At the half way point of the match it’s Carlsen leading 3.5 - 2.5. It could so easily have been the other way round. After two draws Carlsen had the white pieces and had managed to secure a small advantage from the opening. Commentators were critical of Anand’s opening play saying it was too passive and let Carlsen get a postion that suited his style of play. It wasn’t lost and could possibly have ended in another draw but at move 26 everything went wrong - for both players. Carlsen played 26. Kd2?? which resulted in the following postion:
This was a blunder - it would have allowed Anand to play 26. .. Nxe5! which would have completely turned the game around. The point is that after Carlsen takes the rook on g8 Anand can play Nxc4+! which would get the knight out of trouble, win a pawn and force the white king to move so black can recapture the rook. It would have won the game.
Incredibly Anand played too quickly and missed the winning move. He played 26. .. a4? which wasn’t good enough. After that Carlsen made sure he made no more mistakes and I think the fight went out of Anand as he lost quickly. Psychologically this must have been devastating.
To make matters worse Carlsen is playing white again today. Anand needs to come out swinging if he’s still going to have a chance in this match. We’ll probably see another Sicilian but, well, I’m kind of hoping that Anand will pull something special out of his hat. He’s done it once before in a world championship match against Garry Kasparov - he played an opening you almost never see at grand master level and managed to get a good position out of it. He lost in the end but not because of the opening. I would love to see him try something like that again. What does he have to lose?
Full commentary on the game here.