World Championship – pre-match information

by ChessBase
5/8/2012 – Just three days to go: on Friday, at 15:00h local time – 13:00h CEST, 7 a.m. New York – the first move will be made in the World Championship match between Viswanathan Anand and his challenger Boris Gelfand in Moscow. To get you in the mood here is all the latest information, newspaper reports, interviews and a special video warm-up session with commentator Andrew Martin.

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Official opening of the FIDE World Championship match

Press release – The opening ceremony for the world chess champion match will be held in Moscow on 10 May 2012. The ceremony will mark the start of the three-week match. During the opening ceremony, which will be held in the Mikhail Vrubel Hall of the State Tretyakov Gallery, it will be determined which of the match participants will play white during the first game. The drawing procedure will be conducted by the event’s Chief Arbiter, Ashot Vardapetyan. The ceremony will conclude with a concert by pianist Denis Matsuev and other young Russian musicians. The first game of the match will begin at 3.00 p.m. on 11 May.

Official commentators and VIP guests

The official commentators for the Anand-Gelfand world championship match have been announced. On each day of play there will be commentary on the games in Russian by grandmaster Ilya Smirin (Israel), and he’ll be joined by a number of colleagues: Sergei Rublevsky on 11–12 May, Dmitry Yakovenko on 14 May, Viorel Bologan on 15 May, Alexander Grischuk on 17–18, 20 and 23–24 May, Peter Svidler on 21 and 26 May, and Vladimir Kramnik on 28 May.

The regular commentator in English will be Dirk Jan ten Geuzendam, editor in chief of New in Chess, and other commentators working with the English-speaking audience will be Nigel Short on 11–12 May, Jan Timman on 14–15 May, Joel Lautier on 17 May, Peter Svidler on 18, 23–24 and 28 May, Peter Leko on 20–21 May, and Vladimir Kramnik on 26 May.

The world champions Anatoly Karpov and Garry Kasparov, the long-standing challenger for the champion’s title Viktor Korchnoi, the world’s oldest grandmaster Yuri Averbakh, the composer Vladimir Dashkevich, the pianist Nikolai Lugansky and other prominent chess players and cultural figures have agreed to be guests of honour at the match.

Interview with Boris Gelfand and Hans-Walter Schmitt

Our German news page has carried pre-match interviews with the challenger Boris Gelfand and with Anand team member Hans-Walter Schmitt. The interviews were conducted by Dagobert Kohlmeyer. Here are some excerpts:

Boris Gelfand

I have studied the games of my opponent thoroughly and hope to have done everything necessary for the struggle for the chess crown. Practically, I began preparation a year ago, when it became clear than that I will be Anand's challenger. I invested all my energy in order to be as well prepared as possible for the duel. It is the absolute highlight of my chess career. I retired with my usual training team to the Austrian town of Waldbach, where we could find the necessary peace to work, but also for relaxation. In Moscow I will, as in previous competitions, be supported by GMs Alexander Huzman and Maxim Rodstein. I will not name the other seconds before the match. We will be staying in a good hotel in Moscow, but not in the same one as Anand's team.

My goal will be to play in a detached and enlighted fashion, as is necessary for chess at the highest level. Uncomprimising attack against Anand can be a fatal strategy – he is the born tactician. But if I have a chance I will of course go on the attack. Yes, I have discovered weaknesses in his game, but I will noch discuss them here. That would be foolish. The way to beat Anand is perfect preparation, good form and a willingness to fight. And some luck, in order to get the right kind of opening on the board.

Hans-Walter Schmitt

We will be staying in the Hotel Kempinski, next to the Kremlin. It is one of the best hotels in the area and less than a kilometre from the Tretyakov Gallery. The mood in Anand's camp is excellent – we have all the usual seconds and everybody is optimistic. Naturally Anand has achieved everything that is possible to achieve: the FIDE knockout world championship title, the FIDE tournament world championship title in Mexico, and two classical World Championship titles. And also great successes in rapid chess. But I can tell you one thing: this man will never become tired of chess. Never! He loves the game too much.

