Anand lets Boris off the hook in Game III

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  • Published 15.05.12

Moscow: Boris Gelfand was let off the hook by Viswanathan Anand as the reigning champion erred in converting his advantage in time pressure, in the third game of the World Chess Championship here at Moscow.

After two draws in around 25 moves, the third was a full-fledged fight of 37 moves lasting more than four hours. Finally the match ended with a forceful perpetual check.

Anand once against faced the Grunfeld Defence. But he stuck to his aggressive ways, and came up with a more common opening choice. Instead of repeating his rarely played continuation, Anand went in for the sharp system with 3.f3, much to the delight of the knowledgeable Moscow crowd.

Anand’s decision to play for maximum dynamism with white pieces early in the match is admirable, showing his enormous experience in match play.

Showing his specific preparation, Gelfand employed the rarely played 8…e5 variation, but it was not a surprise move. From the 12th move onwards, Anand started consuming more time. Gelfand was seen often making his move and leave for the players’ reserved room, leaving Anand to cope up with his home preparation alone. It was obvious that Gelfand was well prepared for Anand’s choice of variation on Monday.

Anand was looking to remember his preparation from an offbeat variation. The first deviation came with Gelfand’s 16…e4, a relatively new move. Anand declined the free pawn offered and chose to consolidate his position instead with 18.Nge2, finally developing his King’s Knight and keeping control of the centre. But by this time he was about half an hour behind Gelfand on the clock.

Gelfand pondered for long and followed up with his home preparation to enter a forced continuation and exchanged his Queens on the 19th move.

At this point, Gelfand indeed looked like he had equalized the position. Both the players entered into a phase of consolidation as Anand had an extra passed pawn on d6, while Gelfand had dynamically developed pieces as compensation.