Defending champion Viswanathan Anand was on Monday stretched to the tie-breaker of the World Chess Championship by Israeli challenger Boris Gelfand following a draw in the 12th and final game.
The tenth draw in the 12-game match ensured Gelfand stays in the match with honours even and it is down to the rapid games at the State Tretyakov Gallery on Wednesday. Anand,with his reputation of being one of the best rapid players ever,still holds an advantage but things have not materialised the way he might have wanted. He started as an overwhelming favourite but the Indian Grandmaster could only force one victory in 12 games and lost one.
In rapid chess,Anand will have to score 2.5 points in the four games scheduled on Wednesday. There will be 25 minutes to each player with a 10-second addition after every move is played. If the scores are still tied after these four games,there will be two more games with blitz chess rules. Should the tie persist,there are five such blitz matches to be played. If the deadlock still continues,there will be an Armageddon game with five minutes to white and four to black and black wins the title in case of a draw.
The 12th game had anxious moments. Anand showed better preparation as white this time in the Rossolimo Sicilian that he had also employed in the 10 game. Gelfand responded with a new move on his sixth turn but Anand had it worked out as he uncorked a pawn sacrifice early to lay the foundation for a strong attack.
Gelfand spent a lot of time after the pawn grab and found a brilliant idea almost immediately to come up with a double pawn sacrifice himself. Anand won the pawn but the queens got traded in the process and whites initiative evaporated in quick time. Gelfand had the Bishop pair to compensate for his material deficit and even as Anand tried to build,there was little hope and the world champion proposed draw after 22 moves.
Anand agreed in the post match chat that this has been a tough match. When asked about short draws,he said,The match has been very tough and intense,there is a lot of background work which is invisible. Almost all the games have been hard fought,we only drew when at least it is obvious to us that we are going nowhere.
The match now enters the most crucial stage. The last time tie-breaker happened was in 2006,when Russian Vladimir Kramnik prevailed over Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria. Anands last tie-breaker in a World Championship final was in 1998,when he lost to Anatoly Karpov of Russia.