The eighth game of the match for FIDE World Champion was played on 21 May at the State Tretyakov Gallery’s Engineering Building

The eighth game of the match began exactly like the third one, which was the only game where Boris Gelfand was on the verge of defeat but still managed to survive. There’s no surprise that as soon as on move 3 Black moved away from the previous games. A pawn structure appeared on the board that is typical of Saemisch system of the King’s Indian, but there was a significant difference in the position of the pieces: both white knights were on the queenside. Trying to use this circumstance, Black decided to go for complications on the kingside, thus provoking Viswanathan Anand to push forward the g-pawn, which would weaken his king’s position. The world champion picked up the gauntlet and sharp play started where the opponents had to calculate a great number of lines. Gelfand miscalculated one of them: as he admitted, when making his move 14…Qf6, he hadn’t noticed the reply 17.Qf2!, after which Black’s position immediately became hopeless. Since he failed to find a defense against large material losses or a mate attack, the challenger resigned.

During the press conference, which took place immediately after the game, Boris Gelfand confessed that he simply failed to spot white’s 17. Qf2. After playing 14…Qf6, he could only see 17. Qf4, after which white would have to play either 18. Bd3 or 18. Bh3. The Israeli grandmaster also considered the possibility of offering a losing exchange after a potential 15. Kc2 Nf4 16. Ne4 continuation. An interesting position appeared after 16… Re4 17. fe. “I played a risky variation and thought it would turn out okay, but I didn’t anticipate White’s last move. It’s difficult to say where I could have played better. I think that, if this variation fails, then the whole concept is wrong. Of course, I could have just played Knight to g7 or f6 on the 14th move instead of Qf6, but then Black’s position would have been worse after 15. h4.”

Viswanathan Anand admitted that he had seen the possible blunder as early as the 11th move, when he played pawn takes f5. “At first I had the same thought as Boris – that actually I had to go Queen f4, and then I refined it to Queen f2, and that’s how it happened.” The world champion called move 7… Nh5 provocative as Black usually plays this move after 7… e6. He could have responded more aggressively and played 7. g4, but considered this to be too “committal”. “I played Bg5 taking advantage of the fact that had not played his pawn on e7.”
When asked how had they slept the night before, after game 7, the challenger said that he had slept very well – eight hours non-stop. The champion, on the other hand, said that it had not been his best sleep of the match.

Anand was then asked if his state of mind had changed following yesterday’s game – if it would help him to get back to playing his usual game. “In general, I’d like to think that I’m playing each game quite hard, but it’s clear these last two games are not like before – it’s emotionally much more tough. I don’t know if I played particularly aggressively today. I think it’s just the consequence of this position and white needs to gain space,” he commented, “I mean, if I played well, I’m happy.”

When the world champion – who is known for his fast play – was asked why he had been using a lot of time in the games, the Indian grandmaster explained: “Well, in general, I would say it’s much more evolutionary than something else that I’ve changed from one day to the next. It’s happened quite gradually and, obviously, in World Championship matches, I tend to do it a lot more even. But then there’s a lot to remember.”

Anand regained the balance: after 8 games the score is 4-4. Today, on 22 May, the opponents have a rest day. The ninth game will be played on Wednesday, 23 May. Gelfand will play White.
Player’s press conference and photos are available on the match’s official website:

The FIDE World Chess Championship match between the world champion Viswanathan Anand (India) and the challenger Boris Gelfand (Israel) will take place from 10 to 31 May 2012 in the Engineering Building of the State Tretyakov Gallery. Chess championship match will be taking place in one of the world’s biggest museums for the first time.

Organisers of the match are FIDE (the World Chess Federation) and the RCF (the Russian Chess Federation). Initiator of the idea of holding the match in Moscow and its sponsor is the Russian entrepreneur Andrei Filatov (joint owner of the N-Trans Group). Other sponsors of the contest include businessman Gennady Timchenko and the Ladoga charitable foundation, and also the NVisionGroup, Novatek and Almaz-Antei companies.

Contact information for journalists:
Mark Glukhovsky
Press Attaché for the Russian Chess Federation
at the World Championship Match

Chess Daily News from Susan Polgar
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