All that momentum gained by wonderful performances in Games 3 and 4 have evaporated rather quickly for Viswanathan Anand and the Indian chess legend now somehow needs to find a way out of the corner he finds himself in and take the game to Magnus Carlsen when the World Chess Championship battle resumes with Game 9 in Sochi.
Anand is trailing by a point to Carlsen heading into this crucial Game 9, where he will play with the back pieces. The former world champion failed to take advantage of playing with the white in Game 8, with Carlsen, courtesy fast moves, holding the Indian to a draw rather comfortably.
That draw came after a long-drawn 122-move tie in Game 7, and Anand will wonder if another draw will be enough to keep himself in this World Chess Championship rematch.
Carlsen, even if not as ruthless as in the World Chess Championship last year, has found his groove again and will be in confident mood going into Game 9, where he will have the advantage of playing with the white pieces.
While a draw in Game 9 of this best of 12 match will not be the end of the world for Anand, time is certainly ripe for the 44-year-old to take some risks, put Carlsen off his comfort zone and maybe even pull out a now-that-was-not-expected victory with the black pieces.
Anand, though, did not sound too confident of coming away with anything other than a draw in Game 9, instead stressing on the fact that he still had two games to go with the white.
"I didn't get much from this one, but there are still two games with white pieces," said the Indian Grand Master after Game 8 on Tuesday.
For Anand to come out on top in Game 9 or the subsequent games, though, he will have to figure out a way to stop Carlsen from going on that early blitz, where he takes little time and makes quickfire moves, moves that, to his immense credit, put him in a strong situation.
After the innovative ideas of Game 3 and, to a certain extent, the next two games, Anand has been trumped in those stakes by Carlsen, and the onus is now firmly on the challenger for the World Chess Championship title to reverse that trend, and show exactly why he is known as the "Tiger" in chess circles.
Where to Watch Live
Magnus Carlsen vs Viswanathan Anand Game 9 of the World Chess Championship in Sochi is set for a 3 pm local time (5.30 pm IST, 1 pm CET) start. There will be, unfortunately, no live coverage on TV in India, but Game 9 can be watched via live streaming online for free on FIDE Live Video or with Analysis and Live Video.