Monday, May 28, 2012

World Chess Championship Update

After about Game 4 of this match, I had a sinking feeling that we were headed for a tie-breaker. And so it has proved. Today was Game 12, the last regular game of the match, and the score was 5 1/2 to 5 1/2. Viswanathan Anand, the world champion, had white, while Boris Gelfand, the challenger, had black. Anand started with P-K4, Gelfand again responded with the Sicilian Defense (P-QB4), and they went on from there as they did in Game 10:

1. P-K4 P-QB4
2. N-KB3 N-QB3
3. B-N5 P-K3
4. B x N NP x B

At this point, Anand went off in a different direction:

5. P-Q3 N-K2
6. P-QN3 P-Q3
7. P-K5 N-N3
8. P-KR4 N x KP (white sacrifices a pawn, but black's queen's bishop is blocked)
9. N x N P x N (black now has two doubled pawns)
10. N-Q2 P-B5 (black sacrifices a pawn of his own to get more space)
11. N x P B-R3 (black's queen's bishop gets free)
12. Q-B3 Q-Q4
13. Q x Q BP x Q
14. N x P P-B3
15. N-B3 P-K4
16. O-O K-B2
17. P-B4 B-K2
18. B-K3 B-N2
19. P x P B x P
20. KR-QB1 P-QR4
21. B-B5 KR-Q1
22. B x B

Now up to this point, it looked as though Anand were lining up for a major assault on black's position. And Gelfand had fallen way behind on time -- he only had 16 minutes left for his next 19 moves. So it appeared that we might be in for some high drama. Instead, at this point Anand offered a draw, which Gelfand accepted. As you can read here, it seems that everyone except for the two players was disappointed.

Oh, well. If I have learned anything from soccer, it is that if an international body with a French name (like Federation Internationale des Echecs) creates a horrible tie-breaker, that tie-breaker will be used a lot more often than we Americans would like.


Anand (IND) 6 - 6 Gelfand (ISR)

Note: Only two of 10 matches did not end in draws, and one of those matches lasted only 17 moves. I think only one of the draws went more than 40 moves, but I'm not going to waste the effort to look it up. There were a lot of short, agreed draws -- on that point I'm certain.

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