Israeli chess grandmaster Boris Gelfand on Wednesday was unsuccessful in the final phase of his World Chess Championship duel against reigning champion Viswanathan Anand of India, who retained his title in a 2.5-1.5 victory in the final round of four rapid chess games.
The first game was a draw, the second a win for Anand, and the third a draw as well, leaving Gelfand in a very tough position leading into game four. Playing black, he had to win to advance the match into the next phase of 10-minute blitz chess rounds, while Anand had to only draw to ensure his victory, which he was able to do.
Gelfand was viewed as the underdog going into the championship, but he managed to hold his own against Anand for most of the series. Anand, who has now won the world championship five times, is known to excel in the rapid-play style required in timed games like Wednesday’s tie-breaking series.
In addition to the considerable prestige associated with a win, Anand takes home $1.53 million in prize money, while Gelfand earns $1.02 million.
The play was broadcast on a live feed from the World Chess Championship website, although Twitter users complained on Wednesday that the servers were slow due to the massive demand from fans worldwide.
Wednesday’s time-limited stage came after 12 normal games over recent weeks failed to produce a victor in the championships in Moscow, with 10 draws and one victory for each contender. The four rapid games on Wednesday were limited to less than an hour each. It was only the second time in World Chess Championship history that this rapid-fire face-off has occurred.
If the four rapid chess games had resulted in a draw overall, the series would have progressed to a round of five 10-minute blitz chess matches to determine the victor. If those had also been inconclusive, then the “Armageddon rule” would have been invoked — a final match with a guaranteed victor. In an Armageddon match, white gets a time advantage in making moves, but black is given the win in the case of a draw.
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