Sochi: Playing in the new role of a challenger, five times world champion Viswanathan Anand is sitting pretty ahead of the fifth game of the World Chess Championship against Magnus Carlsen. (Fourth Game Drawn)
With one victory, one loss and two draws, the match is currently tied 2-2, but a big trend seem to be favouring Anand compared to the last match at Chennai, which the Indian had lost badly last year.
At Chennai, too, the scores were tied after four games but the big difference was that Carlsen had started to trouble Anand and the discomfiture for the Indian was evident as he lost game five and six, which effectively sealed the match in Carlsen favour.
This time around, it's almost the opposite. It was a tentative start for Anand in the first game, in which he got the complexities on the board but misplayed and suffered a bit before drawing the game.
In the second game things turned for the worst for Anand, as yet again Carlsen established a position to his liking and outplayed him in all departments of the game to go one up in the match.
As per the match schedule there is a rest day after every two games and that break changed things completely for Anand.
Contrary to popular belief, the Indian bounced back in style, showcasing deep preparation and caught Carlsen in a long analysed variation after which there was no reprieve for the Norwegian.
The scores were then levelled and in the fourth game Carlsen, despite getting that nagging advantage he is famous for, could do very little, even as Anand matched him move for move to force a draw.
Now in the fifth game scheduled for Friday, Anand will again play with white pieces and is likely to push for victory yet again.
Carlsen, meanwhile, looked a bit demoralised at the fourth game press conference, even though he put up a brave front.
With just eight games to go, the pundits are not ruling out a tied result and a subsequent tiebreaker, which will happen if the scores are level after 12 games in this million Euros match.
While Anand will definitely try to catch Carlsen in another preparation, the Norwegian will definitely tend to avoid it.
The success for Anand will mostly depend on a successful opening by him.
At the moment, the trend might be in favour of the Indian but Carlsen still stays the favourite to retain the crown, according to many regarded players.