Anand and Gelfand Head To Tiebreakers
By GM Ian Rogers   
May 29, 2012
Anand and Gelfand in Moscow, Photo Cathy Rogers
The World Championship title hangs on a series of rapid and, possibly, blitz chess games after Viswanathan Anand and challenger Boris Gelfand finished tied at 6-6 at the end of regulation time in their world title contest in Moscow, meaning that the two players will return on Wednesday for series of up to 15 tie-breaking games.

After the 12th game was drawn in an eventful 22 moves, neither player was willing to give an opinion as to who is favoured in the tiebreakers.


Anand has an outstanding record over his career at rapid chess but has lost two important World Championship rapid tiebreakers – the playoff for the FIDE world title against Anatoly Karpov in Lausanne in 1998 and a Candidates Semi-final match against Gata Kamsky in Sanghi Nagar in 1994.

“Boris and I have played each other in rapid but I am not sure about the exact score” said Anand – the score is a remarkably close 11-8 in Anand's favour. “I don't know if it is possible to train for these things,” Anand added, “but it is certainly an abrupt shift in the tempo of the match. I will just play my best chess – that's all I can do.”

Gelfand, who came through one rapid tiebreaker against Kamsky on his way to qualifying to challenge Anand, was also unwilling to make predictions; “I am here to play chess – it is up to others to assess the chances.”

The World Championship tiebreakers, starting with four games of 25 minutes per player per game plus a 10 second increment per move, will be played on Wednesday starting at 04.00 New York time.
Should these four games be tied 2-2, then up to 5 pairs of blitz games (5 minutes plus 3 seconds per move) will be played. If every set is drawn 1-1 then an Armageddon game will decide the world title.

For more on the World Championship, see the young Daniel Gurevich's onsite essay, GM Ian Rogers latest CLO report, World Championship Match Comes Alive, the official website and Eric Van Reem's "Mate in Moscow" blog.