Friday, May 11, 2012

A Truly Historical Moment

Final position, Game 1, Anand-Gelfand: After 24. ...Bf5 0.5-0.5 

Today, for the first time, an Israeli -- Boris Gelfand -- is playing for the world chess championship against the holder, Viswanathan Anand. As both players are, simply put, gentlemen (in the best sense of the word), it is not likely that any shenanigans or walkouts will occur, no matter what the score. The game is very widely published, of course (official site is here) and was a draw in 24 moves, although by no means a "grandmaster's draw", according to the commentators.

The prize fund, at 2.55 million dollars, is quite respectable. For comparison, when Fischer won the world championship in 1972 he received $250,000 -- by the largest prize at the time. Spassky got about $1400 when he won the title (from Petrosian) in 1969.

Israel Hayom, a popular Israeli daily, had a two-page article about the subject, noting that -- as usual -- chess is underfunded, seen essentially as a charity, with little corporate interest, as Moshe Slav, the head of the Israeli Chess Federation, says. Let us hope this duel changes things, whatever the result.

"Two kings, one board" -- the headline in Israel Hayom's weekend magazine, 11.5.2012, p. 22. 

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