The opening was a major surprise for Anand in the opinion of many experts as Gelfand went for the Grunfeld defense, something he has not been playing. The choice by Gelfand gave Anand some jitters even as the world champion took him in to unknown territories right from the beginning. If Gelfand thought he was doing right, Anand took him to the edge to his credit. It was a completely new position on board soon after the opening.
Anand had extra time but Gelfand had worked out the best moves that an engineer of a chess moves will be proud of with black pieces. The Israeli gives the impression that he is heavily built with a staunch tummy but all through the game he was seen walking after making his moves.
"Anand looked very tense at the inauguration," summed up Nigel Short who commented on the first game of the match. Short said that Gelfand had the edge through the course of the game after he got through of the opening. For Anand, things did not work in the first game.
The Indian ace forgot his preparation and lost to Topalov in the last world championship match and after move 15 against Gelfand many wondered if it was going to be a similar case. Anand though had other thoughts as he worked on his counter plan easily. It was never worse for him really and in fact just a matter of finding the right moves which the world champion is expected to do.