We’re going through our series of world chess champions from first to last, but as the current world championship begins this month it’s perhaps a good idea to have a quick peek at what’s going on. The current holder is an Indian national, Vichy Anand who is being challenged by Boris Gelfand.
Vichy is one of only a handful of players to have broken through the 2,800 FIDE rating barrier – and that means he’s seriously good and it’s going to be a tough serious of games if Boris is going to dethrone him.
Boris’s ranking is currently 2,739 and his peak rating was 2,762. However he was more than good enough to win the 2011 candidates matches (these are the qualifiers to gain the right to challenge for the championship). He’s from the USSR (Belarus) which has a great history of chess, and his first book was “Journey to the Chess Kingdom” which he is reputed to have studied at the tender age of 4 and reputed to have played on emerald sets.
His father’s encouragement and tuition were deemed insufficient when he reached 7 and he was taken on by Eduard Zelkind (a famous chess coach). Apparently the coach was uninterested in the protege until he commented on a game that Bronstein had played against a computer – he correctly identified the winning move, and the rest apparently is history. When he turned 12, he would move on to study under Tamara Goleva another well reputed coach who is said to have become a “second mother” to him.
He won his first major victory in 1984 when he won the Belorussian adult championship at the age of 16! He was 20 when he gatecrashed the Top 10 players in the world list
He has taken place in the candidates matches twice before and it’s his first attempt at a world title. He’s an extremely interesting player and there’s a lot of history to go with his chess CV that makes him a crowd pleaser, but whether he has the wherewithal to take the top slot from Vichy won’t be determined for a little while longer.