Israeli grandmaster Boris Gelfand’s bid to claim the World Chess Championship title suffered a major blow on Monday, as reigning champion Viswanathan Anand won the eighth game of the tournament to even the score between the two at 4-4 on Monday.
Gelfand, playing the black pieces, lost Monday’s match in just 17 moves. The defeat undid Gelfand’s surprise triumph in Sunday’s seventh game. The previous six games had ended in draws.
The World Chess Championships, a three-week event, opened in Moscow a week ago Friday. The title will be decided over 12 matches, and the winner will take home $1.53 million while second place will win $1.02 million.
This is the fifth time Anand is defending his World Champion title, though he no longer holds the top world ranking, falling to No. 4 recently.
Gelfand, ranked 22, was born in Minsk and immigrated to Israel in 1998, quickly dominating the local chess scene and capturing a number of world chess tournaments, including the Chess World Cup in 2009.
He is regarded as a classical player who often has tricks up his sleeve. He defeated the world’s top players in the 2011 Candidates Cup round, which earned him a spot at the board opposite Anand.