Gelfand and Anand square off in last game of the match. Tension was high and building before an unexpected ending occurred. Photo by Anastasia Karlovich.
The angst was high amongst the fans, commentators and journalists alike and the Anand-Gelfand match ended in another short draw. The defending champion actually offered a draw a pawn up with an imbalanced position, not testing the challenger. Have elite players become too trusting in the technique of their peers? Perhaps.
“We are here to play the match, we are not here to entertain spectators. We don’t have to play out the moves; commentators can explain that.”
This game looked to be a strategic coup for Anand and he prepared a slightly improved version of the Rossolimo he trotted out in game 10. Anand sacrificed a pawn early, but would get fluid play against black’s cramped position. Gelfand got into horrible time pressure wading through the morass of variations and decided to return the pawn. He ended up losing another and the chess world was bracing for what is known as a “walk-off” win for Anand.
Anand defended his position by stating, “We really had a tense struggle and agreed to a draw only when we understood that a game wasn’t going anywhere”. Gelfand was a bit more defensive: “We are here to play the match, we are not here to entertain spectators. We don’t have to play out the moves; commentators can explain that.”
This comment got a lot of sarcastic remarks including the fact that the commentators were none to happy to explain the result to the fans. ICC Commentators GMs Suat Atalik and Alexander Yermolinsky were critical of the draw, and frankly disappointed. In the Twittersphere, a torrent of comments were posted by many of the top chess website personalities.
Vladimir Kramnik was shocked at the draw offer by Anand saying “I don’t see any reason for White to offer draw.” He further stated that Anand’s draw is “one of the strangest decisions I ever saw.” Six-time Russian Champion Peter Svidler was critical of Anand for offering a draw in such a position and thought the world champion could play on a few more moves with “no risk”. The game had tremendous imbalances and Grandmasters of old would have no doubt played this further.
What is clear is that both players are perhaps tired and their nerves are starting to fray. Both were seen catching glances at the other and Anand looked visibly nervous. The pressure is on, but Anand is a world-renown rapid player and this matchup should favor him. The match will begin Wednesday with Gelfand starting with white in a four-game match.
Score: Anand 6 – Gelfand 6
Former World Champion Vladimir Kramnik speaking here with GMs Maxim Dlugy and Joel Lautier. He was very critical at the draw offer by Anand. Photo by Alexey Yushenkov.
Analysis by GM Gilberto Milos.
2012 World Chess Championship (Game #12)
Official Site: http://moscow2012.fide.com/en/
Drum Coverage: http://www.thechessdrum.net/blog/2012/05/10/2012-world-championship-anand-vs-gelfand/