The World Championship match in Moscow between defending champion Viswanathan Anand and challenger Boris Gelfand of Israel ended on Monday with the 12th and final regular game yet another tame draw, the match tied at 6-6.
Both players will return on Wednesday to fight for the title and the $2.55 million (£1.63m) prize fund (60 percent going to the winner) in what will be a nerve-jangling four-game rapid tie-break match. If tied after that, then there’s a series of up to five two-game mini-blitz matches and sudden-death game if necessary.
While most world championship matches have something of note, this one will be remembered as the most boring, with all those turgid draws resulting in the least number of moves played – by two players battling it out for the biggest honour in the game. It also had the dubious honour of the shortest decisive game in a world championship match, breaking a record that has stood for 126 years. The previous was a 19-move victory by Wilhelm Steinitz over Johannes Zukertort in the 20th and last game of their 1886 match, which was the first official world chess championship.
After decisively outplaying the world champion in Game 7 to take the lead, Gelfand could well have been pictured by now in the media with the traditional World Champion’s laurel wreath around his neck were it not for his “moment of madness” that followed in Game 8. There he somehow managed to lose in just 17 moves after he missed Anand’s clever riposte of 17 Qf2! in today’s diagram – to be fair, so did a few prominent grandmasters commentating online – that forced his immediate resignation.
V Anand - B Gelfand
World Championship, (12)
1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 e6 4 Bxc6 bxc6 5 d3 Ne7 6 b3 d6 7 e5 Ng6 8 h4 Nxe5 9 Nxe5 dxe5 10 Nd2 c4 11 Nxc4 Ba6 12 Qf3 Qd5 13 Qxd5 cxd5 14 Nxe5 f6 15 Nf3 e5 16 0–0 Kf7 17 c4 Be7 18 Be3 Bb7 19 cxd5 Bxd5 20 Rfc1 a5 21 Bc5 Rhd8 22 Bxe7 draw agreed.