The fifth game of the world championship ended in a very quick draw. The challenger, Viswanathan Anand appeared to have a significant advantage in the early middle game but Magnus Carlsen found a way to dissolve the tension and head into a drawn endgame. The peace treaty was signed after 39 moves with a flat equal position and very little material left.
Anand opened with the Queens pawn (1.d4) with White and Carlsen responded with a well-known line of the Queen’s Indian Defence. Both players rattled off their moves quickly until around move 16 when Anand took over 20 minutes before he made a critical pawn thrust. Carlsen responded almost instantly and the challenger fell behind in time even though he was playing quickly.
But Anand had a promising position despite being behind in time. On move 20, he offered a sharp pawn sacrifice. Carlsen took the pawn and immediately offered an exchange of queens to simplify the position and return the material . Anand won the pawn back and seemed to have an advantage in an endgame that he described as “pleasant”. Carlsen felt that White was better but black could hold the draw. White had a long-range bishop versus a short-range knight and black also had pawn weaknesses.
However, Carlsen found a tactical idea that eliminated all the pawns on the queenside and also exchanged the Kt and Bishop. After that, the rook endgame was completely drawn. It was slightly disappointing that Anand did not find some method of maintaining pressure.
The match is tied 2.5-2.5. Carlsen will be relieved that he did not have to suffer too long to hold the draw. The world champion holds at least a temporary advantage in the next two games as he plays with the White pieces twice in succession in Game 6 and Game 7 since the colour sequence switches over at the half-way stage.