Event: World Championship 2012 – Game 10 of 12
Game: Viswanathan Anand (IND) vs. Boris Gelfand (ISR)
Location: Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow
Date: 24th May 2012
The length of the game was halved, but the result remained the same. Game 10 of the World Championship was the second game in a row to end in a draw, though the number of moves in this game was only 25 as compared to the previous game which lasted for as many as 49 moves.
Viswanathan Anand, playing White in this game, again surprised the audience by going for the King’s pawn opening instead of his favourite Queen’s pawn opening. This was the second time he went for this opening in the tournament, the first time being in Game 2 which ended in a draw with the Sveshnikov Sicilian variation. Gelfand countered with the Sicilian Defence this time around as well and by the 3rd move, the game had progressed to the Rossolimo variation, 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 g6 4.Bxc6 bxc6 5.b3
By this point Anand had an edge with a better pawn structure, but it was now Gelfand’s turn to surprise everyone by playing a very rare move 5…e5. The speed with which the Israeli Grand Master made the move clearly showed that he had analysed the variation very deeply. The move surprised Anand as well, and he took some time before making his 6th move. “It is always nice to play a novelty on move five,” Gelfand said in the post-match conference “It usually happens on move 20 or 25.” The 6th move was Nxe5 Qe7 7.Bb2
The 7…d6 by Gelfand was a striking move forcing Anand to move his Knight. But what followed was even better. After 8.Nc4, Gelfand could have equalised the material by 8…Qxe4 but he continued with advancing the pawn 8…d5. This forced Anand to keep moving his knight and provided Gelfand with an opportunity to advance his pawn, putting it in a strong position – 9.Ne3 d4 10.Nc4 Qxe4+ 11.Qe2 Qxe2+ 12.Kxe2
The Queen’s exchange in the 12th move left Anand with a better pawn structure and Gelfand with a more open game. The next few moves, both players started working on advancing their minor pieces – 12…Be61 13.d3 Nf6 14.Nbd2 O-O-O 15.Rhe1 Be7 16.Kf1 Rhe8 17. Ba3
The 17th move showed Anand’s intention to capitalise on the weaker pawn structure of Gelfand and it progressed with 17…Nd5 18.Ne4. With this move Anand had two minor pieces attacking Gelfand’s pawn at c5, which was being protected by the Black Bishop. In order to protect the same, Gelfand placed the Knight in front of the attacking Bishop 18…Nb4, thereby avoiding the confrontation.
Anand played the rook 19.Re2 in order to defend the pawn while at the same time preparing for the double rooks. Gelfand proceeded with the exchange taking the Knight with his Bishop and forcing Anand to take the Bishop 19…Bxc4 20.bxc4 f5.
21. Ng4 would not have been a wise decision as it would have been countered with 21…g7, thereby limiting the movement options for the knight. Anand decided to take the knight with his bishop instead 21.Bxb4 cxb4. At this move, Gelfand offered a draw but Anand rejected it. When asked about it in the post-match conference, Anand stated “I thought I had something with Nd2-b3 but later I decided to return the offer.”
And indeed he did return the offer after the 25th move and the game was agreed to a draw. With the end of the 10th game in a draw both players now share 5 points. The outcome of the tournament is still a mystery with only two more games remaining, one on Saturday where Gelfand plays White and the other on Monday with Anand playing White. In case of a tie, there would be a special Tie Breaker round on Wednesday, May 30th.
Gelfand surely protected his chances at the world championship by drawing the game. Both players are left with one more game each playing with White and it would be interesting to see whether the next two games decide the fate of the tournament or it will take a rapid/blitz playoff (in which case Anand has an historic advantage) to decide who’s the champion.
Game 10 Details:
Sicilian Rossolimo: 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 e6 4.Bxc6 bxc6 5.b3 e5 6.Nxe5 Qe7 7.Bb2 d6 8.Nc4 d5 9.Ne3 d4 10.Nc4 Qxe4 11.Qe2 Qxe2 12.Kxe2 Be6 13.d3 Nf6 14.Nbd2 OO-O 15. Rhe1 Be7 16.Kf1 Rhe8 17.Ba3 Nd5 18.Ne4 Nb5 19.Re2 Bxc4 20.bxc4 f5 21.Bxb4 cxb4 22.Nd2 Bd6 23.Rxe8 Rxe8 24.Nb3 c5 25.a3 ½ – ½.