Gelfand to Dethrone Anand - Chess Pundits
Boris Gelfand is the favorite to dethrone India's world champion Viswanathan Anand now their title match in Moscow has gone to a rapid chess tie-break, Russian pundits told RIA Novosti on Tuesday.
The Israeli challenger spent 40 minutes on one move that he said rescued a draw in their 12th and final game on Monday at the State Tretyakov Gallery.
Tied 6-6, the grandmasters are to hold a tie-break on Wednesday, playing four matches with a shortened time limit of 25 minutes per player.
Most observers are of one mind that Anand has been well below his best throughout the series.
Russia national team head coach Evgeny Bareev said Gelfand has already missed several chances to finish him off.
"Against the Anand he was facing here, he could have won the match," Bareev said.
After six consecutive draws, Gelfand took the lead in the seventh game, but Anand hit back to level it after the Israeli surrendered after the 17th move, admitting a grave mistake in the opening.
"All he had to do was not to fail in this one game," Bareev said. "For the rest, he had complete control over the match and kept Anand, as they say, at a distance."
Sergei Smagin, the Moscow chess federation vice-president, said Anand is "in terrible shape, which forced him not to play to win, but to struggle all match long," demonstrating "a tremendous lack of confidence and lot of mistakes."
"The impression is that Viswanathan does not believe in himself, and sometimes feels shy over decision-making. When he has a choice between a careful move and the move that brings an objective advantage, but with an uncertain struggle, he always chooses the careful one. And you can't get big victories that way."
The situation is likely to be the same at a tie-break, giving the Israeli better chances to win provided that he copes with nerves, Smagin added.
If the four tie-break games fail to determine a winner, they play a maximum of 10 blitz games with five minutes per player. Then, if necessary, it goes to Armageddon, a single game in which white gets five minutes and black gets just four but is named the winner in the event of a draw.
Regardless of how the result is decided, the winner will receive $1.5 million, while the loser will earn $1 million.
Anand, 42, has held the undisputed title since October 2008, when he defeated Russia's Vladimir Kramnik in Bonn, Germany. He defended it in 2009 by beating Bulgarian opponent Veselin Topalov 6.5–5.5 in Sofia.
Gelfand, 43, gained the right to become the world title contender after a win last May against Russia's Alexander Grischuk at a contenders' tournament in Kazan, Russia.
Russian billionaire and Gelfand’s school friend Andrey Filatov paid $7 million from his own pocket to hold the event in one of the halls of the renowned State Tretyakov Gallery before the eyes of some 400 spectators.
Many others follow the matches on the huge electronic board hanging outside.