In December, the 41-year-old grandmaster, who was reportedly confident of his victory throughout, beat the Ukraine’s 28-year-old Ruslan Ponomariov in the final.
It was a 12-match duel, in which Gelfand beat his rival in four matches. Ponomariov won two matches, and four matches ended in a draw, making the end score 7:5 for Gelfand. The competition was held in the Russian city of Khanty Mansiysk.
Born in Minsk, Belarus, Gelfand, started playing chess at the age of five and won the USSR’s youth chess championship at the age of 17 and the European youth chess championship two years later.
Gelfand is currently ranked sixth in the world, and has won more than 30 major championships. He holds the title “International Grandmaster” and has represented three different countries at the Chess Olympiad: The USSR, Belarus and Israel.
Gelfand lives south of Tel Aviv in Rishon Lezion with his journalist wife Maya and their daughter.