Thursday, June 2, 2011

Gelfand is challenger


(As published in Chess Piece, BusinessWorld, 03 June 2011)

In the introduction to the autobiographical collection of Gelfand’s most memorable games the German GM Dirk Poldauf wrote about Boris Gelfand:

"In 1989 the magazine 64 offered an original prize to the participants in one of the now legendary USSR Championships: to be awarded to the player sacrificing the most material in the tournament. It was the twenty-one-year-old Boris Gelfand from Minsk who won this special award and who by his adventurous play went on to win the bronze medal as well. Gelfand’s playing style continues to the present day to be characterized by its direct and combative approach. In contrast to those positional players, who seek to grind down their opponents by long drawn-out maneuvering, Gelfand’s concept of chess has always included a particularly dynamic approach. His dramatic victories with White, not just but especially against the Gruenfeld Defense, are well known. But his precisely judged repertoire with the black pieces is proof of a basic combative approach far removed from classical notions of playing for equality."

The book then started with a chapter on Gelfand’s battles against the Gruenfeld.

Well, the aggressive tendencies of Gelfand has considerably toned down in the past 10 years, and it is now only once in a while that we get to see his wonderful attacking instinct in action. On the other hand even up to the present day his great skill in playing against the Gruenfeld should be respected.

GM Alexander Grischuk found out the hard way during his Candidates’ Finals match against GM Boris Gelfand. This was a six-game match with the winner to challenge India’s Viswanathan Anand in a World Championship match next year. The first five games were all drawn, but in game 6 Grischuk decided to test Gelfand with the Gruenfeld. Here is what happened:

Gelfand, Boris (2733) -- Grischuk, Alexander (2747) [D76]
FIDE Candidates Matches 2011 Kazan/Tatarstan/Russia (3.6), 25.05.2011

Time control: 120 minutes for the first 40 moves, 60 minutes for the next 20 moves and then 15 minutes for the rest of the game, plus an additional 30 seconds per move starting from move 61.

Grischuk: "I think it was a super game by White, and I congratulate Boris wholeheartedly!"

So, Gelfand gets a chance at the world title next year against Viswanathan Anand. The World Chess Federation (FIDE) Executive Board gave during its congress last 2009 an option to London, England to organize the World Chess Championship in 2012. However, the organizing body "Chess promotions Ltd" headed by IM Malcolm Pein were not able to come to terms with FIDE within the deadline period, so as of now there is still no venue although it was announced to take place from April 10-May 31, 2012.

Who do I think will win? That is a question for a different column!

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