WCC2012-1: Match starts with Draw

There certainly will be no personality clashes in this match since both Viswanathan Anand and Boris Gelfand share deep respect for one another and have been on friendly terms for more than a decade. However, expect hostilities on the board.

Anand is about to face Gelfand's Grunfeld Defense. Photo by Alexey Yushenkov.

Viswanathan Anand is about to face Boris Gelfand’s Grunfeld Defense.
Photo by Alexey Yushenkov.

In the first game of this championship bout, Anand eschewed 1.e4 and played 1.d4. Gelfand pulled the first surprise with a Grunfeld, an opening that may have been the result of home preparation. Fortunately Anand had looked at it and quickly played a counter surprise in 8.Bb5+ Nc6 9.d5!? This sent Gelfand into a long think, but he found his way through a maze of variations.

British GM Nigel Short (along with Dirk Jan ten Geuzendam) was on the call and he belted out a couple of lines… one being the exchange sacrifice leading to unclear conclusions. Gelfand didn’t bite, but was able to create some problems for Anand after 12…Qxa2.

Just as the game seem to be shifting slightly in Gelfand’s favor, he made a slight inaccuracy 22…f5?! which led to dynamic equality. Short had suggested 22…Bd7 in the post-mortem. This appeared to be a way to play for an edge, but Gelfand stated that he could not hope for more in the final position. “I spent a long time considering my final move, but I couldn’t see a way to improve my position,” stated the challenger. Yet, the result would have to be considered a success for the challenger.

Game Analysis of Game #1

Video by GM Daniel King.

Official Site: https://moscow2012.fide.com/en/
Drum Coverage: https://www.thechessdrum.net/blog/2012/05/10/2012-world-championship-anand-vs-gelfand/

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