In a few hours the world will know the winner of the 2012 FIDE World Chess Championship match between Viswanathan Anand and Boris Gelfand. Because the Anand-Gelfand match ended with both players achieving 6 points, a tie break match will now occur.
The tie break rules for Anand-Gelfand 2012 are very simple. First Anand and Gelfand will play up to four games with 25 minutes and the clock and ten seconds added per move. Should either player accumulate more than two points in this set of four games, that player will be crowned World Chess Champion by FIDE. If after four rapid games both players are tied with two points, then there will be a series of “lightning” chess games played. The time control in the lightning chess games will be 5 minutes with a 3 second increment. The first set oat lightening speed will consist of two games. If no one comes out ahead another set will be played. This process can repeat until there are five sets of two lightning games played. If after 10 lightning chess games the players are still tied, one Armageddon chess game will be played to decide the FIDE World Chess Championship. In Armageddon chess, white starts with five minutes and black only receives four minutes. However, black wins if the game is a draw.
Using rapid chess games to decide the World Chess Championship will put enormous strain on Anand and Gelfand. Both combatants will need to maintain absolute focus on the chess board while dealing with the adrenaline rush of speed chess. The Winner will be crowned FIDE World Chess Champion and get approximately $500,000 more from the prize fund.
So who do I think will win tonight? If you asked me who would win tie breaks before the match began I would have said Viswanathan Anand. Anand was known for being a very strong speed chess player and has dominated Gelfand at speed chess over the years. However, after watching the 12 games of the Anand-Gelfand match, I have changed my opinion on who has the advantage in tie breaks. It is clear that Anand played fearful chess against Boris Gelfand. Twice during the match, Anand could have continued play in an endgame with a great time advantage and twice Anand offered his opponent a draw seemingly because he feared loosing. The fear factor should be amplified in speed chess games because the player with the greater focus will win the match. If Anand allows anxiety to hamper his chess focus, Boris Gelfand will be the next World Chess Champion. Therefor, I predict Boris Gelfand will be the 2012 World Chess Champion.
Watch here for live streaming video of the Anand-Gelfand Tie Break match.