An Intense Title Tilt!
When World Champion Viswanathan Anand squared off in the 2012 championship match against Boris Gelfand, he was a heavy favorite to win. But, to the surprise of many worldwide, the match was a very tough fight. On paper, the world champion was a clear favorite against the challenger; his Elo rating (2791) was much higher than Gelfand’s (2727) and he had not lost to Gelfand since 1993.
But this was deceptive. Boris Gelfand had prepared very well for the match and put all his energy into it. He had prepared many opening surprises especially for this match. This must have been a tremendous amount of work. But Gelfand and his team were up to the task. On the other hand, most of the preparation by the world champion and his trusted team of seconds, Peter Heine Nielsen, Rustam Kasimdzhanov, Surya Ganguly and Radek Wojtaszek, remained hidden, as Gelfand did not give Anand the opportunity to use it.
The result was no-holds-bar bout between the world champion and his determined challenger. After the first twelve games, played at classical (i.e., slow) time controls, the players were deadlocked. It was not until the rapid-play tie-breakers that Anand finally squeaked by.
International grandmaster Karsten Müller, author of many popular chess books, including an eBook on the world championship match between Vladimir Kramnik and Garry Kasparov, has put together an excellent account of the Gelfand-Anand match, with all the games deeply annotated, an historical perspective and a Foreword by none other than the world champion himself.