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Boris Gelfand
Number of games in database: 2,594
Years covered: 1982 to 2015
Last FIDE rating: 2747 (2724 rapid, 2743 blitz)
Highest rating achieved in database: 2777
Overall record: +510 -269 =1049 (56.6%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games
      Based on games in the database; may be incomplete.
      766 exhibition games, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 Queen's Indian (119) 
    E12 E15 E17 E16 E13
 Semi-Slav (114) 
    D45 D47 D46 D43 D44
 Slav (113) 
    D15 D17 D10 D11 D12
 King's Indian (108) 
    E92 E94 E97 E98 E73
 Queen's Gambit Declined (85) 
    D37 D38 D31 D39 D30
 Catalan (78) 
    E06 E04 E05 E01 E09
With the Black pieces:
 Sicilian (404) 
    B90 B92 B23 B30 B96
 Sicilian Najdorf (219) 
    B90 B92 B96 B93 B91
 Petrov (123) 
    C42 C43
 King's Indian (122) 
    E97 E60 E94 E81 E92
 Slav (90) 
    D12 D11 D17 D19 D10
 Semi-Slav (88) 
    D43 D45 D47 D44 D48
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   Gelfand vs Shirov, 1998 1-0
   Mamedyarov vs Gelfand, 2011 0-1
   Gelfand vs Jobava, 2011 1-0
   Gelfand vs Kramnik, 1994 1-0
   Gelfand vs Adams, 2013 1-0
   Gelfand vs Anand, 2012 1/2-1/2
   Gelfand vs Aronian, 2013 1-0
   Gelfand vs Anand, 1993 1-0
   Gelfand vs Anand, 2012 1-0
   Nakamura vs Gelfand, 2013 0-1

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: [what is this?]
   FIDE World Championship Knockout Tournament (2001)
   FIDE World Championship Tournament (2007)
   Anand - Gelfand World Chess Championship (2012)

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   Rubinstein Memorial (2000)
   Rising Stars - Experience (2010)
   Pamplona Tournament (2004)
   FIDE World Cup (2005)
   World Cup (2009)
   Bermuda Round Robin (2004)
   FIDE Grand Prix Paris (2013)
   FIDE Grand Prix London (2012)
   FIDE Jermuk Grand Prix (2009)
   Enghien-les-Bains (2003)
   Pivdenny Bank Chess Cup (2008)
   Karen Asrian Memorial (2008)
   Pivdenny Bank Chess Cup (2007)
   20th Amber Tournament (Blindfold) (2011)
   Olympiad (2008)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   Match Gelfand! by amadeus
   Gelfand's Games 4 Study by jakaiden
   Boris Gelfand: My Most Memorable Games by Resignation Trap
   English: Boris Gelfand Collection by chess.master
   Boris in the najdorf by deepthinker
   Najdorf - 6. Be3 by pcmvtal
   USSR Championship 1989 by suenteus po 147

Search Sacrifice Explorer for Boris Gelfand
Search Google for Boris Gelfand
FIDE player card for Boris Gelfand

(born Jun-24-1968, 46 years old) Belarus (citizen of Israel)

[what is this?]
IM (1987); GM (1989); Soviet Junior Champion (1985); European Junior Champion (1989); Olympiad Gold Medalist (1990); World Cup winner (2009); Candidate (1991, 1994, 2002 (Dortmund - PCA), 2007, 2011 and 2013); World Championship Challenger (2012).


Boris Gelfand was born in Minsk in Belarus (formerly part of the USSR), and emigrated to Israel in 1998 where he currently resides.


<Age> Gelfand won the Junior Championship of the Soviet Union with 9/11 in January 1985, at the age of 16, a half point ahead of Vassily Ivanchuk. He came =1st (2nd on count back to Joel Lautier) in the World Junior Championship in 1988 and became European Junior Champion in 1989.

<World> In 1990, Gelfand won the Manila Interzonal to qualify as a Candidate for the 1993 World Championship. At the 1991 Candidates, he prevailed over Predrag Nikolic, but was then defeated in the quarter final by eventual Candidates winner and championship challenger Nigel Short. He qualified for the FIDE 1994 Candidates event by winning the last Interzonal in Biel, beating Michael Adams and Vladimir Kramnik only to lose to Anatoly Karpov in the finals.

