In the Anand vs Carlsen Match 6, why was move 26 a blunder for both players?

[White "Carlsen"]
[Black "Anand"]
[FEN "6rr/1k3p2/1pb1p1np/p1p1P2R/2P3R1/2P1B3/P1B2PP1/2K5 w - - 0 1"]

1.Kd2? a4?

2 Answers 2


Carlsen's 26.Kd2 is a a blunder because it exposes the White King to a tactic that wins two pawns and gives Black terrific pressure. The tactic is effectively a guarantee of victory for Black:

[FEN "6rr/1k3p2/1pb1p1np/p1p1P2R/2P3R1/2P1B3/P1BK1PP1/8 b - - 0 1"]

1...Nxe5! 2.Rxg8 (2.Rxe5? Rxg4) Nxc4+! {The Knight gets out of danger, with check and an extra pawn--you couldn't ask for anything better!} 3.Kd3 (3.Ke2 Rxg8) Nb2+ 4.Ke2 Rxg8 {Black is now two full pawns ahead, with lots of pressure on the weak g2 pawn and vastly better pawns for the endgame. }

The point is that 2...Nxc4+ wins Black a second free pawn, by virtue of the check against the White King. Without the ability to get the Knight out of danger with check, ...Nxe5 is not possible (because White could then simply trade Rooks and then recapture the Knight with a winning position).

Anand's mistake on his twenty-sixth move was that he missed this tactic, playing 26...a4 very quickly and allowing Carlsen to correct his mistake by moving his King away from d2.

  • 3
    It was an unexpected blunder by Carlsen and thus perhaps an explanation to the blunder by Anand. My guess is that Anand did not calculate 26...Nxe5, since I find it hard to imagine that Anand would miss Nc4-b2+ in that variation. While Carlsen played Kc1-d2 thinking that it was equivalent to Kc1-d1 and ignoring the dynamic aspects of the position.
    – user2001
    Commented Nov 18, 2014 at 20:53

Carlsen's move(26.Kd2) was a blunder because of Anand's practically winning move(26...Nxe5!) which had a discovered attack on the rook on G4(and potential to take on C4). The double blunder occurred when Anand missed this move and played A4 which is a clear blunder when he had another great move available to him.

  • So was Carlsen's blunder that he put his King on a square which could be put under attack from c4 and in the process lose 2 pawns?
    – user4247
    Commented Nov 17, 2014 at 14:26
  • 2
    @user4247 that is correct. Commented Nov 17, 2014 at 16:31

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