WCC2012-3: Near Miss for Anand

This game was certainly the most exciting yet.

Game three was certainly a crowd pleaser! After complaints of the first two games, this game showed that the “feeling out” process is over. Photo by Alexey Yushenkov.

After weathering the storm of Boris Gelfand’s assault, World Champion Viswanathan Anand was pressing for the win with his extra pawn. Unfortunately, the champion was bitten by the time pressure bug and he missed his opportunity.

Gelfand clearly came out of the gate well-prepared with his Grunfeld. Anand castled queenside after opening the h-file, so the game was certainly going to be a fight. The challenger played very actively and after 18…Qa5 his pieces were fully mobilized. He then sacrificed a pawn for positional pressure and maintained it after 23…Rfc5 (diagram 1). On the webcast, Anand looked a bit uncomfortable and both were sneaking glances at the other trying to get some hints.

Anand-Gelfand (game 3 after 23...Rfc5)Anand-Gelfand (game 3 after 26...Nb2)

After 23…Rfc5 24.Rd1, Gelfand played 24…a5 (24…Nxb2?! was looked at) which did not win many fans. There was an endorsement of 24…Nb6. After 25. Rh4 Rc2 26. b3 Gelfand made the plunge with 26…Nb2!? (diagram 2) and glanced at Anand as he made the move. Was Anand’s king in mortal danger?

Anand appeared a bit worried.

Viswanathan Anand appeared a bit worried as Boris Gelfand was pressing.
Photo from screenshot at https://moscow2012.fide.com/en/.

The game continued 27.Rb1 Nd3 28. Nd4 Rd2 (28…Nb4? was suggested but after 29.Nxc2 Rxc2 30.Re1! Rxa2+ 31.Kb1 Bf5+ 32.Kb1 black has nothing) 29. Bxd3 Rxd3 and Anand began to look more relieved. Now that Anand was no longer in danger, the game turned critical for Gelfand.

Anand-Gelfand (game 3 after 33...Kg6)Anand-Gelfand (game 3 after 37...Rxa2)

After 33.Re7+ Kg6 (diagram 3), there were many lines being trotted out such as 34.d7! Rcc2 35.Rc4! Rxc4 (not 35…Rb2+) 36.bxc4 was said to give better chances. Anand instead played 34. Rc7 and after 34…Re8 he played the passive 35. Rh1?! Gelfand got his rooks on the 7th and created perpetual mating threats so a draw was agreed after 37…Rxa2 (diagram 4).

In an interview with Chessvibes, Nigel Short called the match a “damp squib” after round two, but it is certain that he perked up on this one!

Game Analysis of Game #3

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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