|Putin meeting with the players after the match. Image: Reuters. Israel Hayom, 1/6/2012, p. 21|
Well, it's over, and Gelfand lost the match in the play-off to Anand. It is always a problem to decide whether such quick-finish play-offs mean anything, chess-wise. Still, perhaps they are the best of a bad lot: the possibility of an interminable championship until one of the players collapses from exhaustion means even less, chess-wise speaking, and is much more costly and less interesting to the spectators.
Nevertheless, he did far better than most people expected. To the Israeli press' credit, for once there was significant interest in chess, including daily coverage in most newspapers, daily caricatures about the match in most newspapers, and so on. Ronen Dorfman went to Russia as a special correspondent for the daily Israel Hayom, for example. Above is a photo from today's edition of Dorfman's column, where he interviews Gelfand about his ideas of making chess popular, with Putin greeting both players after the match. Let us hope this leads to some higher popularity for the game -- and chess in general -- in Israel.