Anand wins world chess championship

Viswanathan Anand became the World chess Champion for the fifth time on Wednesday, 30th May 2012, after beating Israel’s Boris Gelfand 2.5-1.5 in a tie-breaker at the Tretyakov Gallery in Mascow. The match that began on May 10 was tied 6-6 after 12 games in regular format. Both Anand and Gelfand managed to win one game each, while the remaining 10 ended in draws. In the tie-breaker of four short games, the first onewas a draw and the second was won by Anand in the 77th move.Anand clinched the title once again after holding Gelfand to draws in the third and fourth games, winning the prize money of $1.5 million.This is the third championship title in a row for Anand.

The 42-year-oldAnand from Chennai has been holding the title since 2007. His opponent Gelfand had earned the spot to play for the championshipafter he defeated the worlds’ other top players in the Candidates Tournament in 2011. Currently, Anand is at number 4 with an Elo rating of 2791 and Gelfand at 20 with an Elo rating of 2727 in the world rankings. Gelfand’s victory motivated his long-time friend Russian billionaire Andrey Filatov to bid for the 2012 tournament, which he won with $2.55 million. The World Chess Federation (FIDE) had considered London and Chennai before zeroing on Moscow as the venue for tournament.

Anand encountered a tough battle as Gelfand displayed solid defence that led to a tie at the end of 12th game. The media  projected Gelfand as a probable winner hypothesizing relatively lower motivation levels of Anand. However, Anand’s famous prowess in rapid and blitz chess formats once again triumphed. After losing the second game in the rapid-fire round, Gelfand could not force a much-needed win in the remaining two games. He offered the draw after four-and-a-half hours of grueling efforts in the fourth game, putting an end to his 19-year itch for the top most title in chess.

Anand won his first world championship title in 2001 in the knockout format, and won it in match format in 2007. He defended the title in 2008 against Vladimir Kramnik and in 2010 against VaselinTopolov. During the latest championship games, Anand was assisted by Peter Heine Nielsen, RustamKasimdzhanov, Surya ShekharGanguly and Rados?awWojtaszek, whereas his Israeli opponent Gelfand’s seconds included Alexander Huzman, PavelEljanov, and Maxim Rodshtein. It was reported that there were some anonymous Seconds assisting Gelfand in the background for his preparations against Anand.

Achievements of Viswanathan Anand have always provided impetus to the game of chess in India.  The recent victory is an opportunity to herald new policy initiatives to strengthen the emerging culture of chess.  Undoubtedly, Anand is one of the tallest sports persons of India. An increasing number of voices, advocating Bharat Ratna for Anand, is being heard in the aftermath of the World Championship. A Bharat Ratna to Anand would be a fitting tribute to the chess talent. It could serve as a first step in seizing the initiative to promote the game.

Awarding of GM and IM

 The World Chess Federation (FIDE) hosts the world championship, as well as rates chess players by monitoring their performances across tournaments, leagues and matches. Players are rated through Elo Score, a statistical scoring systemupdated from the performance of players in various tournaments from time to time.  It updates scores based on the relative strengths of the player. FIDE awards various titles to chess players based on Elo scores. When a player meets a specified performance level in Chess, FIDE awards some titles to the Chess players.  A player is awarded a Candidate Master (CM) with a rating of 2200 on Elo Score and a FIDE Master (FM) with 2300 points. A player becomes an International Master (IM) with a rating of 2400 and a Grand Master (GM) when he/she reaches 2500 on Elo score. The highest Elo score is in the name of Kasparov at 2851. Viswanathan Anand became GM in 1987. There are about 1366 GMs and 3173 IMs in the world. India has about 26 GMs and 76 IMs.


How world chess championship was played

 The match format was the best of 12 games. Players scored one point for a win and half a point for a draw. The winning condition was to score 6.5 points. In case of a tie, the tie-breaker matches were in place.

First tie-breaker match was in the form of a 4 rapid games. The second tie-breaker match was a series of 5 pairs of blitz games. The series would continue if the tie conitnues in each pair of blitz games. The third tie-breaker match was a single sudden-death “Armageddon game”. In case of a draw, player with black pieces would win the match.

Time control for first 12 games was 120 minutes, with 60 minutes added after move 40, 15 minutes added after move 60, and 30 additional seconds per move starting from move 61. For rapid game match, time control was 25 minutes plus 10 seconds per move. For blitz games, it was 5 minutes plus 10 seconds increment per move. For sudden death game, time control was 5 minutes for white and 4 minutes for black with a 3 second increment for each move after 60 moves.