A truly dramatic round, featuring a “double blunder” by both players. Of all the reports, perhaps Peter Svidler describes it best here. Anand chose to repeat the Sicilian Paulsen that he played in Game 4, although this time Carlsen chose to play the main line. They soon reached a position where the queens had come off – a complex endgame where White (Carlsen) had space and double bishops but a poorer pawn structure (double c pawns), and where Anand was cramped but in a solid position. I thought Black was equal but my Facebook colleagues and friends disagreed. On hindsight, this is not a position to choose to play against Carlsen! And then the blunders occurred:

Carlsen-Anand Game 6, after the fateful 26. Kd2.

Carlsen-Anand Game 6, after the fateful 26. Kd2.

In the above position, Carlsen had just played 26. Kd2??, allowing a simple 2-move sequence by Anand (had he seen it!), starting with 26. … Ne5! wining two pawns. Unfortunately, Anand was deeply engrossed in his own plan for counterplay (or else “believed” his opponent – how could the World Champion miss such a simple tactic?) and played 26. … a4 after a relatively short think – but possibly one of the longest moments of Carlsen’s life.

A short video of the blunders can also be found in this Hindustan Times article. At approximately 0:09 into the video, Carlsen pauses when writing down his move, probably realising his error. At 1:13, Carlsen slumps forward putting his head into his arms, massively relieved that Anand had failed to capitalise on his gift. It is not clear from the video when Anand realised that he had missed the tactic that would have completely turned the game around.

It is hard to recover from a missed opportunity such as this, and Anand lost fairly swiftly afterwards. The key question is whether Anand will bounce back from such a blunder and such a game, but at least today is a rest day. All looks gloomy for the challenger again.

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