. ' I couldn't see any possibility to continue' - Gelfand

[25.Rc5 Kg6 26.Rdc1 Rxc5 27.Rxc5 Rd8 28.Rc7 Rd1+ 29.Ke2 Ra1=]


Viswanathan Anand


Boris Gelfand

Position after 25.Rc5

Anand and Gelfand at the Press Conference

Anand and Gelfand at the Press Conference.

WCh Moscow
Anand, Viswanathan - Gelfand, Boris ½-½ 24 D85 Gruenfeld Defence
Gelfand, Boris - Anand, Viswanathan ½-½ 25 D45 Anti-Meran Variations

WCh Moscow (BUL), 11 v - 31 v 2012
Name Ti NAT Rtng 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Total Perf
Anand, Viswanathan g IND 2791 ½ ½ . . . . . . . . . . 1 2727
Gelfand, Boris g ISR 2727 ½ ½ . . . . . . . . . . 1 2791

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