After the sharp lines and intense manoeuvring of game three,Boris Gelfand and Viswanathan Anand settled for a more or less routine draw in game four of the World Chess Championship. Neither player has managed to break through for the win so far as the score remained tied 2-2 ahead of the rest day on Wednesday.
The Israeli,playing white,opted to push his queen pawn forward,in what is becoming the opening of choice so far this match.
All four games have seen players open with d4,and on Tuesday defending champion Anand responded with the Slav defense,like he did with black on game two.
Unlike game three where Anand departed from the book as early as in the third move,the players stuck to expected lines for much of the opening.
By the time Anand played 18. Re8,the position had more or less reached neutrality as it set up a clearance of pieces at the center that eventually left both players with no obvious line of attack or points of weakness.
Once the exchange of most major pieces transpired by move 28,a rook,minor piece and pawn ending transpired and again,the position was stable for both sides.
While Anand had a knight,Gelfand was left with a light-coloured bishop. This development in the end game is seen to be slightly favouring the latter,with the bishop better able to guide and defend pawns on either flank than a knight with its limited reach. However,it was not an advantage that was significant and Anand was able to defend comfortably.
It was a surprise that the players continued beyond the exchanges,as almost all engines seemed to agree that the result by then was a dead draw.
While Anand having enough time on his clock to think up a defense,it looked like Gelfand might struggle a touch to reach the first time control at the end of move 40 he had roughly 3-4 mins per move for his last 10 moves. But with the board not populated,it would not have proved to be a difficult proposition had the game lasted that long.
In the event,the players signed truce after 34 moves.
Series of draws
The series of draws may not come as a surprise,given the track record of the players,with just one decisive result in more than 20 games,but it is in stark contrast to what happened in the previous championship final in 2010. Against Veselin Topalov,an aggressive player who is known to opt for open positions and dangerous variations,Anand had played out three decisive games of the first four they played. Topalov had started with a win,but Anand had stormed back with two wins and was leading by a point by the end of the fourth game two years back.