Who Will Outwit Whom?

Время публикации: 08.05.2012 22:34 | Последнее обновление: 08.05.2012 23:37

The experts of the popular Russian chess websites consider what could happen in the World Championship match Anand - Gelfand

The original at russiachess.org

Sergei Shipov, Grandmaster, expert at crestbook.com

I don’t think that the rivals will be kicking against the pricks. The opening preparation will decide a lot. The one who will manage to surprise his opponent in the opening, he’ll grab initiative in the whole match. The Meran variation revelations of Anand – Kramnik in 2008 is a striking illustration to that. So, the script and the character of the fight are largely determined by the pre-match preparation of the rivals. But now nothing is clear… I don’t expect the high match performance. Unless one of the opponents will make several mistakes at the beginning of the match and will be forced to stake everything. I don’t think that’ll happen. The example of Gelfand, who chose a sharp Najidorf variation of the Sicilian defence instead of playing on equality in the Russian game in the Candidates matches, as well as Anand’s Meran triumph in the match against Kramnik, point that playing for a win with Black is quite possible in this match. In fact, the main purpose of the opening preparation of the rivals for such an important match lays in performing serious novelties in those openings, which are hardly expected by the opponent; and prediction of the opening choice for the outsider is completely impossible.   

Anand is a more skilful player – that is his main advantage. But Gelfand will be much more motivated. He has a hunger for a triumph, unlike Anand who has already achieved everything. Objectively Anand is odds-on favourite in the match; and this statement sounds as a banality like “2x2=4”; but what is going to happen is known to only God, who’ll roll the dice…    

The last failures of the participants of the match are of a great importance for its promotion, for the media having interest in it. That’s still a coincidental misfortune that the most important match for the historically important title will be played by those, whose rating is far from the top. And if Anand still has a certain public trust in him due to his great past, for Gelfand it equals to zero. I’m sure, that the idea of the alternative match of #1 ranked world players, Carlsen – Aronian, will be in the air, as, for instance, a more interesting rivalry of today; in any case, among the chess lovers.  

As to a prediction for the upcoming match, the last failures of the rivals aren’t important at all! There’s a historically formed tradition of concealing oneself before the most important matches. Anand, as I remember, before the match against Kramnik played -2 in Bilbao showing an extremely modest play, but that didn’t prevent him from achieving success in the main. So, it’s not worth looking back. Anything can happen!


Mikhail Golubev, Grandmaster, chess expert at chess-news.ru

I evaluate the chances of the rivals as 2:1 ratio in Anand’s favor. We will certainly see the leading edge of the theory in the variations that will be played; however, it’s hard to expect any cardinal revelations in the opening. Nowadays, the fight at this stage almost always is for some small advantage. (In the words of Kramnik “you can forget about the big advantage at all”)

We can be reasonably expecting some interesting novelties and at list two or three definitely bright games as it was in the previous matches for the world chess crown. I suppose that Gelfand will be playing closed openings with White as he usually does. It’s hard to predict Anand’s choice. If he’ll completely avoid playing 1. e4 in this match, I’ll be surprised. I even don’t dare to hope to see the open Sicilian, although I still have a glimmer of hope (up to 20-25%) for that.   

I consider the question on the real weight of the championship title in terms of current organization of chess life to be quite essential. It’s hard to ignore the obvious: a significant part of the fans consider that the rating favourite is the strongest player in the world. Unfortunately, I don’t see the desire of resolving the contradictions between the role of the world championship and the role of the rating list. For example, holding an annual match for the crown between the world champion and the most successful player of the year -session would smooth out the contradiction. However, the programme for the nearest championship cycles has recently been planned for years ahead, so that’s what we’re having.

If the traditions aren’t adapted to the contemporary realities, both will suffer damage. If we won’t try to call things by their proper names and won’t express well-grounded concerns, the world championship match system gradually will become the factor which will be hampering development of chess. All the conceivable wake-up calls have already sounded. 

I sincerely feel sorry for adding to the prognosis of the match such sad observations; to the match of the players, who in my view, deservedly are the positive examples of the proper approach in the world of chess professionals. I’d like to add that I don’t agree with the criticism that was addressed to the participants of the match regarding to their last performances. If Anand’s and Gelfand’s concentration on preparation for the forthcoming match prevented them from showing best results in the last tournaments, the problem lays in the current system, according to which the biggest super tournaments can objectively be of less significance for the player; and I don’t see anything normal in this.  


Maxim Notkin, International Master, editor-in-chief of chesspro.ru

I think we will see a rich and full-blooded play, maybe not that intense as in Sofia: still no one can match Topalov in uncompromising stand. Maybe, there will be several short draws and from three to five decisive games. 

Anand is a defined favourite, but it’s doubtful whether Gelfand gets confused of such factors as rating or past achievements. However, the champion’s match experience is a considerable thing. At the start Vishy will surely mentally feel more confident, and Boris should carefully think of the strategy for the first part of the match. The statistics say: if Vishy leads after 4 games, in the end he wins. 

I doubt that Anand will refute the Russian game, which means that theoretical discussions will unfold in Queen’s, Slav and Catalan directions. I’ll be surprised if c4-pawn won’t be sacrificed in any of the games. The champion’s advantages are defence and counterattack, in the previous matches he was winning with both colors (at the same time not losing playing White). Perhaps, his opening strategy will generally be more sharp and oriented on interception. Of course, a lot depends on who’s going to “puzzle out” his rival first. Kramnik and Topalov won a game each due to a fruitful opening idea; the decisive encounter of the final Candidates match in Kazan showed that Gelfand’s team is also good in digging deep.  

As long as both players showed unsuccessful performances in the last tournaments, the reasons are less important – the emotional background of the match should be approximately equal. 

Let the more penetrated and less unbiased people answer the question on the winner of the match. I’m sure that’s the audience who will benefit from the match: such a favourable interior has been offered to chess this time.  

The original


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