Opening ceremonies will be held Thursday at Moscow’s Tretyakov Gallery for the 12-game, three-week FIDE world title match between champion Viswanathan Anand of India and Russian-born challenger GM Boris Gelfand, based in Israel. Game 1 will be played Friday, with play concluding May 28.
If the score is tied after 12 games, the players will play a four-game rapid playoff (Game/25) on May 30.
Gelfand, who leapfrogged several higher-ranked players to qualify for the finals, is a distinct underdog, but he is a hard man to beat, and his career record against the champ at classical time controls is a respectable five wins against six losses, with 16 draws. (Anand has dominated the challenger at faster time controls.)
We’ll also be keeping tabs on the U.S. men’s and women’s national championship tournaments, which start Tuesday in St. Louis. The format returns to the classic 12-player round robin, and on the men’s side, defending champion Gata Kamsky will be tested by such strong rivals as GMs Hikaru Nakamura, Alex Onischuk, Robert Hess and Yasser Seirawan.