The World Championship Rapid Tie-break games 2012 between Anand and Gelfand
The World Championship Tie-break Rapid games were fiercely contested between Anand and Gelfand. The time limit was 25 minutes each with a 10 second increment – 10 seconds added for each move played.
In Game 1, there was a very exciting series of tactical exchanges which were prompted when White played the move a4. Vishy seemed to pounce not only onto this weakness but also the light squares around White’s king when he played Qf3. However, this let to some fireworks. A win was missed by Gelfand at the point where instead simplification occurred into a drawn endgame.
Anand seemingly uncorked an important novelty in the Rossolimo variation against the Sicilian Sveshnikov which maybe had been considered by Anand’s team during the main match. Despite this and apparent huge difficulties after the Opening, Gelfand played remarkably resourcefully in the face of seemingly very dangerous threats like Nb5 by counter-sacrificing a pawn. Anand did not take the sacrificed pawn on g7 however, but instead played Rg5 which seemed very strong. Despite this, Gelfand managed to coordinate very well his rooks and bishop, and White’s knight on e3 looked very fragile for a While. Somehow Anand managed to solve many of the problems, and they entered a technically drawing position but due to immense time pressure Gelfand allowed his bishop to be exchanged off with a Knight fork leading to a technically won rook and pawn ending position.
In this game, it seemed Gelfand had a tremendous position from the Opening which wasn’t helped by Anand’s Rc8 – which seemed to accelerate White’s queenside attack – involving a quick b4-b5 and Ba6 to target the poor rook on c8. At one point Gelfand missed a clear day-light win with Nxe4 which would have basically won the b8 bishop which was not going anywhere. Somehow even though a pawn down, Anand created lots of counterplay and was able to get a theoretically drawn position – but a further blunder may have cost him dearly. The blunder was not exploited and instead a theoretically drawn position was again reached.
Anand just needed to secure a draw in this game but at one stage it looked as though Black had a very pleasant position with the bishop pair. However the adventure of the Black king coming down the board was short-lived as Anand had in mind a very important repelling tactical resource with Nh4+ and Nxg6 to stop the progress of the King. Anand managed to simplify into an opposite coloured bishop and rook endgame, and then the bishops came off leaving Anand with an ideal grip on the d6 pawn and the Black king cut off. Gelfand could not make any progress here and had to concede the draw and the match.
Summary and Conclusions
The Tie-break was not at all one-sided as many people might have imagined. Gelfand had many chances and opportunities, and really it became a test of nerves.
Congratulations to Vishy Anand on retaining his World Champion Title! Also congratulations to Boris Gelfand for being such an incredibly hard opponent for Anand to face both in the main match and in the Tie-break Rapid match.