Gelfand competed in all the knockout tournaments that either determined the World Championship, or was part of the World Championship cycle apart from the 2004 tournament in Tripoli. In the knockout tournament that was held in Groningen in 1997, he defeated Lautier in round three, where he was seeded directly because of his results in the last FIDE cycle, and then beat Vladislav Tkachiev and Alexey Dreev before bowing out to the winner of the tournament, Viswanathan Anand. In the world championship knockout tournament of 1999 held in Las Vegas, Gelfand was seeded into the second round where he defeated Jonathan Speelman, and then beat Lautier in round three before losing to the eventual winner, Alexander Khalifman. In 1999 in New Delhi, he was again seeded into round 2 where he defeated Emir Dizdarevic, and then Jeroen Piket in round three before he was defeated by Alexey Shirov in round four. In the 2001-02 knockout tournament held in Moscow, Gelfand lost to Peter Svidler in round 5 after defeating Alexis Cabrera, Leinier Dominguez Perez, Aleksander Delchev and Zurab Azmaiparashvili. He played in the 8-player 2002 Dortmund Tournament, which was the Candidates for the Classical World Chess Championship match in 2004, but failed to reach the semi-finals after coming third in the quadrangular round robin preliminary round.

Gelfand finished 6th at the FIDE World Cup (2005), which produced 10 Candidates for the 2007 Candidates tournament, defeating Watu Kobese, Ruben Felgaer, Levan Pantsulaia, and Dreev in the preliminary rounds. In the two rounds of matches at the 2007 Candidates, Gelfand won both the Candidates Match: Gelfand - Kasimdzhanov (2007) and the Candidates Match: Gelfand - Kamsky (2007) to qualify for the FIDE World Championship Tournament (2007) in Mexico City, where he tied for second with Kramnik, a point behind the winner, Anand. Subsequently, he won the World Cup (2009) by defeating Judit Polgar, the then reigning World Junior Champion Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Dmitry Jakovenko, and Sergey Karjakin to reach the final, where he then faced former FIDE World Champion Ruslan Ponomariov, winning the match 7-5 in a playoff. In doing so he qualified for the World Championship Candidates (2011) for another shot at the World Championship in 2012. He played and defeated Shakhriyar Mamedyarov by 2.5-1.5 (+1 =3 -0) in the first round of the World Championship Candidates (2011), moving into the semi final where defeated Gata Kamsky in the tiebreaker; the result was 2-2 (+0 -0 =4) in the classical games, 2-2 (+1 -1 =2) in the rapid tiebreaker, and 1.5-0.5 in his favour in the blitz tiebreaker. He faced Alexander Grischuk in the final match, and after five draws, Gelfand won the sixth and final game thus gaining the right to challenge Viswanathan Anand for the world crown. The Anand - Gelfand World Chess Championship (2012) was played in Moscow in May 2012, and Gelfand lost in the rapid game tiebreaker 1.5-2.5 (-1 =3) after drawing the 12 games played under classical time controls 6-6 (+1 -1 =10). As the loser in the World Championship match, he qualified to play in the World Championship Candidates (2013) in London, where he placed a rating-enhancing 5th with 6.5/14 (+2 -3 =9).

Gelfand’s results in the FIDE Grand Prix 2008-2010 were modest, coming 11th. His 2014 World Championship campaign started well when he placed =1st alongside Veselin Topalov and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov at the FIDE Grand Prix London (2012), scoring 7/11 (+4 -1 =6; TPR 2836) and netting GP 140 points from the event. However, his 10th place out of 12 placement at the FIDE Grand Prix Tashkent (2012) and his =9th at the FIDE Grand Prix Beijing (2013) eliminated him for the contest for the top two in the Grand Prix series, and attendant qualification into the 2014 Candidates Tournament. However, a strongly motivated player, Gelfand placed =1st (2nd on tiebreak) at the FIDE Grand Prix Paris (2013) alongside Fabiano Caruana to place 4th in the Grand Prix series with 325 points.

He had another chance to qualify for the Candidates via the World Cup (2013) to which he qualified by rating; he defeated Bangladeshi GM Ziaur Rahman in the first round, Uzbek GM Anton Filippov in the 2nd round and Ukrainian GM Alexander Moiseenko in the third round. However, he was eliminated by eventual semi-finalist French GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave in the Round of 16 (round 4), reversing the same result against the same player in the same round of the World Cup of 2009.

