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  WCC Overview
Anand vs Gelfand, 2012
Moscow, Russia

The World Chess Championship 2012 was a match between the defending world champion Viswanathan Anand of India and challenger Boris Gelfand of Israel, winner of the World Championship Candidates Knock-Out Tournament.1

 Vishy Gelfand 2012
  Ready to start game number four.

The match took place from May 10 to 30, 2012, in the Engineering Building of the State Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow. The prize fund was approximately 2.5 million US dollars.

The match format was 12 games, with the first game on May 11. The normal FIDE tiebreak protocol was in place: should the match be tied 6-6 tiebreaks would first employing rapid games, then blitz games, and finally an Armageddon game if needed. The time controls for the classical games was 120 minutes for the first 40 moves, add 60 minutes after move 40, add 15 minutes and the increment +30s/move after move 60.

The first half of the match saw the players tied after six fairly short draws. Gelfand drew first blood in game seven, in which Anand made some provocative or inaccurate moves and Gelfand held a commanding position. The very next day, revenge was had in game eight when Gelfand got his queen trapped on move 17--the shortest loss in WCC history! Then after four more draws, the match headed into overtime. Remarkably, only one of the first 12 games (#9) had lasted long enough to reach the time control at move 40.

Known for his prowess at rapid play, Anand was the clear favorite going into tiebreaks. After a see-saw victory in the second rapid game, and two more complicated draws, Viswanathan Anand defended his title once again.

click on a game number to replay game 12345678910111213141516

FINAL SCORE:  Anand 8½;  Gelfand 7½
Reference: game collection Anand-Gelfand WCC 2012

NOTABLE GAMES   [what is this?]
    · Game #8     Anand vs Gelfand, 2012     1-0
    · Game #7     Gelfand vs Anand, 2012     1-0
    · Game #9     Gelfand vs Anand, 2012     1/2-1/2


  1. World Chess Championship 2012, Wikipedia
    2 The Times of India

 page 1 of 1; 16 games  PGN Download 
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Anand vs Gelfand ½-½242012Anand - Gelfand World Chess ChampionshipD85 Grunfeld
2. Gelfand vs Anand ½-½252012Anand - Gelfand World Chess ChampionshipD45 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
3. Anand vs Gelfand ½-½372012Anand - Gelfand World Chess ChampionshipD70 Neo-Grunfeld Defense
4. Gelfand vs Anand ½-½342012Anand - Gelfand World Chess ChampionshipD45 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
5. Anand vs Gelfand ½-½272012Anand - Gelfand World Chess ChampionshipB33 Sicilian
6. Gelfand vs Anand ½-½292012Anand - Gelfand World Chess ChampionshipD45 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
7. Gelfand vs Anand 1-0382012Anand - Gelfand World Chess ChampionshipD45 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
8. Anand vs Gelfand 1-0172012Anand - Gelfand World Chess ChampionshipD70 Neo-Grunfeld Defense
9. Gelfand vs Anand ½-½492012Anand - Gelfand World Chess ChampionshipE54 Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3, Gligoric System
10. Anand vs Gelfand ½-½252012Anand - Gelfand World Chess ChampionshipB30 Sicilian
11. Gelfand vs Anand ½-½242012Anand - Gelfand World Chess ChampionshipE54 Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3, Gligoric System
12. Anand vs Gelfand ½-½222012Anand - Gelfand World Chess ChampionshipB30 Sicilian
13. Gelfand vs Anand ½-½322012Anand - Gelfand World Chess ChampionshipD45 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
14. Anand vs Gelfand 1-0772012Anand - Gelfand World Chess ChampionshipB30 Sicilian
15. Gelfand vs Anand ½-½632012Anand - Gelfand World Chess ChampionshipD12 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
16. Anand vs Gelfand ½-½562012Anand - Gelfand World Chess ChampionshipB51 Sicilian, Canal-Sokolsky (Rossolimo) Attack
 page 1 of 1; 16 games  PGN Download 
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <He Mate Me>

<Why is this so difficult to understand?>

It's not. Everyone understands it. The "matches" were jokes. Do you understand <that>?

Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: only if you are a poor loser.
Jul-14-12  Shams: <HeMateMe> It's almost like you don't recognize that one format could ever have more or less integrity than another one.
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: I too would have preferred the matches be longer, 6 games, 8 games, and a longer final match. Apparently the playing hall was so valuable, it could not be held for another two weeks or so, for a chess match.

I agree, in that sense. But I disagree with the constant bashing of Gelfand for dispatching his challangers, as though he wasn't worthy of playing a title match. No ond bashed 40+ Viktor korchnoia for winning the right to play 3 championship matches with Karpov--No one claims that it was a farce, that someone else should be playing Karpov.

Just sour grapes.

Jul-14-12  JoergWalter: look at soccer. how do the teams qualify? by playing 2 x 30 minutes games with 8 players per team? No.

the qualifying in chess should be through the same format that is used in the finals, imo.

Jul-14-12  Shams: <No ond bashed 40+ Viktor korchnoi for winning the right to play 3 championship matches with Karpov>

You don't really believe that anybody thinks quadragenarians are inherently unfit to challenge for the title, so why are you pretending people do? The point is, Korchnoi won the right to face Karpov through a candidates match format that has more integrity than this one did. That is all. It's not "bashing Gelfand" to point this out.

Jul-14-12  JoergWalter: The format has nothing to do with the players, their age etc.. The format is set up to what FIDE can afford financially - which is not much.
Jul-14-12  harish22: There does not seem to be anything wrong with the format. Gelfand just won it fair and square. It was not his fault that players like Carlsen, Aronian and Kramnik did not make it. It simply proved that while some players are very good at playing tournaments , they are not good match players.

