The Telegraph
Thursday , May 17 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
CIMA Gallary

Anand is making the right moves

Moscow: Aggressive handling of the white pieces and aiming for simple equality with black pieces seems to be the match strategy so far from Viswanathan Anand, in his title defence against Boris Gelfand at the World Chess Championship here at Moscow.

So far, Gelfand is waiting for Anand to take a swing at him, rather than fighting for the initiative himself.

In a match, it is always important to force one’s will on the opponent and steer the games to positions of one’s choice and liking. This will enable the player to dictate the course of the match and thus take the psychological initiative.

Thus, it will be important for Gelfand to change the course of the match and play more solid with black pieces and to play for tangible advantage in dynamic positions. So, a change of openings is expected soon on Gelfand’s initiative.

In both the games as White, facing Gelfand’s Grunfeld Defence, Anand has played open positions leaving himself exposed to the danger of counter attack. But this enabled him to come in sight of a victory in the third game.

So, it is safe to assume that Anand is aiming to play dynamic positions with white which will give him good chances of scoring a win, not worrying about the risks of such an approach.

With black pieces, Anand has neither adopted aggressive play nor steered towards strategically defined positions where he has to defend, as done in 2008 against Kramnik and 2010 against Topalov respectively. Thus, his aim has been to play strategically dynamic positions towards the centre of the board.

Gelfand’s match strategy so far is both puzzling as well as admirable. With white, the positions he has achieved are disappointing, as he has not managed to obtain any tangible advantage out of the opening in both the Second and Fourth game. His choosing the Grunfeld defence with Black pieces seems to be the biggest surprise of the match so far. Grunfeld is an opening which requires accurate calculation and dynamic conduction with Black pieces.

Form-wise, Gelfand hasn’t committed any obvious mistakes in the match so far. His misadventure starting with 26…Nb2 was the only weak moment in the match so far.

But he hasn’t produced any admirable schemes of play also, apart from utilizing his opportunity to draw the third game by playing fast when Anand was short of time, and grabbing his chances for a draw with 34…Re8.