Pre-match news stories on Anand Gelfand

The international news media has started to warm to the upcoming match – especially, for obvious reasons, in India and Israel. Here are some receint articles:

Indian Express: Game of thrones
World championship matches contribute to opening theory, with each player developing “smart bombs” to demolish the opponent’s defences. In the 2008 match in Bonn, Anand, a lifelong king-pawn player, shocked Vladimir Kramnik by switching to the queen pawn. Referring to Anand’s new ability to play both types of openings, computer chess guru Frederic Friedel drew an analogy from snooker saying, “Anand is now like Ronnie O’Sullivan – he can play both sides of the table!”. Chess fans are agog over the strategy that will be adopted by Anand now. Will he continue with the queen-pawn against Gelfand? Or return to his roots? After all, the surprise value of “1.d4” is no longer present. – Unlike the previous match in Sofia, which saw elaborate anti-cheating measures, including cellphone jammers, this will be a duel between gentlemen. Apart from the standard transparent screen separating the players from the audience, Anand and Gelfand have agreed to drop the more extreme of the measures.

DNA: Viswanathan Anand's mission Moscow
Viswanathan Anand is a sort of an anti-thesis in chess, any sport, in fact. At a time when the age of the world champions is sizably shrinking, the Indian Grandmaster stands tall in the chess world. At 42, he is one of the oldest world champions. Across sports! In a few days from now, he will set out on a mission to defend that crown which he has so astoundingly won four times over a period of ten years. The passage of time since the first title in 2000 in Tehran has failed to diminish his unquenchable spirit and unbreakable will. Be it against Vladimir Kramnik in 2008 or Veselin Topalov in 2010, Anand played at a level that was inconceivable among his peers. He has wowed friends, foes and critics alike and invited some purple prose too. “I always considered him to be a colossal talent, one of the greatest in the whole history of chess,” says Kramnik. “At the given moment, I think he’s the best in the world in terms of play.”

NDTV Sports: Anand must not take Gelfand lightly: Ganguly
As Indian ace Viswanathan Anand gears to defend his World Chess Championship title against Boris Gelfand later this month, GM Surya Sekhar Ganguly feels it will be "foolish to underestimate the Israeli". Ganguly, Anand's second in the four-member team, is leaving for Moscow on Thursday for the May 11-30 event. As this would be the Israeli's first shot at the championship, Ganguly said Gelfand would be highly motivated to prove a point. "A great positional player, Gelfand is among the top players of the world for last ten years or so. It will be foolish to underestimate him. He will give his 100 per cent. He is a classical player with a deep knowledge of the game. His playing style is very traditional, very typical of the Soviet mindset. But the way he reads a game is simply outstanding. The biggest quality of Anand is he never stops learning. He is always open to suggestions. As a second, I have different responsibilities. I have to give him new ideas about the opening move. It is a very intricate process of research and development. I have learnt a lot of things from him during this period."

Picture of Gelfand in 1974 – from the ChessBase Players Encyclopedia

Indian Express: Meet the Candidate
Circa 1972: Abram Gelfand, an engineer in Minsk, Soviet Belarus, got his five-year old son Boris a children’s book on chess, Journey to the Chess Kingdom. When Gelfand junior asked his father a few days later if he could read something else, Abram understandably thought chess didn’t hold much interest for the kid. It was, of course, not so. In Gelfand’s words: “My dad couldn’t even imagine that I’d gulped down the whole book in one day and therefore wanted something new.” Incredible as the story is, it is unlikely to faze most chess insiders. Photo-albums of most grandmasters are bound to have a picture of the player as a kid, sitting in an oversized chair, legs in free swing. Precocity is a given for players at the elite level, and it was no different with Gelfand. – This article is a comprehensive, well-written bio of the Challenger.

Haaretz: Between Israel and Russia, chess is more than just a game
Sport, science or culture? This eternal question has forever evoked debate among chess aficionados who view the game as a sport, and those who consider sport a matter of physical exertion. In the view of the wealthy Russian businessman Andrey Filatov, the dilemma was resolved a long time ago. Chess is simply his great love, a unique combination of sport and culture. This month Filatov, the main sponsor of the duel for the title of chess world champion, will give lovers of the game and of art something unique. At his suggestion, the battle between the current champion, grand master Viswanathan Anand of India and Israeli grand master Boris Gelfand, will be held in Moscow in the famous Tretyakov Gallery. Spectators who come to enjoy the beauty of the game of kings, will at the same time be able to take in the fantastic Russian art collection, one of the biggest and best in the world. – An extensive report on Andrey Filatov, who has donated $5 million to bring the world championship match toe Moscow.

