Magnus defeated Anand again, but this time with black pieces. Will Anand make a comeback, or is Anand out of luck?
Magnus Carlsen took control of his match against defending champion Viswanathan Anand in Chennai, India when he won the sixth game in 67 moves to move to a 4-2 lead. This loss can only have been extremely painful to Anand because in spite of being clearly short of his best this loss was almost totally unnecessary and at least in part self inflicted.
Anand again played 1.e4 and Carlsen repeated his Berlin Defence from game four. Carlsen repeated the moves from Anand's game against Aronian from Paris earlier in the year. 10.Bg5 was a new, although hardly surprising, novelty that didn't cause Carlsen any problems. After the manoeuvre 13...Nb8 14...Nbd7 similar to that used in the Breyer Defence Carlsen was doing well and Anand didn't seem to know what to do. 21.Bxf6 led to a major piece ending where Carlsen was slightly better. Anand wasn't so much blundering as making slightly under-par decisions. Nevertheless there wasn't so very much for Carlsen to work with. Anand decided to part with a pawn in return for a clarification of the defensive task with 38.Qg3. Carlsen couldn't work out whether it was a blunder or a sacrifice.
Carlsen's 43...Kf7 was an error, missing 44.h5 giving up another pawn but more or less equalising. Carlsen had more or less given up trying to win and only had one idea left to make progress. It was at this point Anand became a bit careless taking only 30 seconds of his 38 minutes left in playing 57.Rg8+ (indeed he almost made this move immediately) when 57.Rc8 would have probably led to a quick draw. Anand clearly missed Carlsen's last winning try with 57...Kf4 and his post-game comments suggest he thought he was lost. It's been my observation that carelessness in technical endings has been seen quite a number of games in Anand's career. Anand thought he was now losing but in fact it was 60.Ra4? that was the decisive error 60.b4 draws. Anand had nearly half an hour left to consider his move but used only 90 seconds.
It was reported during commentary that Anand didn't sleep very much the previous night following his game 5 defeat and this may have had an impact in game 6. This loss was, if anything, worse. Anand will feel that in both games he should have been able to avoid the loss.
Sunday's rest day marks the half way point of the match. Anand starts the second half with the white pieces again. Carlsen leads by 4-2 and requires just 2.5/6 to become the new champion. There are scenarios where Anand could get back into the match but right now Carlsen looks the near certain winner.
There was a press conference right after the game. A clearly upset Anand managed to control himself for the most part and finally snapped at a rather fatuous line of questioning which brought the press conference to a close
Q: (Ole Rolfsrud, NRK TV) I am still wondering if Mr Anand will elaborate by what you mean by doing your best again?
A: (Viswanathan Anand) Doing your best means doing your best. I don't know why you don't understand English.
Game 7 Monday 18th November Anand-Carlsen 3pm Chennai times, 9:30am GMT.
"Today was a heavy blow. I will not pretend otherwise. Nothing to be done. You just go on." - Anand
- Mark Crowther