Anand-Gelfand 2012: Game 7

Boris Gelfand wins! Want to know why Anand lost? Check out the best analysis of Anand-Gelfand game 7 below:

(For ease of reading try pasting the text below into your favorite chess program.)


[Event “Anand-Gelfand World Chess Championship”]

[Site “Moscow, Russia”]

[Date “2012.05.20”]

[Round “7”]

[White “Boris Gelfand”]

[Black “Viswanathan Anand”]

[Result “1-0”]

[ECO “D46”]

[Opening “Semi-Slav”]

1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 {Again, we have a Slav formation.} 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. e3 e6 5. Nf3 a6 {Anand is enamored with this lazy pawn move. I had hoped he might try Nbd7 instead. Perhaps he is happy with another draw as black.} 6. c5 {In games 2 and 4 Boris played 6 b3. In round 6 he tried Qc2. All of those games ended in a draw so now he tries c5. If Boris wishes for this match to be a survey of the Accelerated Meran Semi-Slav he will still need to play 6 a4 and 6 Bd3.} Nbd7 {Anand quickly replied with Nbd7. This is not surprising as he has Gelfand’s 6 c5 himself on several occasions.} 7. Qc2 {This is a very infrequent move at high level chess. After seeing his opponent’s choice, Anand seemed flustered and I could see his heart pounding through his shirt. Definately not a good sign for the world champion to have his nerves act up on move 7. Perhaps Anand forgot to review Radjabov-Grischuk 2003.} b6 {Normally in these positions you play for an e5 break. In fact, right now would be a great time to play e5. Instead, Viswanathan Anand chooses b6. I am not sure I care for this move as it could give Gelfand a semi-open or open c file for his rook and queen.} 8. cxb6 Nxb6 {This is a new move for high level chess games. 8…Qxb6 has been played four times prior to this game with relatively good results. I like Anand’s recapture better as it sets up some interesting subtleties in the position and leaves more mystery as to where his queen will be posted.} 9. Bd2 c5 {Anand applies pressure on the center. Generally speaking, the opening of the center favors the better developed player. Right now that would be Gelfand.} 10. Rc1 {Gelfand is already able to stack his rook and queen in the semi-open “c” file.} cxd4 {Opening the file for Gelfand seems counter-productive but if Anand plays c4 Gelfand would likely counter with b3. If Anand played Nbd7 then Gelfand could play 11 Na4 c4 and then 12 b3. It certainly appears that with all choices by Anand the “c” file will open.} 11. exd4 {Anand has a better pawn structure. Gelfand, however, is dominating the open “c” file and has a better light bishop. These advatages are more than worth the isolated “d” pawn.} Bd6 12. Bg5 {I was wondering if Gelfand would play 12 Na4. However, it does not seem to give white a meaningful advantage. For example: 12. Na4 Nxa4 13. Qc6+ Bd7 14. Qxd6 Ne4 15. Qa3 Nxd2 16. Kxd2 Nb6 17. Qd6 f6 or 12. Na4 Nxa4 13. Qc6+ Bd7 14. Qxd6 Ne4 15. Qa3 Nxd2 16. Nxd2 Qe7 17. Qxe7+ Kxe7 18. b3 Nb6 Also, if Gelfand delays playing Bg5 in a non-forcing continuation then Anand has time to play h6. So it was now or never.} O-O 13. Bd3 h6 14. Bh4 Bb7 {Despite his early panic, Anand has achieved a fine position. I think everyone should agree that white is better because of the better influence of his pieces.} 15. O-O Qb8 {This prepares Rc8 which will take away his adversary’s control of the open file and temporarily pin his knight on c3.} 16. Bg3 {If Boris chose Bxf6 he would loose control of the dark squares but expose Anand’s king. Even with the king exposed, I can not find a way to attack the king which can not be stopped with a good defense. For instance: 16. Bxf6 gxf6 17. Ne2 f5 18. Ng3 Nd7 19. Nh5 Qd8} Rc8 17. Qe2 {Aniother choice here is the surprising Ne5. However, Gelfand clearly knows what he is aiming for here and taking the queen out of the “c” file is part of his plan to stack his rooks in the “c” file.} Bxg3 18. hxg3 Qd6 19. Rc2 {Once again, Gelfand will dominate the “c” file.} Nbd7 {If Anand played 19… Rc7 then the game could continue with 20. Rfc1 Rac8 21. Bxa6 Bxa6 22. Qxa6 Nc4 23. Qxd6 Nxd6 and white is better.} 20. Rfc1 Rab8 {Anand, again could play Rc7 but this time Gelfand would surely respond with a3 followed by b4.} 21. Na4 {Gelfand could have also tried Ne5 or Qe3.} Ne4 {This is risky. It would have been better for Anand to start trading rooks and aim for a draw.} 22. Rxc8+ Bxc8 {Now Gelfand controls the “c” file again.} 23. Qc2 {Gelfand is still hoping for a win. If he plays Bxe4, I am sure Anand could find the many equalizing lines.} g5 {This is the key mistake of the game. Anand should have played Ndf6.} 24. Qc7 {Gelfand has seen the crime and now he will begin the punishment.} Qxc7 {This is the best Anand can do but it gives Gelfand “the seventh” rank and, later, the seventh game.} 25. Rxc7 f6 {Anand is collapsing under pressure. He needed to retreat his knight on e4 back to f6.} 26. Bxe4 {Once again, Gelfand sees a mistake and capitalises on it.} dxe4 27. Nd2 f5 28. Nc4 {Boris Gelfand is razer sharp.} Nf6 29. Nc5 Nd5 30. Ra7 Nb4 {Anand is grasping at straws here.} 31. Ne5 {Gelfand misses the more accurate 31 Nd6! The game would likely continue with 31… Nd5 32 b3 Kf8 33 a4 with the idea of playing a5.} Nc2 {Anand is lost and his horse is too.} 32. Nc6 Rxb2 33. Rc7 Rb1+ 34. Kh2 e3 {I am surprised Anand is continuing this.} 35. Rxc8+ Kh7 36. Rc7+ Kh8 37. Ne5 e2 38. Nxe6 {Anand finally lays down his king because if 38…e1=Q then 39. Ng6+ Kg8 40. Rg7#} 1-0

Published by chessmusings

Chris Torres is a nationally renowned scholastic chess coach working in the San Francisco Bay Area. His classes have attracted players of strengths ranging from rank beginners to world champions. A chess professional since 1998, Chris is widely recognized as one of the main driving forces behind the explosion in popularity and sudden rise in quality of scholastic chess in California. Chris Torres served as the President of the Torres Chess and Music Academy from 2005-2020 and currently is recognized as a correspondence chess master with the United States Chess Federation. Since 1998 Chris Torres has taught 6 individual national champions as well as led multiple school teams to win national championship titles. In addition, Chris Torres has directed and taught at 10 different schools which have been California State Champions at chess. In 2011 and 2012, several former and current students of Chris Torres have been selected to represent the United States at the World Youth Chess Championships. Mr. Torres’ hobbies include playing classical guitar and getting his students to appear on the national top 100 chess rating lists.

3 thoughts on “Anand-Gelfand 2012: Game 7

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: