Israeli Boris Gelfand registered his first win over Viswanathan Anand in 19 years when he won game seven of the World Chess Championship on Sunday. The win with white gave the challenger a 4-3 lead with five games remaining in the championship.
The game followed the overall pattern of game three,where Anand had an advantage playing white but with his clock ticking down,couldnt find the right combination for the win. His inaacuracies allowed Gelfand to find the draw. In game seven,Anand found the boot was on the other foot.
Playing black,Anand looked to be on the brink of achieving neutrality before a few moves that looked un-natural put him under pressure. Again,with less than 30 minutes to make around 15 moves,and his defence teetering,Anand blundered headlong into his first defeat to Gelfand since 1993. Under threat of a mating attack,Anand resigned just ahead of the first time control,on his 39th move.
Anand opted for the Slav defense again,his fourth in as many games playing black,and moved away from theorised lines with a pawn capture with his knight in the eighth move,a novelty. That may have opened up new possiblities for analysis by chess theoreticians,but on the board it only translated to a miniscule advantage.
Commentators also hinted at the possibility that Anand had perhaps strayed from his prepared line for,soon after,instead of Gelfand,it was the champion who was taking longer and longer to reply.
Faced with a position that was getting increasingly uncomfortable his a pawn was isolated and Gelfands pieces were better positioned to take advantage of Anands queen-side that was beginning to unravel. The position was by no means lost,but when Anand played a set of dubious pawn pushes on moves 23 and 25, Gelfand took control.
With time running out and the Israeli a pawn up and his centrally located knights threatening to run amok,Anand was firefighting on too many fronts. He was forced to resign as a mating combination in the back rank loomed.
Anand will have to find a reply within the five games to even level the scores. The task will,however,be made difficult by the fact that Gelfand is one of the strongest defensive players around,a fact reinforced by the number of draws the two have played out in the past.
Thiry of the last 42 games Anand and Gelfand have played each other in have ended without a decisive result. A minor consolation for Anand,though,would be that he will play white in three of the five remaining games.