Gelfand at a 2006 tournament
|Full name||Boris Abramovich Gelfand|
24 June 1968 |
Minsk, Belarussian SSR, Soviet Union
|FIDE rating||2755 (June 2013)
(No. 18 in the April 2013 FIDE World Rankings)
|Peak rating||2761 (January 2010)|
Boris Abramovich Gelfand[nb 1] (born 24 June 1968) is an Israeli chess Grandmaster. He won the 2011 Candidates Tournament and faced World Champion Viswanathan Anand for the World Chess Championship 2012. Although the match was level at 6–6, Gelfand lost in the rapid tie break games.
Boris Gelfand was born in Minsk, Belarussian SSR, on 24 June 1968. His parents, Abram and Nella, were engineers. His father bought him a book about chess, Journey to the Chess Kingdom, by Averbakh and Beilin, when he was four years old. In 1980–83, he attended the Tigran Petrosian School, where he met the former world champion in person and received advice that impacted on his life as a chess player: "I remember Petrosian saying to me that I shouldn’t make a single move without having an idea: 'Even when you’re playing blitz, always think!'"
Gelfand was Junior Champion of the Soviet Union at 17, and European Junior Champion two years later. In 1988 he tied for first in the World Junior Championship, the title, however, going to Joël Lautier.[why?] The next year he earned the GM title. He has won about 30 tournaments in his professional career, including tournaments at Wijk aan Zee (1992) and first places in Biel (1993), Dos Hermanas (1994), Belgrade (1995), Tilburg (1996), Malmö (1999), and Pamplona (2004).
Early World Championship results
Gelfand has qualified several times for Candidates Tournaments for the World Chess Championship. In the World Chess Championship 1993, he qualified for the Candidates via the Interzonal. He won his first Candidates match, but was knocked out in the second (quarter-final) round by Nigel Short. In the FIDE World Chess Championship 1996 he won the Interzonal, then won his first two Candidates matches, before being eliminated in the semi-final by Anatoly Karpov. He had numerous strong results in the knockout tournaments for the FIDE World Chess Championships 1998–2004, with his best result being a semi-finalist in 1997. He played in the 8-player 2002 Dortmund Tournament, which was the Candidates for the Classical World Chess Championship 2004, but failed to reach the semi-finals.
2007 World Championship
Gelfand finished in the top 10 in the 2005 FIDE World Cup, which qualified him for the Candidates for the World Chess Championship 2007. He won his Candidates matches against Rustam Kasimdzhanov (in rapid tie-breaks) and Gata Kamsky (+2−0=3), to qualify for the championship tournament in September 2007. Gelfand was not one of the favourites for the World Chess Championship 2007, but he surprised most observers by finishing joint second with reigning World Champion Vladimir Kramnik (third after tie breaks); the World Championship was won by Viswanathan Anand.
2012 World Championship
In the Chess World Cup 2009, Boris was the top seed, and defeated Judit Polgár, reigning World Junior Champion Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Dmitry Jakovenko, and Sergey Karjakin to reach the final. He then faced former FIDE World Champion Ruslan Ponomariov for the championship, and won the match 7–5 in a playoff. By winning the Chess World Cup 2009, Gelfand qualified for the World Chess Championship 2012 Candidates Tournament.
In May 2011, Gelfand participated in the World Chess Championship 2012 Candidates tournament in Kazan, Russia where he was seeded fourth. In the quarterfinals, he won a complex struggle on the black side of the Najdorf Defense in game three to defeat Shakhriyar Mamedyarov 2½–1½ and advance to the semifinals, where he faced American Gata Kamsky. After splitting the first four games 2–2, Kamsky won game three in the rapid playoff to go ahead 2–1, forcing Gelfand to win with black in the final rapid game in order to avoid elimination. Gelfand was up to the task, and then won the blitz playoff 2–0 to advance to the final. In the final, he faced Alexander Grischuk. After drawing the first five games, Gelfand won the sixth and final game on the white side of a Gruenfeld Defence to win the match and the tournament 3½–2½.
As winner of the Candidates Tournament, Gelfand faced Anand for the 2012 World Championship. His victory in game seven gave him the lead in the match, only to lose the lead in game 8 in a 17-move miniature. The match after its conclusion was level at 6 points each, but Anand won the rapid playoff 2½–1½ to maintain the title.
Notable tournament victories
- European Youth Championship, 1989
- Majorca (GMA), 1989
- Moscow, 1992
- Manila, 1993
- Chalkidiki, 1993
- Dos Hermanas, 1994
- Debrecen, 1995
- Vienna, 1996
- Tilburg, 1996
- Polanica Zdroj, 1998
- Polanica Zdroj, 2000
- Cannes, 2002
- Pamplona, 2004
- Biel, 2005
- ACP World Rapid Cup, 2009
- Chess World Cup, 2009
- Candidates Tournament, 2011
- In 1990, he won the team gold medal playing board two for the Soviet Union.
- In 2008, he won the team silver medal, and also an individual silver medal, playing board one for Israel.
- In 2010, he won the team bronze medal playing board one for Israel.
|This section uses algebraic notation to describe chess moves.|
Gelfand is notable as a 1.d4 opener as White, and as a specialist in the Najdorf Sicilian, Petroff Defence, Slav Defense, and King's Indian Defence as Black. He is noted for his strong positional awareness and low proneness to mistakes.
- Shvidler, Eli. (2 April 2008) Israeli grandmaster Gelfand loses World Chess Championship. Haaretz.com. Retrieved on 2012-05-31.
- World Chess Championship Match. Moscow2012.fide.com. Retrieved on 2012-05-31.
- Wife backs Boris Gelfand to win against Anand. Indianexpress.com (22 May 2012). Retrieved on 2012-05-31.
- "34th USSR Junior Chess Championship, Yurmala January 1985". RusBase. Retrieved 31 July 2009.
- World Chess Cup Final: Boris Gelfand is King. Philboxing.com (15 December 2009). Retrieved on 2012-05-31.
- Official FIDE World Championship 2012 Site
- "Tournament standings". FIDE. Retrieved 6 April 2013.
- "Aronian and Gelfand win Alekhine Memorial 2013". ChessBase News. 1 May 2013. Retrieved 2 May 2013.
- Loeb McClain, Dylan (27 May 2000). "Displaying Steadier Nerves, Gelfand Captures World Rapid Cup". New York Times. Retrieved 27 May 2009.
- Israel's Gelfand wins Chess World Cup, 31 December 2009, in Israel 21c A Focus Beyond Retrieved 2010-01-01
- Bartelski, Wojciech. "Men's Chess Olympiads:Boris Gelfand". OlimpBase. Retrieved 27 March 2011.
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