Anand-Gelfand 2012: Game 8

Round eight of the 2012 World Chess Championship saw reigning World Champion Viswanathan Anand return to form and deliver a stunning knock-out blow to his opponent Boris Gelfand. Anand’s decisive plan began with the deceptively quiet move of “10 Qd2” and finished with Boris Gelfand’s queen being trapped on move 17. After Boris resigned, chess enthusiasts realised that this game was, in fact, the shortest World Chess Championship game in the history of chess. Below is my analysis of the game:

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[Event “Anand-Gelfand World Chess Championship”]

[Site “Moscow, Russia”]

[Date “2012.05.21”]

[Round “8”]

[White “Viswanathan Anand”]

[Black “Boris Gelfand”]

[Result “1-0”]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. f3 {Thus far this is the dame as game 3. Obviously, Anand must have liked his chances with this Anti-Grunfeld move.} c5 {What? Boris Gelfand is deviating. I thought for sure Gelfand would continue as in game 3 with pawn to d5. Gelfand and his team must feel that his best chances are to keep surprising Anand.} 4. d5 {After this move the opening has transposed to being more of a Benoni (1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 c5 3. d5) than a Grunfeld.} d6 5. e4 Bg7 {Gelfand puts his bishop “in the house.” Normally this is done right after black plays g6.} 6. Ne2 {The pawn on f3 helped Anand achieve an intimidating center but has the disadvantage of taking the f3 square away from his knight.} O-O 7. Nec3 {Anand is very prepared. This rare move looks starnge but has scored very well for white. In this position, 7 Nec3 was first played by Walter Arencibia Rodriguez in his game against Julio Boudy at the 1986 Capablanca Memorial. In that game white lost, but Walter’s idea has proven to be very successful in the twenty-first century.} Nh5 {Boris Gelfand probably had not prepared for the position he finds himself in. I believe a6, as in Klauser-Vogt 1994, was probably his best bet. However, I find Boris’ invention to be very intriguing.} 8. Bg5 {The most logical choice and an invitation to Boris to play h6.} Bf6 {Very strange. I am not a fan of this move at all. Strong players generally try to preserve their fianchetto. There is nothing wrong with accepting Anand’s invitation and playing h6. If Boris did not want to oblige Anand he could have also played a standard move like Nbd7.} 9. Bxf6 {Here I was prepared to see Gelfand play Nxf6. Instead he surprise me and captured with the pawn so that he can play f5.} exf6 10. Qd2 {At the time this move surprised me. After seeing the conclusion of the game, this marks the start of Anand’s diabolical plan. I am sure Anand already had ideas about the tactics he would eventually use to force Boris to resign. Indeed, this is my favorite move of the match thus far.} f5 {Boris played as expected.} 11. exf5 Bxf5 12. g4 {Boris thinks Anand is just playing aggressively to win the match. If he only knew the brilliant trap his opponent has set for him.} Re8+ 13. Kd1 Bxb1 14. Rxb1 Qf6 {Boris Gelfand blunders his queen!! Play should have continued 14…Ng7 15.Kc2 Nd7 16.Be2 Qh4 17.Nb5 Qe7 18.Rbe1 Rad8. Perhaps Gelfand thought Anand was just going overlooking the obvious tactic winning the pawn and the exchange. In chess it is wise to never accept your opponent’s gifts without first checking to see that they do not contain poison.} 15. gxh5 Qxf3+ 16. Kc2 Qxh1 17. Qf2 {Surprise Boris! Your queen is trapped.} 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.

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