Anand-Gelfand 2012: Round 5

Game 5 of the 2012 World Chess Championship between Viswanathan Anand and Boris Gelfand began with 1 e4. Gelfand, as was expected, opted for a Sicilian Defence. This game, like its four predecessors, was incredibly well-played and ended in a draw. Anyone who was hoping this match would be a blood sport must be disappointed. Chess purists, on the other hand, can delight in two humans playing superb chess. Below are my thoughts on game 5:

[Event “Anand-Gelfand World Chess Championship”]

[Site “Moscow, Russia”]

[Date “2012.05.17”]

[Round “5”]

[White “Viswanathan Anand”]

[Black “Boris Gelfand”]

[Result “1/2-1/2”]

[ECO “B33”]

[Opening “Sicilian”]

[Variation “Pelikan, Chelyabinsk, 9.Nd5 Be7, 11.c3”]

1. e4 {Anand changes course and uses 1 e4.} c5 {This is what I expected to see from Gelfand should the opportunity arise.} 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 e5 {The Sicilian Pelikan is a fun change of pace for this match.} 6. Ndb5 d6 7. Bg5 a6 8. Na3 b5 {I have only 43,412 serious games where this move has been played.} 9. Nd5 Be7 10. Bxf6 Bxf6 11. c4 {More popular here is c3. C4 has only been used 2332 times.} b4 12. Nc2 O-O {Other options here are a5 and Rb8.} 13. g3 a5 14. Bg2 Bg5 15. O-O Be6 {Now we are getting down to the point where this move has only been played 59 other times.} 16. Qd3 Bxd5 {Boris Gelfand surprises me here. I figured he would try the relatively new Qb8. Instead he opts for a line with which white has won on all three occasions against fairly low rated black opposition.} 17. cxd5 {Taking this way forces black to retreat the knight.} Nb8 18. a3 {Finally something new. I think Jabukowski’s 18.h4 is more exciting.} Na6 {Again Gelfand surprises me. Why not just take the pawn on a3 and have a slightly better game?} 19. axb4 Nxb4 20. Nxb4 axb4 21. h4 Bh6 {Retreating the bishop anywhere else would allow white to get the c-file.} 22. Bh3 {Now Anand surprised me. I wonder why he didn’t play Qc4.} Qb6 23. Bd7 {That’s why. He wants his bishop on c6.} b3 24. Bc6 Ra2 25. Rxa2 bxa2 {The pawn is one step away but will go no further.} 26. Qa3 Rb8 27. Qxa2 1/2-1/2



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