Chess - The Scotsman 22/05/2012

JUST days before the start of the Anand-Gelfand title match in Moscow, chess legend Garry Kasparov said that this World Championship would not be a match to decide the best chess player in the world, as previous championships have been.

He went further when he was invited into the live online commentary booth for game six of the match. “What I think with Vishy [Anand] is that he has lost his motivation,” said Kasparov, who successfully defended his title against Anand in 1995 in New York. “I think he’s sliding downhill these past few years. He wants to win, he knows he’s a better player, but it’s not enough.”

On Sunday, Anand realised he was indeed in trouble of losing his grip on the crown, as he again played poorly to lose the seventh game of his World Chess Championship match to Boris Gelfand.

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Anand, the 42-year-old Indian defending champion, played right into his challenger’s hands by playing passively yet again – but this time, the Israeli took full advantage by squeezing his first win over Anand in a classical game in 19 years, while at the same time surprisingly taking the lead 4-3 in the best-of-12-game match.

But as we went to press Gelfand’s lead proved short-lived because in game eight he immediately “gifted” Anand back into the match with what could well be a costly blunder that forced his resignation in just 17 moves, to square the match again at 4-4. More in tomorrow’s column.

B Gelfand - V Anand

World Championship, (7)

Slav Defence, Chebanenko variation

1 d4 d5 2 c4 c6 3 Nc3 Nf6 4 e3 e6 5 Nf3 a6 6 c5 Nbd7 7 Qc2 b6 8 cxb6 Nxb6 9 Bd2 c5 10 Rc1 cxd4 11 exd4 Bd6 12 Bg5 0–0 13 Bd3 h6 14 Bh4 Bb7 15 0–0 Qb8 16 Bg3 Rc8 17 Qe2 Bxg3 18 hxg3 Qd6 19 Rc2 Nbd7 20 Rfc1 Rab8 21 Na4 Ne4 22 Rxc8+! Bxc8 23 Qc2 g5 24 Qc7 Qxc7 25 Rxc7 f6 26 Bxe4 dxe4 27 Nd2 f5 28 Nc4 Nf6 29 Nc5 Nd5 30 Ra7 Nb4 31 Ne5 Nc2 32 Nc6 Rxb2 33 Rc7 Rb1+ 34 Kh2 e3 35 Rxc8+ Kh7 36 Rc7+ Kh8 37 Ne5 e2 38 Nxe6 1–0