Viswanathan Anand retains World title

May 31, 2012, 11:02 IST | Manisha Mohite

Anand's expertise in tie-breakers helps him outfox Israeli challenger Gelfand to win title

Once again it was one of most lethal weapon in Viswanathan Anand’s chess armoury which was instrumental in him winning the World Chess Championship for the fifth time.

Israeli challenger Boris Gelfand (left) congratulates world champion Viswanathan Anand after yesterday’s tie-break of the FIDE World Chess Championship match in Moscow. Anand won 2.5-1.5. Pic/AFP

Anand defeated Challenger Boris Gelfand of Israel 2.5-1.5 in a thrilling tie- break in the Rapid time control, yesterday night at the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow. The first game ended in deadlock and Anand struck in the second game with Whites and let the third and fourth game drift into draws.

The Speed King who had been on the slow and steady side in most of the 12 Classical Games was once again his normal self swift, and in full tactical mode.  Gelfand, a product of the legendary Soviet School of chess which emphasises on precise technique and sound positional understanding was no match for Anand’s speed and tactical prowess. If in the Classical time controls, Gelfand had solved his problems on board by consuming large amount of time, yesterday he found himself on borrowed time, for most part of the decisive second game which Anand pocketed.

Gelfand having first strike with whites could not make much headway in the first game and it appeared that the players were more interested in some superficial skirmish rather than going the whole way. The second game was once again sort of a theoretical discussion of the Sicilian Rossolimo which Anand had used in the 10th and the 12th Classical game. 

In both those games Anand held advantage but was unable to convert and one got the impression that this was definitely unexplored territory. It became very apparent that Anand had some home brewed preparation which was unused in the Classical games and it was hardly surprising to see a novelty unleashed on the 7th turn.  Once again the queens were exchanged early but the speed with which Anand moved strongly indicated that the World Champion was driving on a very familiar route. Anand’s King could not castle while Gelfand castled on the queen side. Thereafter, there was some exchange of pieces and a fascinating battle between two rooks and a minor piece ensued. 

Anand was distinctly better and his speed play left Gelfand falling behind the clock virtually with every move. In the ending stages Gelfand was virtually surviving on the 10 seconds increment which were like a breather and kept him in the game.  Next to be exchanged were one set of rooks , leaving each with a rook and minor piece each. Anand did have an extra pawn but technically these endings provide drawing opportunities. Anand craftily had sighted a winning pattern and slowly started working his way towards it. Gelfand having less and less time walked into the trap set by Anand and blundered on the 71st mov e and resigned on the 77th.

In the third game there were tricky moments for the world Champion as he skated on thin ice and it appeared that Gelfand might bounce back. However once again Anand’s speed once again had Gelfand gasping for time and allowed Anand to run away with the draw. In the final fourth game Anand was a bit passive with the Whites, intending to sit for the draw but Gelfand kept on pressurizing as it was his last chance to keep his life long dream of winning the World title alive.  Anand however played superbly in the middle-game and appeared to have advantage in the complicated position. After 56 moves, draw was signed giving the title to Anand. 

Shah Rukh Khan
He is the greatest champion our country has produced. It is one of the greatest achievements. He is the greatest sportsman of our country. I have followed chess and I know it is one of the toughest sport.

Harsha Bhogle
Anand’s contribution goes beyond this win....started a chess revolution in India. Only one international master before him. Genuine pioneer.

Vijay Mallya
Congratulations to Viswanathan Anand on clinching his 5th World Chess Championship title.

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