Traps, Tricks & Mistakes: Double Blunder

In this series, we have seen many examples of mistakes and blunders.

Dramatic blunders leading to losing the crucial game in a World Chess Match, as happened to Chigorin in his rematch against Steinitz, 1892.

Blunders when one player forgets a basic rule of pawn endings, as happened to Alireza Firouzja in one of his games against Carlsen.

But the most unusual is that in a World Chess Match, both players make mistakes in the same turn of play.

The World Chess Match played in Sochi (Russia), 2014 between Magnus Carlsen and Vishi Anand is remembered for that rare situation.

The diagram below shows the position after Carlsen’s 23rd move playing one of his rooks to g4. It was round 6 and the score at that moment was 2,5 – 2,5. Carlsen was trying to put pressure on Anand’s position and found a way to set his rooks in front of the pawn chain but Anand found a convenient defense. For a moment it seemed that the game would finish in a draw because both players repeated moves.

Carlsen struggled to find the most active plan and decided to support his rook with the bishop from d1. Nevertheless, in his next turn he changed his mind and moved the bishop back. Then he decided to transfer his king to the kingside but he chose the wrong square! Carlsen spent 62 seconds in his 26.Kd2?? move and 60 seconds later Anand responded with 26…a4?? without seeing the tactical motif 26…Nxe5, which would have given him one extra pawn.

At the press conference after the game, both players explained what were they thinking and feeling about this “double blunder”.

Carlsen confirmed that he saw his blunder immediately after he played his king.

A very upset Anand explained: “The thing is, when you’re not expecting a gift, sometimes you just don’t take it. I had the same problem, as soon as I played 26…a4 I saw it. Because I was looking for this …a5, …a4 counterplay, I thought it would be helpful do this and I was just very focused on that”

Describing his feelings of that moment, Carlsen said: “It’s just a feeling of complete panic. Sometimes you’re very, very lucky and you get away with it… As Vishy said, the position is sort of stably better for White and you don’t expect such things to happen”

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