An odd world championship match just grew odder still. After 19 years without a win in classical chess against Viswanathan Anand, Boris Gelfand's patient, solid strategy paid off in game 7. He won and took the lead over the champion, 4-3, with just five games to go. At this point he could expect Anand to play more aggressively and to start throwing the kitchen sink at him, so it would have made sense to keep solid, weather the storm and maybe even give Anand the chance to overextend.
So what happened? Just the opposite. Perhaps dizzy from success, Gelfand played uncharacteristically risky chess, like a man who had completely lost his sense of danger. The game grew wild in a hurry, and then Gelfand badly miscalculated a short sequence and lost immediately. What's especially odd is that if Gelfand's normal sense of danger had been present, he would have been more suspicious - surely Anand wouldn't overlook something so simple, would he? He didn't.
The game was thus a disaster, but objectively Gelfand is still in reasonable shape in the match. It's tied at 4-4, with four games to go, and he can head into the rest day with the encouraging awareness that he can beat Anand. For Anand, today's game was an obvious positive, so if he can neutralize Gelfand's opening in game 9 he can look forward to the rest of the match with confidence.
My back allowing, subscribers can look forward to my annotations and video and later this evening.