Having said that i feel that Gefland is a top-10 player. However he has been in that position for more than 20 years. This is very unlike Carlsen, Aronian and Karajkin who have been there for last 5 years.

The match was tough because of psychological factors. Anand and Gefland have known each other for 30 years. In late 80's and earlier 90's, Gelfand was better than Anand. And even though Anand scaled great heights, Gelfand was never far behind.

It is not easy to play a ghost from the past. Gelfand may not have deserved the slot but he earned it. This is much better than treatment given to Kramnik. Kramnik was hand-picked by Kasparov. After he won the match he was allowed the benefit of a unification match and then a return match after he lost the title

Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: <JoergWalter: The format has nothing to do with the players, their age etc.. The format is set up to what FIDE can afford financially - which is not much.>

I think that hits the nail on the head. The world has changed, its a faster paced place than the chess world of the 60s and 70s. People and playing venues just cost a lot more than they did back in the day.

FIDE did manage to get control of the title process again, and it WAS fair for everyone. They just don't seem to have the funds to make the matches a bit longer, to more absolutely ensure that the best players move forward.

Aug-11-12  7he5haman: This may sound like a rather naive comment, but:

As far as I am aware, none of the players who played in the qualifier complained that the format was silly, etc., <even after they were knocked out of it>.

Why then should the rest of us complain? If it was good enough for the competitors both during and after their participation in it, then what we think really pales into insignificance.

Aug-11-12  Kinghunt: <7he5haman> Can you imagine how it would be if Aronian and Kramnik complained about the format after being knocked out? No, the only chance they had to complain was before the event. Also, GM Sutovsky spoke with them before the event, and the majority stated they would like to see the matches made longer. Gelfand, however, wanted to keep the short mini-matches, and as contracts had already been signed, no changes could be made so long as any single person objected. Most of the players did not like the format, but simply accepted it as the best they were going to be able to get, and once they agreed to it, there was no point in complaining, especially after they were knocked out.
Premium Chessgames Member
  PinnedPiece: What kind of champion, or one who wants to be thought of as champion material, would say "I need many many chances to prove I am the best. And if I am not proved the best, then I wasn't given enough chances."

It's up to the chess world to ensure the funding and fairness of the seems to me that a decent contender can't be expected to do so.

I would redo the entire nature of the championship cycle, myself, with the current "champion" but one of the participants from the outset.


Aug-11-12  csmath: The format is the way it is because there is no money for anything better.

The championship match was the way it was because there were no better players to play it.

Aug-11-12  Kinghunt: <csmath> There is money for more. Aren't FIDE/Agon about to stage a huge Grand Prix circuit? Turn two of those events into Candidates Quarterfinals and Semifinals, then change the 14 round Candidates we already have into a final match, and you're done. There is money for a better Championship system - it just has to be used where it matters instead of on an extravagant Grand Prix.
Aug-26-12  shivamshukl280: hye will anyone play a game
Sep-12-12  Ulhumbrus: Anand said that people had underrated Gelfand and that Anand had played as strongly as Kasparov had played at the London match in 2000. Gelfand still drew the match and came close to winning it which means that Gelfand also played as strongly as Kasparov had played at the London match in 2000.
Jan-01-13  tabul008: You can't choose challenger by just fide rating!
Premium Chessgames Member
  morfishine: Based on the assessments and opinions. its safe to say that clearly, Anand is no longer the player that he is...
Jan-11-13  voyager39: @morfishine Different situations require different character. Anand remains on the throne and we wait for a challenger to emerge.

Hopefully it will be one of the youngsters so that the next generation can gain legitimacy and find its place in history.

Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: Some would say that the younger generation has plenty of legitamacy. It's just that great players are hard to beat in matches, even when they are in their 40s.
Premium Chessgames Member
  morfishine: <voyager39> I appreciate the reply; I have the utmost respect for Anand. My comment was sarcastic, interjecting the words 'he is' instead of the normal 'once was'...

With that said, I think the 12-game format is too short and short-changes the chess viewing audience; the 24-game format allows for much more flexibility in openings. If nothing else, for that much money, the chess community deserves more games.

Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <I am pleased that in a match for the World Championship I was able to conduct a game in the style of Akiba Rubinstein, where the entire strategic course was maintained from the first to the last move> - Boris Gelfand (on game 7).
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: I remember this match as a huge disappointment to me.

I liked both players, they are both really nice guys. And this was the first WC match since Alekhine - Bogoljubov World Championship Rematch (1934) where both players were over 40. How did that happen in the 21st Century??

Because I am British I have always likes that mental bacon-cruncher Anand. But I am also very pro-Israel (I'm a Freemason), and Gelfand is a superb player, so I wasn't worried about who won.

But when the match started I was very disappointed. Games went to theory, then a few moves after theory, then draws were agreed.

I was very upset with Gelfand. Not with Anand.

I was upset with Gelfand because HE should have been taking every game to its limit, as Spassky said he would do and did in Petrosian - Spassky World Championship Rematch (1969).

If you count the moves that happened AFTER known theoretical positions had been reached then this whole match lasted about 10 moves.

I was so disappointed.

May-21-16  Chessinfinite: I was happy Anand won, would have been happier had Anand beaten Gelfand in the classical part, just like he did in his previous two matches.

I am happy this match did not take place in London or NY where someone like the British would have liked their man Gelfand to win, but in Moscow where Anand likes it better. Good match , but could have been better.

Premium Chessgames Member
  GM Igor Smirnov: Wow, there is a lot to learn from these games! Watch the three-part video lesson "Gems from Anand-Gelfand Match" at
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