2012 World Chess Championship
The 2012 World Chess Championship between world champion Vishwanatan (Vishy) Anand of India and challenger Boris Gelfand of Israel is underway . So far, there have been four draws (computer preparation?).
The world championship match started on May 10, 2012 in Moscow, Russia. The playing site is the Engineering Building of the State Tretyakov Gallery (home of over 170,000 works of art). The prize fund is $2.55 million. The winner gets $1.53 million (60%) and the loser gets $1.02 million (40%). The main sponsor is Russian billionaire and chess enthusiast Andrei Filatov, the CEO of N-Trans transportation-and-infrastructure group. He is a good friend of Boris Gelfand, and wants to see him win.
Anand has been a 5-time world champion since 2007, but he is not the strongest player in the world. In fact, he is ranked #4 in the world. Gelfand is ranked #20 in the world. The #1 ranked player in the world, Magnus Carlsen, did not play in the Candidates’ Knock-Out Tournament to decide the challenger.
Anand is the only player in history to win a world championship in three different formats: match, tournament, and knockout conditions.
Galfand won the Candidates Matches in Kazan in 2011 and won the World Chess Cup in Khanty-Mansiysk in 2009.
Carlson is rated 2835, followed by Levon Aronian at 2825, then former world champion Vladimir Kramnik at 2801. These are the only three active players rated over 2800. Anand is rated 2791. Between Anand and Gelfand, you have such players as Radjabov, Karjakin, Nakamura, Caruana, Morozevich, Ivanchuk (who just won the Capablanca Memorial in Cuba), Grischuk, former world champion and previous challenger Topalov, Svidler, Kamsky, Tornashevsky, Wang, Gashimov, Jakovenko, and Michael Adams.
The match is the best of 12 games (Fischer would have never approved). The time control is 2 hours per side, with another hour added after move 40, then 15 minutes added after move 60, then 30 additional seconds after move 60. If there is a 6-6 tie, then four rapid games will be played. If the match is still tied, then there can be as many as 10 blitz games. If it is still tied, then there is a single sudden-death “Armageddon game.”
Prior to the match, Anand and Gelfanad have played 35 classical games against each other. Anand has won 6 games, Gelfand has won 5 games, and they each have had 24 draws against each other.
Game one was played on May 11. Game two was played on May 12. May 13 was a rest day. Game three was played on May 14. Game four was played on May 15. May 16 is a rest day. Game 5 will be played on May 17. The 12th game is scheduled on May 28. If a tiebreak is necessary, the match will resume on May 30. All the games begin at 3 p.m. Moscow time.
So far, the first four games opened up with 1.d4. Anand had White in the first game and Gelfand played the Gruenfeld Defense. The game ended in a draw in 24 moves. Game two was a Queen’s Gambit Declined, Slav Defense, with Gelfand playing White. The game ended in 25 moves. Game three was another Grunfeld, ending in 37 moves. Game four was another Slav, ending in 34 moves. If the rest of the game continue this way, then this may be the most boring world championship match in history.
I guess it could be worse. The 1984-85 world chess championship between Karpov and Kasparov saw 40 out of the 48 games drawn before the match was abandoned. And the Kasparov-Anand world championship match in 1995 started out with 8 draws. And if you want real excitement, check out the games in the 2012 U.S. Championship. Currently, Hikaru Nakamura and Gata Kamsky are tied for 1st place in the event. Both players have played some good games. Even if it is a draw, the games may last over 100 moves such as Nakamura’s last game.
After the fourth game, Anand said, “Well, it was four draws. The match is developing. We’re still probing. It’s very early. You don’t really want to be doing evaluations. So far, it’s a pretty tough match.”
- Bill Wall