The game began promisingly with a couple of opening surprises. The champion, Viswanathan Anand, pulled his traditional favorite move 1.e4 out of his trusty (or is it rusty) arsenal, prepared to do battle against the Petroff or the Najdorf. Instead, Boris Gelfand offered the second surprise of the match, employing the Sveshnikov Sicilian. When all goes well for Black in that opening, the result is very frequently a position where White has very good control over the light squares, Black enjoys a similar grip on the dark squares, and there's absolutely nothing either player can do to the other.
And that's what happened. Anand didn't put Gelfand's opening to much of a test, and after 27 moves and less than 100 minutes, the players called it a day. To be fair, there wasn't much left to be extracted from the position; that was done by previous decisions. In particular, Anand's 22.Bh3 allowed Gelfand full and easy equality; 22.Qc4 was the most testing try.
The match remains tied at 2.5-2.5, and Gelfand will have two consecutive chances to make something happen with the white pieces. Let's hope that whether he succeeds or not, the players at least push each other to play a full game!
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