India's world chess champion Viswanathan Anand on Wednesday retained his title by defeating Israeli challenger Boris Gelfand in a thrilling speed chess decider at the end of their match in Moscow. Of the 12 games held between the two in the past two weeks, 10 ended with a draw.
Anand won game two of their four speed chess games (25 minutes to each player) on Wednesday with the other three games ending in draws to win the tie-break, which was forced after their 12-game Moscow series of regular matches ended all square.
Anand was crowned champion in 2007 and retained his title in 2010 when he defeated Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria.
Gelfand and Anand in Moscow (Photo: Chess World Championship official website)
Gelfand is ranked 20th in the world and was considered an obvious underdog in this year's world championship, but he managed to hold his own opposite the reigning champion.
"It's always nice when people in your country support you, but what's important is to keep up the momentum and that chess earns a higher status in (our) society," Gelfand said after the loss, adding that "for years, chess has been a 'step-child' in Israel."
PM Netanyahu watches match (Photo: Amos Ben Gershom, GPO)
"Boris feels very strong after managing to get out of the rough spot yesterday," said Moshe Shalev, chairman of the Israeli Chess Association, prior to the tie-breaker. "The fact that Boris had tied with Anand who is considered unbeatable gives him strength and a feeling that he can do it."
He further added, "We're all very excited. Many Israelis have come here especially to watch Boris."