- Category : Chess Player
- Type : GE
- Profile : 5/1 - Heretical / Investigator
- Definition : Split - Small (2,5,34,46)
- Incarnation Cross : LAX Prevention 1
Boris Abramovich Gelfand 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!'"
In 1998, Gelfand immigrated to Israel and settled in Rishon LeZion, where he became Israel's top ranking chess player. He is married to Maya.
He is a football fan, and is a member of FC Barcelona (the club doesn't allow to buy shares of the club, but rather membership).
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. 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 Grünfeld 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.
Gelfand played in the 2013 Candidates Tournament, which took place in London, from 15 March to 1 April. He finished fifth, with +2−3=9.
In the 2013 Alekhine Memorial tournament, held from 20 April to 1 May, Gelfand shared first place with Aronian, who edged him out on the second tiebreak (number of wins). He scored +2−0=7.
From June 13 to June 23 Gelfand participated in the Tal Memorial. He finished with +3−0=6, beating Alexander Morozevich, Fabiano Caruana and Hikaru Nakamura, winning the tournament with 6/9, half a point ahead of Magnus Carlsen. He gained 18 rating points and achieved his all-time highest Elo rating of 2773. He continued his good form, sharing first in the final FIDE Grand Prix in Paris alongside Fabiano Caruana. He gained 11.9 rating points and again achieved a record personal rating of 2777. In the Grand Prix cycle he finished fourth with 325 points, behind Caruana in third, Mamedyarov second and Topalov being the winner of the cycle with 410 points.
Gelfand appeared in a total of nine Chess Olympiads, representing the Soviet Union once, Belarus twice, and Israel six times.
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.
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.