Gelfand’s first match against Anand on Friday in the FIDE World Chess Championship also ended in a draw. The draw was considered as a good start for the Israeli contender as he played black, which put him at a disadvantage.
On Saturday, playing with white the second match, Gelfand played an opener that was intended to give him a minor — but stable advantage. According to a computer-generated analysis of the game, Gelfand had played the opening he chose on Saturday twice in the past, winning both times, although both instances were in matches where he was pitted against weaker rivals.
Anand found a way to neutralize Gelfand’s initiative, however, and after an exchange of queens it was obvious that the two were headed for a draw. According to Gelfand, Saturday’s draw was achieved from a position of strength, Haaretz reported. “I am satisfied that I managed to neutralise Gelfand’s initiative,” Anand said.
Gelfand seemed calm. Asked whether he was nervous at his first bid for the World Championship, he answered, “I heard many stories of ‘fear of heights’ at an occasion like this. Retroactively, I wouldn’t worry.”
Anand said that he was surprised by his opponent’s choice of opening, which Gelfand doesn’t use often. The next round of the tournament will be played Monday. Anand is the reigning champion, and Gelfand, the challenger. The match will consist of a total of 12 games. The winner will get $1.5 million and the loser $1 million.