1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. f3 This is a nice little surprise for Gelfand.
3…d5 Interestingly, it did not take Gelfand long to respond with this move.
4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. e4 Nb6 6. Nc3 Bg7 7. Be3 O-O 8. Qd2 e5 9. h4 We certainly will not see a boring symmetrical game today. This is quite sharp.
c6 10. h4 cxd5 11. exd5 N8d7 12. h5 Nf6 13. hxg6 fxg6 14… 0-0-0 Bd7 So far, there is no new novelty yet. Both players are also moving extremely fast.
Most logical for white now is to develop the Knight to h3 then to g5, possibly to the e6 square eventually.
In a world championship, psychology plays a big role. I remember deciding to play 1. e4 instead of my usual 1. d4 in my WC match. It blew the mind of my opponent off as she could not have predicted it. 1. f3 may not be the best but it was played to shock Gelfand.
15. Kb1 Rc8 And now 16. d6 Be5 17. Nh3 is a possibility. This is the key moment of the game for white so Anand is taking his time.
Anand chose 16. Ka1 instead. This is quite interesting. This must be what Anand and his team prepared for. Gelfand responded very fast with 16…e4. Who is surprising who now? Very interesting psychological battle.
If 17. fxe4 Rxc3 18. Qxc3 (18. bxc3 Nxe4 -+) Nxe4 then black is better. Anand must be very careful here. Boris prepared this at home.
I have a feeling that Anand will play it safe with 17. Bd4 since he has been surprised.
My friend GM Robert Fontaine of Europe Echecs said that Anand is down by about 30 minutes on the clock with white. Wow. Very unusual position for Anand.
17…Na4 Gelfand is willing to sacrifice a pawn. Very complicated position.
18. Nge2 A possible line off the top of my head: 18…Qa5 19. Nxe4 Qxd2 20. Nxf6+ Rxf6 21. Rxd2 Rf5 22. Bxg7 Kxg7
18…Qa5 19. Nxe4 Qxd2 20. Nxf6+ Rxf6 21. Rxd2 Rf5 22. Bxg7 Kxg7 Exactly as I expected. Black expects to win the d pawn back and the position is equal.
White is temporarily a pawn up. But Black’s pieces are very active.
23. d6 to try to preserve the pawn. However, once black plays Nb6, followed by Rd5, Black can easily equalized.
23…Rfc5 is not as accurate. 24. Rd1 and white still has a small edge. However, Gelfand should still be able to hold.
24…a5 Another unusual move for Gelfand. I hope he’s not mis-evaluating this position.
Since White cannot develop his h1 Rook the traditional way, it’s best if he moves it to h4 then going across.
25. Rh4 Rc2 White is still better but Black has compensation.
26. b3 Nb2 27. Rb1 Nd3 This is getting very interesting. Anand is low on time. Will he be able to sort things out? If he can, White is still better.
28. Nd4 Rd2 29. Bxd3 Rxd3 30. Re1 Anand is doing good in spite of time pressure. Gelfand has to be nearly perfect to even have a chance to hold.
30…Rd2 31. Kb1 Bf5+ 32. Nxf5+ gxf5 33. Re7+ Kg6 34. Rc7 Re8 35. Rh1 Ree2 36. d7 Rb2+ 37. Kc1 Rxa2 1/2 Much more exciting draw than the previous 2 games.