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Anand, Gelfand set for Rapid chess tie-break

Last updated on: May 29, 2012 16:12 IST

Anand, Gelfand set for Rapid chess tie-break

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Defending champion Viswanathan Anand is set to fight it out in a Rapid chess tie-breaker against challenger Boris Gelfand after a tied 6-6 result in the World Chess Championship match in Moscow on Wednesday.

To start with, there will be four games under rapid chess rules with 25 minutes to each player and a ten seconds increment after every move is made.

In case of a 2-2 result, the two will play two blitz games with five minutes each with a three seconds increment.

There will be five such matches if the tie persists and finally an Armageddon game will be played with five minutes to white and four to black, and white will be forced to win should this arise.


Image: World chess defending champion Viswanathan Anand
Photographs: Denis Sinyakov/REUTERS

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High-tension drama in the tie-breaker

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The tie-breaker is likely to see a high-tension drama which has been so far amiss from this World championship, which produced just two decisive games apart from ten draws.

Playing his third match since winning the World title in a tournament format in 2007, this has been the least absorbing contest in World Championship matches for Anand.

In 2008, the Indian ace had won three out of four decisive games against Russian Vladimir Kramnik while in 2010 against Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria, Anand had won three out of five decisive games to stake his claim for the World title.

It's not only the decisive games but also the intensity in terms of prolonging a serious battle. Out of the ten draws, seven were under move 30, which goes to prove that the players are arriving at nowhere-to-go positions fairly quickly.

Totally, in 12 games, the average numbers of moves have been less than 30, which is way below the last two matches.


Image: Defending World chess champion Viswanathan Anand (right) of India and challenger Boris Gelfand of Israel
Photographs: Denis Sinyakov/REUTERS

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'We are playing for the crown and not only to entertain'

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Against Kramnik, Anand played 390 moves in all in 11 games, averaging over 35 moves a game, while against Topalov it was substantially higher at over 60 moves per game in 12 games lasting 627 moves.

This year only 351 moves have been played thus far in 12-classical games.

In the post-match chat after game-12, Gelfand was a bit defensive on this.

"We are playing for the crown and not only to entertain, besides there are many highly qualified commentators who can explain it to the uninformed spectators," he said.

As far as the records go in Rapid chess, Anand has practically won everything under the sun except in World Championships. The Indian was eliminated in the finals of the 1998 World Championship by Anatoly Karpov of Russia, and in 1994, he lost to Gata Kamsky of United States in the quarter-finals.

Besides, Anand has never been stretched to the tie-breakers in World Championship matches, although he faced some sterner tests when the championship was held in the knock-out format.


Photographs: Denis Sinyakov/REUTERS

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Anand remains a favourite

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Gelfand is no stranger to pressure, especially if one considers the current match. The Israeli, it is clear, has given everything to this match and now arrives at a situation when the match cannot be prolonged any further. He will have white pieces in the first game of the tie-break.

Between them, Anand and Gelfand have played 28 times in Rapid chess and the Indian has won eight, lost one and drawn the remaining.

In blitz, they have played seven games with three wins for Anand and the rest being drawn.

Anand remains a favourite, but this time he was pushed too far.

According to Vladimir Kramnik, "Now for sure we'll have an incredibly entertaining last day. Maybe for us it's not so bad. I think it's not a wise decision from Anand's side but for us maybe it's a good thing that happened."

On Wednesday the World champion will be known.


Photographs: Denis Sinyakov/REUTERS

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