The world championship match is tied 4-4 after eight games. However, the deadlock of draws has broken, with Boris Gelfand and Viswanathan Anand trading one win each. A change in the mood is evident, with both willing to take risks.
In Game seven, Gelfand played an ambitious mainline with white, against Anand's fourth Semi-Slav Defence. Gelfand had a small advantage when Anand made a miscalculation on the 23rd move that pushed him into a lost position. Anand’s desperate attempts to complicate came to nothing and Gelfand led with a nice win in 38 moves. This was Gelfand’s first win against Anand since 1993.
Game eight saw an amazing comeback. Anand played an unconventional opening that transposed to a sharp Benoni. By move 8, it was uncharted opening territory and both players taking lots of time. By move 12, Anand had some advantage. On move 14, Gelfand made a big error and he resigned on move 17. This may be the shortest decisive game ever played in a title match.
The momentum is a little in Anand’s favour. To put it bluntly, Anand’s Game 7 error was a ‘normal’ subtle misjudgment whereas Gelfand made a tactical goof that may seriously affect confidence. However, many of the world’s strongest players who were commenting also missed Anand’s refutation.
The diagram, WHITE TO PLAY, ( White: Anand Vs Black: Gelfand, Game 8, World Chps 2012), comes after black played 14---. Qd8-f6?? The alternative 14...Nf6 15.Kc2 Nbd7 16.Be2 is good for white, who has more space but there's chances for both sides.
Qf6 is a terrible error. But players as good as Peter Leko (and Gelfand himself) missed the key refutation. Anand confessed he only found his 17th move on a second look after missing it in his first calculations. Play continued 15.gxh5! Qxf3+ 16.Kc2 Qxh1 17.Qf2!! The move Gelfand missed – he only saw 17. Qf4. The queen is trapped. The threat is Bd3 or Bh3. Possible continuations like 17.Qf2 Na6 18.Bd3 Nb4+ 19.Kd2 Nxd3 20.Kxd3 or 17.Qf2 Nc6 18.dxc6 Qxc6 19.Bg2 Qd7 20.Nd5 are all hopelessly lost.
Black resigned (1-0).
Devangshu Datta is an internationally rated chess and correspondence chess player