WCC2014-6: Knightmare loss for Anand!

“Sometimes you’re very, very lucky.”
~Magnus Carlsen

The chess world is still buzzing on social media about today’s game in which blunders were traded. After having played a rather unambitious version of the Kan Sicilian, Viswanathan Anand allowed Magnus Carlsen to create pressure on the kingside and tried to solve his problems tactically. While white had the advantage, it appeared that black would be able to mount adequate counterplay. Then the unthinkable happened… the move that sent tremors around the chess world… 26.Kd2?? was played!!

26.Kd2?? will now become an infamous footnote in history.

“Video of “Double Blunder”

You can clearly see Carlsen pause to write move after making it. Then when Anand played 26…a4, he put his head down in disgust… twice!

No… it wasn’t a transmission error and 26.Kd2?? was on the board. Anand took little time to play 26…a4?? to a sigh of relief of Carlsen fans… and of course Carlsen himself. Why? Because Anand had missed a rare opportunity at this level to win a game for free with 26…Nxe5! netting material after 27.Rxg8 Nxc4+ 28.Kd3 (28.Ke2 Rxg8 with the advantage) 28…Nb2+, recapturing the rook and then hitting g2. Whenever a player (at any level) realizes such a missed opportunity it is hard to keep composure in the game at hand. Anand must’ve been rattled and begin to go downhill quickly.

An exasperated Anand failed to regain composure. Photo capture from chess24.com.

There is no way to explain the double-blindness that occurred other than the human element of fear, nervousness and tension accented by adrenalin infusion. One can have a blind spot in any given game, but it rarely happens at world championship level. Carlsen, who looked a bit disturbed at the beginning of the press conference, could not explain his error, but mentioned that he saw his blunder immediately after completing the move. “That’s always the way it is,” he stated. In his immense respect for Anand, he restrained his glee until the end and finally broke a smile.

Anand was visibly shellshocked but could only offer that “when you’re not expecting a gift, sometimes you don’t take it.” True enough, but this was no ordinary gift. He offered that he was fixated on the …a5-a4-a3 idea during the game. Due to the egregious nature of the errors, the press conference focused on the Kd2 blunder with several permutations of the same question. Anand handled the situation quite admirably. Press Officer Anastasia Kharlovich had to finally tell the journalists to move on to other questions besides “Kd2”. Of course, there would be one more after that.

“When you’re not expecting a gift, sometimes you don’t take it.”
~Viswanathan Anand

This has to be a setback for Anand since there is no amount of preparation that can correct this. Of course, Anand could have played a more ambitious line of the Sicilian, but he will have to face white again after the rest day. Anand has come back many times in his career including in this very match where he matched Carlsen’s win with one of his own… in brilliant fashion. He and his team will have to find the chink in Thor’s armour… a suit that does not seem impenetrable.

Video by GM Daniel King.


  1. Carlsen was 100% on point when he said; you have to be alert all the time. Anand’s excuse for missing night take e5 is unacceptable.

    1. True. Carlsen’s Kd2 was unacceptable as well. You certainly have to punish those errors since they are so rare and the stakes are so high. I do believe that Anand will get another chance.

  2. Certainly, Anand will have other chances to even the score, but he will have put the round 6 loss behind him and approach round 7 with a clear mind. That’s easy to say but difficult to do. I worry when I hear Magnus say, “I feel relieved” that could be a hint that he’s prepared to shift gear.

    1. Someone posted somewhere that there will be other chances since Carlsen doesn’t seem to be in top form. This may be the wakeup call he needs to get back into form. His play has not been stellar the past six months. Anand, on the other hand, has nothing to lose.

  3. Magnus seems to be doing quite well even if he’s not in top form. Anand cannot count his chances on how Magnus is performing. He must, as said by Magnus, “Be alert at all time” and play good chess.

  4. I like Anand and if by chance he checks out the comments here on TheChessDrum, I’d like to offer him this advice. Don’t play safe from this point on, keep playing sharp openings and don’t overthink. If you get an unsuspected gift, unwrap it before you decide it’s fake; remember we’re approaching the holiday seasons, so be attentive, as Magnus could be in a philanthropic mood.

  5. Daaim, I agree. When you look back last year, even though Anand lost he felt inspired and motivated to come back stronger. Since last year he has played stronger but the question remained in his mind “can I beat Magnus”. After game 6 lost he has the answer and I believe he should be stronger for it! As for Carlsen I think he might be demoralized since he knows his blunder should have cost him a point and thus, capable of being beat. But let’s stop guessing and enjoy the final rounds. I will!

  6. It turned out that it was holdable, but I thought Magnus would find a way to break through. Of course, he’s reviewing each game after school.

  7. Perhaps the biggest advantage that cold computers have over humans…Even if a computer somehow manages to make or miss an epic blunder, it will still finish the game unimpeded. After Kd2, Carlsen wouldve lost that game to relatively low level software. It’s amazing that humans were still beating the top computers as recently as the early 2000s.

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