As the title suggests, the game between Boris Gelfand and Viswanathan Anand was indeed a long drawn affair. And it came right after the shortest game in the history of championship, which made this appear even longer than it must have really been. The game lasted for a full 49 moves before the players decided to shake hands.
Though it ended in a draw, the game wasn’t short on thrills. Anand opted for the Nimzo India defence, from the various opening moves that he has mastered. The game started on a standard note, with both the players playing by the book till the 15th move. This was when Anand tried breaking free from convention, and played the rook 16…Rfe8
Gelfand was quick to take advantage, and forced Anand to exchange his queen for a rook and a bishop in the 19th move 19. c5 bxc5 20.dxc5 Rxc5 21. Bh7+ Kxh7 22. Rxd6 Rxc1+ . This was followed by Gelfand providing a luft for his king, and then there was no looking back for him. Anand’s attacking powers were weakened by the exchange, and from this point he was on the back foot for the rest of the game.
But it was Anand’s turn to show his defensive skills, after the menacing attack exhibited by him in the previous game. After a quick exchange initiated by Gelfand: using the knight and bishop in the 26th move followed by the rook exchange in the 27th move, it was all about the defending, with Gelfand having an attacking queen while Anand was left with a Knight and a Rook to play with. By the 40th move Anand had been successful in creating a strong fortress around the king, and not allowing any opportunity for Gelfand to attack. The game lasted for another nine moves after which the players were convinced that it was heading for a draw.
At the end of the ninth game in the tournament, both Anand and Gelfand are tied at 4.5-4.5. The 10th game is on Thursday where Anand will be playing with White.
“My position was worse as he had two bishops for my knights. My chances hinged on the fortress that I was going to choose. In fact, I had many options and I think I chose the right one,” said Anand about the game.