As most of you already know, Anand has retained his world champion title. Gelfand put up a heck of a fight but in the end, Anand got him. The question isn’t who the champ is, the question is whether or not how he got there is even ethical, chess-speaking.
The world championship changed a bit this year, and the winner was to be determined via rapid chess in the event of a tie, which there was. I don’t believe, personally, that rapid chess has any place in the world championship.
Anand is clearly stronger in rapid stuff than Gelfand, and both players knew this. Therefore, all Anand had to do was draw the match for a guaranteed win, because there was no doubt he’d be the victor in rapid play.
Does that mean he’s stronger? I don’t know. Maybe. What I do know is that it likely stole from his fighting spirit in the long-chess games; what is he to risk fighting for, when the win is handed to him in the rapids? Nobody in their right mind would do that.
The “first player to six wins” type matches are inherently a bit flawed, because they can go on and on and on, but in my eyes they are more fair, more *right*, than deciding who gets such a prestigious title via blitz games. To me, that makes Anand the world’s rapid champion, not the world’s chess champion.
Who knows who would have taken the match had they continued in classical time controls? I believe both players had strong chances and, if Anand really is the stronger player, he would have eventually come out on top, anyhow.
But jeez, give Gelfand a chance!
Rapid chess is a completely different animal than long chess. Yes, the rules of chess are the same, but the game is cheapened quite a bit by limiting the scope of thinking time. We all saw what happened to Kimbo Slice, a backyard boxer, when he tried mixed martial arts: he got has butt kicked.
In this chess scenario, Anand would be the mixed martial artist because he’s good at both long and short time controls, and poor Gelfand is the backyard boxer. He’s tough, but he is limited in the arena of rapid chess, so he’s going to lose the match.
Understandably, the world champion should be good at both, I suppose, and Gelfand is extremely strong at rapid – just not as strong as Anand.
But does it even matter?
I’m not convinced it does. With over a million dollars at stake per player, let these guys hash it out until a true victor emerges. Those two weren’t playing a tournament in hopes of winning a couple hundred bucks by taking their section; they were fighting for the *world championship*, and as such, I believe they should have had to play accordingly.