I saw the notations of the match in chessbase, and I couldn't understand why Boris resigned. Anand was no where close to checkmate. I don't see why he didn't just trade his queen for a bishop and continue and maybe force a draw.

More importantly, resigning gives away the advantage he got by winning the previous match. Can someone explain what Anand should have done to checkmate Gelfand from the final position ? I can't see it.

  • 1
    If I am thinking of the same game as you, then Anand was simply up a piece.
    – Jimmy360
    Jul 31, 2016 at 2:21
  • @Jimmy360 But, is that enough reason to resign in a world championship match ?
    – Saikat
    Jul 31, 2016 at 2:37
  • 5
    Yes. A difference of a piece without compensation is enough to resign in any grandmaster game.
    – Cleveland
    Jul 31, 2016 at 2:43
  • @Cleveland But, the stakes are so high. Why not fight till the end and try to force a stalemate or draw ? Are you sure he didn't see a mate in 3 moves or so that was unavoidable ?
    – Saikat
    Jul 31, 2016 at 3:09
  • 4
    Against a grandmaster (world champion, no less), there is perhaps a 0.000000001% chance of getting a draw if you are down a piece in the early middlegame without positional compensation. There is simply no point in attempting.
    – Daniel
    Jul 31, 2016 at 3:38

3 Answers 3


http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1666558 the shortest game is World Championship history. It's not so much the material difference, after Bd3 Qxb1+ two Rooks is not enough for the Queen and the Bishop, but the weakness around the Black King will cause Gelfand to lose anyway. After h6 and Ne4, d6 will fall and mate is always possible on g7. A thorough annotation is at http://www.ajschess.com/lifemasteraj/FIDE_World-Champ-2012_game-eight.html

[fen ""]

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.f3 c5 4.d5 d6 5.e4 Bg7 6.Ne2 O-O 7.Nec3 Nh5
8.Bg5 Bf6 9.Bxf6 exf6 10.Qd2 f5 11.exf5 Bxf5 12.g4 Re8+ 13.Kd1
Bxb1 14.Rxb1 Qf6 15.gxh5 Qxf3+ 16.Kc2 Qxh1 17.Qf2 
  • It's the shortest decisive game in WCC history. Jul 31, 2016 at 15:54

Here's my take (FWIW):

  • Black's remaining queenside pieces are undeveloped,
  • He's lost control of the dark squares,
  • He can't conquer either White's back or 2nd rank,
  • His queen is trapped,
  • He's about to get a spike pawn shoved down his throat at h6,
  • All of this has happened in 17 moves, meaning
  • Anand must have foreseen this variation in his home preparation, so
  • Anand knows Black is lost, and
  • With so few pieces left, a refutation is just out of the question.

It's a pretty big list.

  • Can someone really prepare for all variations upto 17 moves at home ? Even if there are just five possible options at every move, $5^(17)$ is a massive number.
    – Saikat
    Sep 25, 2016 at 1:31
  • @user230452 In the Sicilian Najdorf (ECO B90), 2 games have reached the following position: 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be3 e5 7. Nb3 Be6 8. f3 Be7 9. Qd2 O-O 10. O-O-O Nbd7 11. g4 b5 12. g5 b4 13. Ne2 Ne8 14. f4 a5 15. f5 a4 16. fxe6 axb3 17. exf7+ Rxf7 18. Kb1 bxc2+ 19. Kxc2 Nb6 20. Nc1 d5 21. exd5 Nd6 22. Kb1 Nbc4 23. Bxc4 Nxc4 24. Qe2 Nxe3 25. g6 Nxd1 (25... hxg6 26. Qxe3 Bd6 27. Rhg1 Qc8 My PowerBook opening book has 23 moves, but these 2 games in the PowerBook DB were played between IM's and GM's, so they constitute established theory. I know! Crazy, right?
    – jaxter
    Sep 25, 2016 at 16:35
  • @user230452 To be fair to the math aspect of your comment, White's novelty 8.Bg5 represents the start. 8...Bf6? was one of 4 or 5 likely replies. After that, though, Black's replies are either very solid convention or forced until 14...Qf6?. But that last one is a very natural attempt to set up a fork of the white king and rook with 15...Qxf3+. When White allowed that with 15.gxh5!, it was clear he knew there was a refutation. So, he saw the fork, and let Black do it. It was a trap. So, the math involves maybe 4 main lines, but in this one, there are very few branches. No exponents needed.
    – jaxter
    Sep 25, 2016 at 17:30

Gelfand must have been horribly demoralized. He was completely outplayed in a dozen moves and he knew it. Playing on would only have impressed this disaster on his mind in a way he didn't need. Some players, such as Nakamura, seem to not be affected by wins or losses. Some players don't recover well from a loss. A player has to know themselves and how to avoid the worst.

  • 1
    Is there any reason you think Nakamura doesn't get affected by losses ?
    – Saikat
    Aug 5, 2016 at 13:28
  • I don't know him personally and I have only seen him at two tournaments (one a World Open and the other a scholastic event where he was observing and I was coaching a team). He seemed like a nice guy, but perhaps a little paranoid (what good chess player isn't). Aside from that I have no idea.
    – MarkH
    Aug 6, 2016 at 17:02

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