Qualifying by rating for the 2014-15 Grand Prix Series portion of the 2016 World Championship cycle, Gelfand was =1st alongside Fabiano Caruana with 6.5/11 in the first leg of the Series, namely the FIDE Grand Prix Baku (2014). This earned Gelfand 155 GP points. In the second leg, the FIDE Grand Prix Tashkent (2014), Gelfand suffered a lapse of form, placing =11th and earning only an extra 15 GP points. Nevertheless he is still in contention for one of the coveted top positions that will qualify for the Candidates Tournament of 2015.


Gelfand has an imposing tournament record dating back to the late 80s. He won or came =1st at Klajpeda 1988, Majorca (GMA) 1989, Moscow 1992, Wijk aan Zee 1992, Manila 1993, Chalkidiki 1993, Biel 1993, Dos Hermanas 1994, Debrecen and Belgrade in 1995, Vienna and Tilburg in 1996, Polanica Zdroj in 1998 and 2000, and Malmö in 1999. He also won at Pamplona Tournament (2004). In 2005, he was =1st with Pentala Harikrishna at the Bermuda International (2005) and 1st at 38th Biel Chess Festival (2005). In 2010 he was in the Experience Team that narrowly lost against the Rising Stars at the Rising Stars - Experience (2010), although he top scored in the tournament with 7/10. He also won outright first with 7/10 at the 2010 NH Tournament in the Netherlands.

Other strong results include 2nd at Linares 1990, 3rd at Tilburg 1990, 3rd at the Reggio Emilia of 1991/92, 2nd in the category 16 tournament in Munich 1993, 3rd at Dortmund in 1996, 2nd in the 14th Dr Milan Vidmar Memorial tournament in Slovenia, 3rd at Biel 2001, 2nd at the category 18 tournament in Cannes in 2002 behind Topalov, =3rd at Dortmund Sparkassen (2006), and 4th at the Tal Memorial (2006) a half point behind joint leaders, Ponomariov, Peter Leko and Levon Aronian. In 2009, he came 2nd behind Ivanchuk at Bazna Tournament (2009). Also in 2010, he came 2nd in the King's Tournament (2010) behind Magnus Carlsen. In the lead up to his World Championship contest with Anand, Gelfand competed at the category 21 Tata Steel (2012) tournament at Wijk aan Zee, finishing 9th out of 13, scoring 5/13 (+2 -5 =6; TPR 2675). In April/May 2013, he came =1st with 5.5/9 at the category 20 Alekhine Memorial (2013), coming 2nd on tiebreak behind Aronian and then went one better in June with an extraordinary outright win at the category 22 Tal Memorial (2013) - ahead of outright 2nd placed Magnus Carlsen - on the day before his 45th birthday. This result also raised his rating to a career high of 2773 in the July lists and returned him to the top 10.


Gelfand played in ten Chess Olympiads, representing the Soviet Union once (1990), Belarus twice (1994 and 1996), and Israel eight times (2000-2014). In 1990, he won the team gold medal playing board 2 for Soviet Union, in the Olympiad (2008) held in Dresden, he won the team silver medal and also individual silver medal playing board 1 for Israel and in the Chess Olympiad (2010) held in Khantiy Mansiysk, he won team bronze playing board 1 for Israel.


Gelfand is a team player and has participated in the German Bundesliga, and team championships in Israel, Spain, Poland, and Russia. He has also been part of the European Team Championships, the European Club Cup, the Russian Club Cup and the World Team Championships in 2005 and 2009. One of his best results was assisting his Moscow team ShSM-64 to win the Russian Team Championships (2010) with 16 out of a possible 18 match points. Playing for SHSM-64, he won team bronze at the 28th European Club Cup (2012) concluded in October 2012.


Outside of the world championship cycle, Gelfand has played matches in France against Etienne Bacrot in 2002 which he lost 2.5-3.5, and a drawn match (2-2) against David Navara in the Czech Republic in 2006.


Like most top players, Gelfand is a skilled rapid player. He was =1st with Kramnik in the rapid play section of the 2001 Amber event, and outright 1st in the 2002 edition of Amber's rapid play section. He came first in the 2002 Cap d'Agde, defeating Karpov in the final. In 2003, he defeated Polgar in the George Marx Rapid Match (2003) and in 2007, he came =1st at the Villa de Canada de Calatrava (2007), following up with =1st at the Pivdenny Bank Chess Cup (2008) in Odessa. He also won the 2009 ACP World Rapid Cup (2009) with a 3-1 win over Svidler in the finals and won the Leko - Gelfand Match (2010) rapid match in Hungary by 4.5-3.5. Most recently, he defeated Aronian in the Leon Rapid (2010) and made the final of the London Chess Classic (Knockout) (2013). However in July, he lost a rapid match to Svidler by 3-5.


