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Anand held by Gelfand, scores remain level

Reigning world champion Viswanathan Anand failed to take advantage of the white pieces and settled for a draw against Israeli challenger Boris Gelfand in the tenth game of the World Chess Championship here yesterday.


Still tied: Viswanathan Anand mulls a move against Boris Gelfand during the world championship in Moscow. Pic/AFP

Playing the tenth game in the 12-game championship with white, Anand did not get the desired advantage he was hoping for even as the position looked favourable for a long time for the Indian. The scores are now tied 5-5 with just a couple of games to go. Drifting a step away from the usual queen pawn, the Indian Grandmaster made sure to keep that surprise element in the match and went for the king pawn opening for the second time in the match.

While the first king pawn game ended in a draw in the Sveshnikov Sicilian, Anand went for the Rossolimo variation that has a solid positional basis. Gelfand went for an uncompromising variation, which is not very common at elite levels. Anand got an advantage when Gelfand offered to trade the queens early in the opening, taking his fractured pawn structure on the queen side in the stride.

The queens were traded off on the 12th move along with a pair of minor piece. Anand had the better structure, while Gelfand had the Bishop pair advantage in a semi-open position. As the game went on, Gelfand used his wisdom to ward off white’s threats almost nonchalantly with routine, but purposeful developing moves.

By the 15th move, Anand had a rook on the only open file, but Gelfand went on level terms just a couple of moves later. Anand could not do any damage to black’s position despite a dominating knight on the queen side and when he tried to put pressure on the weak black pawn, Gelfand quickly covered it with a knight manoeuvres. 

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