Jerusalem Post: Israel's chess master readies for championship
Like most of Israel’s top chess players he is a native of the former Soviet Union, where chess was a wellrespected sport, as opposed to Israel where it is far down the list of beloved sports long after soccer, basketball and matkot, beach paddleball. In Israel, Gelfand enjoys a meager level of support from the country that belies his prominence in the international chess world. According to Burnstein [general-secretary of the Israel Chess Federation], Gelfand has a team of four or five coaches that he pays for mainly out of his own pocket, using the prize winnings from former tournaments to support his training. Before leaving for the Swiss Alps last week, where he has shut himself off from distractions back in Israel, Gelfand gave a press conference in Tel Aviv where he spoke about being a chess grandmaster in Israel. “In the USSR if you tell people you are a chess player they tell you way to go, bravo. Here, you tell people and they say, OK, but where do you work, what do you do? “I hope that in the coming years, there will be respect for the profession in Israel, and kids who study chess will get respect,” he said, his words breaking with emotion mid-sentence at the prospect of a better future for chess in Israel.

Andrew Martin's pre-match warm-up

Chess trainer and IM Andrew Martin, who will be producing video game analysis of all the games of the World Championship match, starts off with warm-up session which will give you an impression of what to expect. He starts his commentary with some interesting remarks:

  • In 35 games of classical chess the score is only 6:5 in Anand's favour, with 24 draws.

  • In spite of this on the official web site poll a whopping 82% think Anand is going to win this match – but I am really not so sure: Gelfand is a really tough cookie.Let's recall that Gelfand in his 2011 Candidates series beat Mamedyarov, Kamsky and then Grischuk in short matches.

  • Just to whet your appetite I'm going to show you a game they played ín Wijk aan Zee back in 1996 – an absolutely spectacular game.

  • I'm looking forward to this match – it could be very interesting with lots of sharp play. Everything I think will hinge on how many points each of the players can score with the white pieces.

"Only a few more days to go," says Andrew. "I'll be covering the match game by game. The games will usually appear the morning after – when I've had time to look at them and digest what's actually happened. [You will find Andrew Martin's video commentary in our reports].

Andrew David Martin (born 18th May 1957 in West Ham, London) is an English chess player with the title of International Master. He has won various national and international tournaments and has been playing for years in the Four Nations Chess League, at present (July 2009) for Wood Green Hilsmark Kingfisher, previously for the Camberley Chess Club. Martin received his IM title in1984. He earned his first grandmaster norm in the British Championship of 1997 in Brighton. Martin was a commentator on the chess world championship between Kasparov and Kramnik in 2000.

On the 21st February 2004 Martin set a new world record for simultaneous chess. He faced 321 chess players at the same time. His result was: 294 wins, 26 draws and only one loss. Martin is known as a professional chess teacher and head trainer of the English youth team. He trains eight schools (Yateley Manor, Aldro, Millfield, Sunningdale, Waverley School, St Michael’s Sandhurst, Wellington College, Salesian College). Martin is a chess columnist, an author of chess books and the author of various instructional videos. He was the publisher of the series Trends Publications. Martin lives in Sandhurst, England, is married and the father of two daughters and two sons. His present Elo rating is 2423 (as of July 2009).

Andrew Martin training DVDs you can find here in the ChessBase Shop

World Chess Championsip 2012 – some match details

The World Chess Championship 2012 will be a match between the current World Champion Viswanathan Anand of India and Boris Gelfand of Israel, winner of the Candidates tournament. The match will be held under the auspices of FIDE, the World Chess Federation. The prize fund is US $2.55 million, the winner getting $1.53 million (60%), the loser $1,02 million (40%).


  • May 10, 2012 Opening Ceremony
  • May 11, 2012 Game 1
  • May 12, 2012 Game 2
  • May 13, 2012 Rest day
  • May 14, 2012 Game 3
  • May 15, 2012 Game 4
  • May 16, 2012 Rest day
  • May 17, 2012 Game 5
  • May 18, 2012 Game 6
  • May 19, 2012 Rest day
  • May 20, 2012 Game 7
  • May 21, 2012 Game 8
  • May 22, 2012 Rest day
  • May 23, 2012 Game 9
  • May 24, 2012 Game 10
  • May 25, 2012 Rest day
  • May 26, 2012 Game 11
  • May 27, 2012 Rest day
  • May 28, 2012 Game 12
  • May 29, 2012 Rest day
  • May 30, 2012 Tiebreak games
  • May 31, 2012 Closing Ceremony
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