Gelfand rating as of 1 February 2015 is:

<Standard> 2747, and is therefore Israel's top player and #15 in the world;

<Rapid> 2724 (world #25); and

<Blitz> 2743 (world #25).


In 2005, Gelfand published a book titled My Most Memorable Games.

Interview: Part 1 -; Part 2 - and Part 3 - Live rating list: Extended biography of Gelfand at the official FIDE 2012 World Championship website: Article by the Indian Express dated 6 May 2012:

Last updated 5 Feb 2015

 page 1 of 104; games 1-25 of 2,594  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves Year Event/LocaleOpening
1. Gelfand vs Veremeichik 0-147 1982 MinskE12 Queen's Indian
2. S Yuferov vs Gelfand  1-054 1983 BLR-chA54 Old Indian, Ukrainian Variation, 4.Nf3
3. V Dydyshko vs Gelfand  1-041 1983 BLR-chE94 King's Indian, Orthodox
4. Gelfand vs B Malisov  1-056 1983 BLR-chB07 Pirc
5. P Korzubov vs Gelfand 0-157 1983 BLR-chB93 Sicilian, Najdorf, 6.f4
6. Gelfand vs A Kovalev  0-138 1983 BLR-chB62 Sicilian, Richter-Rauzer
7. B Itkis vs Gelfand  1-040 1983 BLR-chA48 King's Indian
8. Gelfand vs Veremeichik  1-059 1983 BLR-chA46 Queen's Pawn Game
9. B Maryasin vs Gelfand 1-066 1983 BLR-chB95 Sicilian, Najdorf, 6...e6
10. Gelfand vs V Litvinov  1-037 1983 BLR-chB93 Sicilian, Najdorf, 6.f4
11. S Temirbaev vs Gelfand  1-053 1985 URSE76 King's Indian, Four Pawns Attack
12. Gelfand vs Ulibin 1-030 1985 YurmalaC03 French, Tarrasch
13. Gelfand vs Glek  ½-½32 1985 tE73 King's Indian
14. T Tabatadze vs Gelfand  ½-½55 1985 LeningradB87 Sicilian, Fischer-Sozin with ...a6 and ...b5
15. M Golubev vs Gelfand ½-½49 1985 KlaipedaB87 Sicilian, Fischer-Sozin with ...a6 and ...b5
16. Gelfand vs Ivanchuk ½-½19 1985 USSRC05 French, Tarrasch
17. J Klovans vs Gelfand ½-½43 1986 USSRB92 Sicilian, Najdorf, Opocensky Variation
18. Y Yakovich vs Gelfand  ½-½29 1986 MinskD37 Queen's Gambit Declined
19. Paunovic vs Gelfand  0-153 1986 It (cat.9)E94 King's Indian, Orthodox
20. Gelfand vs Dorfman 0-138 1986 MinskD85 Grunfeld
21. R Gunawan vs Gelfand  0-136 1986 MinskE81 King's Indian, Samisch
22. L Janjghava vs Gelfand  ½-½17 1986 URSD93 Grunfeld, with Bf4 & e3
23. Smirin vs Gelfand  ½-½32 1986 USSRB90 Sicilian, Najdorf
24. Gelfand vs A Ryskin  1-034 1986 MinskB63 Sicilian, Richter-Rauzer Attack
25. Khalifman vs Gelfand  ½-½23 1986 It (cat.9)E94 King's Indian, Orthodox
 page 1 of 104; games 1-25 of 2,594  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Gelfand wins | Gelfand loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 21 OF 32 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Feb-06-12  Poulsen: In an "interview" Bent Larsen was once asked, what skill it takes to become Chess World Champion. He did not say: "Great form, carefull preparation, huge intelligense etc." - he simply said: "You (only) need to defeat the reigning champion". There - in nutshell ...
Feb-07-12  voyager39: <Eggman> <Having a longer reign in the top ten just proves that you were at that level longer, not that you were at a higher level, n'est pas? I don't think that greater longevity, by itself, necessarily equals greater> Yet it is indicative of so many sterling qualities which to my mind are the signs of a champion. I could start with the following:-

1. Top level Chess skills and preparation.

2. A focussed mind, good health and stable family life.

3. Sustained hard work and ability to stay abreast with the latest.

4. Ability to perform against varying adversaries and circumstances.

5. Above all - the Experience!

Beyond that, the outcome actually lies in the circumstances and opportunities presented and choices made rather then skill alone. Top contenders like Aronian think Gelfand is a deserving challenger and I have no doubts whatsoever myself.

