In the sixth game of the World Chess Championship Viswanathan Anand playing with black pieces lost to Magnus Carlsen.
Move 26, which will go down in the history books, as one of the most shocking set of moves played in a top level game, saw Carlsen blunder and Vishy blunder back which changed the course of the game.
Initially, game 6 saw a flurry of moves from both players. There were no surprises in the opening. Anand went for the famous Sicilian defence again which he chose last time when played black, thus encouraging active play.
The game was fast-paced with both the players taking less than fifteen minutes for the first 12 moves. Carlsen went for a queen trade-off in the ninth move.
Susan Polgar, famous chess commentator, tweeted, "Qxd8 Kxd8 Queens already off the board. Basically white has very little initiatives in this line. Slow squeeze coming."
After 12 moves, white had two bishops intact but also had two pawns lined up in the 'c' file and Black's positon was cramped and also caslting was no more an option.
When Carlsen started marching his 'H' pawn into opposition camp to start squeezing Anand for space, he responded with 'H6'. Which was not appreciated by many chess experts.
The commentators immediately shot-off, "Not a very good move by Vishy. His 'G' pawn may come under threat later."
Polgar tweeted, "H6 - I am not a fan of this move. g7 pawn can be a target for Magnus later. Black is still ok but Magnus has room to squeeze". She continued, "to defend g7, Anand will swing the other Rook to g8, and not the h Rook as white has Bd3 - Bh7."
As expected, Magnus started attacking the 'G7' pawn.
Chess Grandmaster Teymur Rajabov tweeted, "Terrible choice by Anand today. Just worse, being worse on Saturday all day long is unpleasant,bad week-end choice."
Chess commentator Nigel Short was not happy with Anand's choices today, "Actually I don't like the Black position at all. I guess Black needs Nf8 and g5 as a defence, but there are tactical problems there too."
World No 2 Fabiano Caruana tweeted, "Passive and unpleasant position for Anand - something went very wrong. Now we can settle down for a long grind."
To sum it up, it was a very bad position for Anand. Against a player like Magnus who is looking for even a smallest lee-way to pounce, this was a setback.
Slowly Anand started to make amendments with some quiet moves like putting his bishop in a better square, and pushing his queen side pawns up the board to create some sort of pressure in case Carlsen fails to make any inroads.
A blunder and a counter-blunder
Probably 'move 26' will go down in chess history as one of the most shocking moments witnessed in a top level game. In what can be described as a 'monumental blunder' Carlsen moved king to d2.
If Anand had waited and weighed his options even for a minute he would have went with 26... Nxe5 27. Rxg8 Nxc4+ 28. Kd3 Nb2+ 29. Ke2 Rxg8 30. Rxh6. This line of play would have dramatically changed the game.
Instead of capturing Magnus' 'E5' pawn, Anand replied with 'A4' in less than 12 seconds without much thinking. It proved to be a 'monumental counter-blunder'.
Here is the video of the moment
As it can be seen clearly, Magnus realised his mistake when he started noting down his move. He stops writing for some time when his blunder soaked in! Even though Vishy took some time to think, he went ahead with blundered back, followed by Magnus putting his head down in total disbelief at his luck.
The entire chess world erupted at once. Most of them were at a loss of words to describe what they had just witnessed. Chess Grand Master Nakamura thought it was a 'transmission error'.
Polgar tweeted, "Still stunned about what happened! It is not so often in this level for 2 top players to blunder back to back. This was the gift of the match for Anand and he did not see it. What a bad time for Anand to play instantly after Kd2!"
Nigel Short gave a criket analogy to describe the blunder, "Magnus got away with a huge error. Almost as bad as dropping Rohit Sharma when he was on 4 runs"
Russian Chess Grand Master Kramink who was commentating was asked how would one recover from such an oversight, he replied, "My experience is that you don't recover."
That is what exactly happened to Anand. After the blunder he never recovered and it will also have a scarring effect in the games to follow. Anand's mistake will haunt him for a very long time.
There was noting much left to play for. White started gobbling up Anand's pawns, and Anand never had a chance to recover back.
When Magnus was asked about the blunder he said, "Immediately after I made my move, I realised. I'm extremely lucky."
Magnus added, "Anand didn't expect it to happen. So I escaped. I'm massively relived."
When Anand was asked the same, "When you are not expecting a gift, sometimes you won't take it. I realised after playing too. It was a terrible game."
Here is the video of the press conference
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