What a nail-biting tie break! I certainly enjoyed every moment of that play off. Well, the Chess World Championship got to an end. It was a great fight between Anand the Champ since 2008 and the challenger Boris Gelfand.
I know both players very well and played with them since the early 90's. It was very interesting for me to see the excellent live coverage of the match on the internet, seeing the two players’ body language. Well, I have to admit, it made me feel, I wanted to be there and feel the real atmosphere, be in the real situation, try to see what the two players think of.
I always thought Gelfand had good chances and would give a good fight against Anand. As for Vishy, is was not the first time he played for the title so his motivation was clearly not as high as Gelfand’s. For Gelfand it was definitely the chance of his life to go down to history. I know Boris for a long time and I am not sure who else could I name who has so much dedication for the game, enjoys the tournaments, takes the training sessions this seriously. I was sure that he planned and worked out his plan very carefully.
Gelfand was very well prepared for the WC match! (As I know him, I can say, that he is not only an excellent player, but a very nice person, too) He was really fighting for the crown very well. He had a great opening preparation. Actually, it was a surprise for me that Anand was avoiding the main lines in the Sicilian. It probably means that he also had great respect for Gelfand's preparation.
Some say the 12 classical games were not so exciting. I have admit, I think that some of them could have been played out longer really. On the other hand, the rules do not forbid to offer a draw any time of the game at all. So when you have big, no sorry, ENORMOUS pressure and there is nothing more you want but to win the overall match and you believe that half a point makes you to get closer then, of course, you do not care about the spectators, if they are happy with what they see or not.
I think the match itself was very balanced, very close. Actually, Anand was not in a great form at all. He did not seem to be hungry for the game! While Gelfand was fighting as he would do it for his life, especially in the play-offs.
In the tie break it was a great show with full of tension, even the commentator, Peter Svidler seemed to be full of emotions, when he was commentating. Of course, at this stage any move could cost the title. The games were ups and downs with great fight. In the second one I really liked that, after a very bad opening, Boris could turn it around and get fantastic counter play. Bc8 was a fantastic move to me! There I was sure he felt very optimistic. But Vishy is an incredible fighter and after realizing that he ruined it, he had to see that maybe draw would be the realistic result for game 2. Then Boris made a serious mistake, which probably cost him the match. He was always behind on the clock with under a minute. Even this way he played very strong but as in game 2 he lost the thread and the game. Even though with more time he should have made a draw.
Game 3 was a fantastic fight again. I was happy to see that Anand was not playing for a draw at all, but was ready for a sharp fight. For a while it seemed that Boris he had a great position, almost winning position, and then with lot of up and downs again he got a winning rook endgame where he went wrong again.
In game 4 Gelfand had to face a mission impossible. Only nerves could make Anand make a mistake big enough to lose with white in this situation. Gelfand got the better position again in the middle game, and created chances, but was not enough to break through.
I would like to congratulate Anand for winning the match and defending his title! He showed that in the most critical moments he can grab his chances and it is not by chance that he has been the WC for years already, even is this time it was very close.
As for Gelfand, it will be very difficult for him to get over the result. He can point out concrete moves where he can say: If I had played that move I would be world champion now! I’m pretty sure, he will not sleep well tonight, but I am also sure that this match just made Boris' motivation even higher, because he could see that he can put up a fight with the best chess player on the planet of the time.