Feb-07-12  voyager39: <Poulsen> You hit the nail on its head :)
Feb-07-12  solskytz: <voyager39>

I'm not sure that you got the sarcasm in my post...

Feb-07-12  voyager39: The young rising starlets will always look prettier and have more noise accompanying them vis-a-vis the established order. That's a fact of life we need not argue about.
Feb-07-12  King Death: <voyager39: The young rising starlets will always look prettier and have more noise accompanying them vis-a-vis the established order. That's a fact of life we need not argue about.>

That's why in the elections to the Hall Of Fame in the major American sports there's a waiting period before a player can be voted in. It's way too easy to get caught up in the latest thing somebody's done and not look at things in the cold light of day.

Feb-07-12  voyager39: <solskytz> Honestly I didn't till you pointed it out. Those subtle nuances are such a very essential part of communication and I can perhaps only blame it on the medium and my own shortcomings. My apologies and it wasn't intentional I assure you.
Feb-07-12  voyager39: <King Death> <That's why in the elections to the Hall Of Fame in the major American sports there's a waiting period before a player can be voted in. It's way too easy to get caught up in the latest thing somebody's done and not look at things in the cold light of day>

Absolutely. Wisdom comes with time (unlike intelligence), and one feels grateful that such a commonsense decision has been implemented.

Yet, I don't mind the often ugly chatter of the wannabes. That is perhaps an essential element of anyone's possible rise to eminence in the current transient era where propaganda trumps potential.

Feb-07-12  solskytz: <voyager39> no problem... how about a little blitz? Find me under handle 'solskytz' on
Feb-09-12  voyager39: <solskytz> Grateful for the offer. The job unfortunately leaves little time for passion but I'll sure catch up when I get an off.
Feb-13-12  voyager39: Found this interesting interview of Aronian...

Levon states "I think Boris deserved this win. He’s a man who treats chess with great reverence, and who works a lot… and is very, you might say, patient with it. You know, it’s easy to work when you can see an immediate return, but he’s had difficult periods, and still to believe in yourself and try to keep working despite that… I’m very, very glad for him, that his dedication and love for the game has borne fruit. This success shows that there’s chess longevity in his blood!"

Feb-13-12  bronkenstein: Nice words indeed , just the part `<I think> Boris deserved...` doesn´t belong there , especially not from one of his rivals from Kazan.

They played , he won.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Shams: Another classy comment from Aronian.
Feb-27-12  voyager39: <history is written by the victors, and the defeated are always guilty> That's Yuri Averbakh in this very interesting interview...

Mar-18-12  SeabraPopowski: Hello everybody


Can anybody please tell when is to take place the match Gelfand-Anand?

I haven't been able to find any date it's scheduled for (neither where?)

Thank you in advance

Best regards

Mar-18-12  polarmis: The first game's on May 11th in the Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow:

Mar-18-12  HSOL: Eggman: Eh, Gelfand did win the Candidates, that is how he became the challenger.
Mar-18-12  AlanPardew: Wow, he's pretty
Mar-19-12  laurenttizano: Boris is Boris!!
Mar-20-12  SeabraPopowski: polaris: thank you
Premium Chessgames Member
  twinlark: There's a biography of Gelfand at the official FIDE WC website that is linked at the bottom of Gelfand's bio. It has lots of interesting factums and tidbits, and an insight into the player himself.
Mar-28-12  SimonWebbsTiger: I like how they chose a picture with a "ghostly" Topalov looking over Boris' shoulder...!
Mar-28-12  voyager39: The official WCC 2012 website is up and looks great...

Mar-28-12  voyager39: <@SimonWebbsTiger> I think it signifies that Gelfand is next challenger. And hopefully he'll do what Topalov almost did but couldn't.
Mar-28-12  AVRO38: <The official WCC 2012 website is up and looks great...>

Yes but they recognize the 1909 Lasker-Janowski match instead of the 1910 match as the true world championship. This is wrong. Not to mention that they include all the bogus FIDE championships of 1993-2005 on their list of world championship matches. Why is it so hard to just have a simple list of undisputed champions and matches? After 1990 just say "title disputed" and pick up again at 2006. After all, this would just be a statement of fact.

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