After a 2005 Chicago simul. from left: pudgy blogger, Lana Pritzker, Boris Gelfand, Tamara Golovey, Leonid Bondar, nice person whose name I forgot
The word "gangly" was invented to describe Boris Gelfand. He's got a Kurt Rambis vibe, that supporting cast feel that makes you think he's destined for a life as a character actor, never the leading man. But you sleep on him at your peril, as player after player has found out at the World Cup in Khanty-Mansiysk. The Israeli veteran, both the top seed in the event and one of the oldest players in the original field at 41, smoothly disposed of Jakovenko in the rapids, drawing the first with black and then winning two in a row. And he's already halfway to the final match, wasting no time and beating Sergey Karjakin with the black pieces in a sharp attack. Always one of the deepest calculators in the game, Gelfand's preference for slower play, and especially his recent dropping of his Najdorf for the Petroff, make this a welcome reminder of how tactically acute he is.