Boris Gelfand’s first match against World Champion Viswanathan Anand on Friday also ended in a draw.
According to Gelfand, Saturday’s draw was achieved from a position of strength. Much like Friday’s match, there was more of a chance that Gelfand was going to draw, than that he would increase his advantage in the game.
Gelfand, who played white in the second match, played an opener that was intended to give him a minor - but stable – advantage. According to a computer-generated analysis of the game, Gelfand had played the opening he chose on Saturday twice in the past, winning both times, although both instances were in matches where he was pitted against weaker rivals.
Anand found a way to neutralize Gelfand’s initiative, however, and after an exchange of queens it was obvious that the two were headed for a draw.
Anand told journalists, “I am satisfied that I managed to neutralize” Gelfand’s initiative.
A computer-generated analysis of the first match on Friday said that Gelfand should not have agreed to a draw, as he could have won were he to continue playing. The Israeli chess master rejected the claim, saying it wasn’t likely he could have actually won, mostly because the time was running out.
Gelfand seemed calm. When asked after the game if he was nervous at his first bid for the world championship, he answered, “I heard many stories of ‘fear of heights’ at an occasion like this. Retroactively, I wouldn’t worry.”
Anand told the press after the game that he was surprised by his opponent’s choice of opening, which Gelfand doesn’t use often.
During Friday’s game, Moscow’s Tretyakov Gallery’s 400 seats were filled to capacity with people giving up their places mid game to other spectators waiting outside.
The next round of the tournament will be played on Monday.