Legends of Chess: Anand finds the winning gear, beats Gelfand

Viswanathan Anand carved out a fine 45-move win over Boris Gelfand in the first game before winning the second and drawing the third game.

Showing glimpses of his brilliance, Viswanathan Anand ended his long search for a match-victory with a 2.5-0.5 drubbing of Boris Gelfand in the seventh round of chess24 Legends of Chess on Monday.

Like Anand, Anish Giri, too, won against an off-form Ding Liren.

Searching for form, Anand lived dangerously before carving out a fine 45-move victory in the first game. In the next, moving the black pieces, Anand displayed his ability to exploit miniscule advantage and nailed Gelfand in 49 moves. The third game ended in a draw.

A day after losing a third successive tie-breaking Armageddon game, this time to Ian Nepomniachtchi, Anand found himself in serious trouble in the middle game of the first game. He conceded too much of space to Gelfand whose well-placed pieces appeared ready to launch a serious offensive on black’s castled king.

READ| Chess24 Legends of Chess Round 7 LIVE: Anand wins first game against Gelfand

Even as Ding Liren lost one more time after losing his internet connection against Anish Giri and before Vassily Ivanchuk stunned Vladimir Kramnik, Anand found a way to wriggle out of pressure. He chose to sacrifice a knight for two pawns, including one in the centre, exchanged a few pieces to ease the pressure. But advantage
remained with Gelfand.

With three connected passed pawns on the queenside, Anand kept his fighting chances alive. He eventually equalised around the 35th move, traded all his pieces over the next 10 moves and forced Gelfand to resign after planting two connected pawns on the seventh rank.

Upbeat after winning the first game, Anand went on to double his lead with a far more clinical display in the second. Once in the middle game, where both players looked for initiative, Anand got a firm grip following a series of piece-exchanges. Anand used his rook and knight way better than Gelfand and kept improving his position. Anand also gained from his better time-management. On this count, Gelfand was constantly trailing and that reflected on the choices of his moves. Eventually, Anand managed to force Gelfand’s king into a checkmating net.

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In the third game, Anand’s stayed ahead of the clock, in fact, had almost seven minutes to Gelfand’s two after gaining a knight for two pawns. Thereafter, he chose not to press too hard for victory and safely got a much-needed draw in 46 moves.

On Sunday, Anand lost the second game but drew level to force the Armageddon game by winning the fourth game with black pieces. However, in the decider, he proved far slower than ‘speed-king’ Nepomniachtchi,
who won with white pieces with more than a minute to spare on his clock.

The results:

Seventh round: Game One: Boris Gelfand (Isr) lost to Viswanathan Anand; Magnus Carlsen (Nor) drew with Peter Svidler (Rus); Peter Leko (Rus) drew with Ian Nepomniachtchi (Rus); Ding Liren (Chn) lost to Anish Giri (Ned); Vassily Ivanchuk (Ukr) bt Vladimir Kramnik (Rus).

Game Two: Anand bt Gelfand; Svidler drew with Carlsen; Nepomniachtchi drew with Leko; Giri drew with Liren; Kramnik lost to Ivanchuk.

Game Three: Gelfand drew with Anand; Carlsen drew with Svidler; Leko drew with Nepomniachtchi; Liren lost to Giri; Kramnik bt Ivanchuk.
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