Bareev: India’s Viswanathan Anand is the “overwhelming favorite” to retain his world chess title
14:44 22/05/2012
MOSCOW, May 22 (RIA Novosti)

India’s Viswanathan Anand is the “overwhelming favorite” to retain his world chess title after winning the eighth series game against Israeli challenger Boris Gelfand, former Russia national team coach Evgeny Bareev told RIA Novosti on Tuesday.

After six consecutive draws in the 12-match series, Gelfand took the lead on Sunday, registering his first win over Anand in 19 years. But Anand hit back Monday after the Israli surrendered following the 17th move.

The series is finely poised at four-four with four games to go, but Bareev said the momentum is with the defending champion.

“If the result was 4-4 after eight draws I would say that the chances are equal,” Bareev said. “But with the 4-4 result after the two last games I would say that Anand is the overwhelming favorite in the contest.”

Bareev expects Anand’s confidence to build.

“It’s one thing when Boris [Gelfand] conducts the match according to his plan, playing for comfortable draws,” Bareev said.

“But now it will be extremely difficult for him to return to that state, to turn the tide of the match. Moreover, I don’t believe any more that Anand will be as bad as at the start of the match. I believe that the eighth game will have given him confidence and additional strength.”

If the score remains equal after 12 games, a tie-breaker will be held May 30, with the grandmasters playing four matches with a shortened time limit of 60 minutes per player.

If that fails to determine a winner, it turns to Armageddon, whereby the white gets five minutes compared with just four for black, who is named the winner in the event of a draw.

Anand is considered especially strong at blitz chess.

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 World Chess Champion title since October 2008, when he defeated Russia’s Vladimir Kramnik in Bonn, Germany. He defended his title 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.

Bareev, 45, is a four-time Chess Olympiad medalist and a winner of 1997 and 2005 world championships with the Russian national team.

He became Russia coach in 2010, leading a team that included Kramnik, Grischuk and Peter Svidler, to silver in that year’s Chess Olympiad in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia.

Bareev resigned after Russian grandmasters failed to win medals at the 2010 world championship Ningbo, China.


Chess Daily News from Susan Polgar
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