Defending champion Viswanathan Anand could not break the ice and settled for an easy draw as white against Challenger Boris Gelfand in the tenth game of the World Chess Championship in Moscow on Thursday.
Playing his penultimate white game in the 12-games match, Anand did not get the desired advantage he was hoping for even as the position looked favourable for a long time for the Indian.
The scores are now tied 5-5 with just two games to go.
Moving a step away from the usual queen pawn, Anand made sure that the element of surprise remained in the match and went for the king pawn opening for the second time in the match.
While the first king pawn game was a draw in the Sveshnikov Sicilian, Anand this time went for the Rossolimo variation that has a solid positional basis.
Gelfand showed that he was not up to run-of-the-mill stuff himself and went for an uncompromising variation which is not very common at elite levels.
Anand got a minuscule advantage when Gelfand offered to trade the queens early in the opening, taking his fractured pawn structure on the queen side in the stride.
The queens were off the board on move 12 itself along with a pair of minor piece. Anand had the better structure, while Gelfand had the Bishop pair advantage in a semi-open position.
As the game progressed, Gelfand gave a display of his deep understating of the game, warding off white's threats almost nonchalantly with routine but purposeful developing moves.
By move 15, Anand had a rook on the only open file but Gelfand was equal to the task just a couple of moves later.
Anand could not do any damage to black's position despite a dominating knight on the queen side and when he tried to put pressure on the weak black pawn, Gelfand quickly covered it with a knight manoeuvres.
The Israeli parted with his prized light squared Bishop for a knight making his intentions of a draw clear. Anand did not have any chances either and after a couple of more exchanges peace was signed. For the record, the game lasted 25 moves.
After a day's rest now, Anand will be back to defend his title as black in the 11th and penultimate game of the USD 2.55 million championship.
Should the deadlock continue after game 12, tiebreak games of shorter duration will be played to determine the winner.
The moves in game 10:
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 e6 4. Bxc6 bxc6 5. b3 e5 6. Nxe5
Qe7 7. Bb2 d6
8. Nc4 d5 9. Ne3 d4 10. Nc4 Qxe4+ 11. Qe2 Qxe2+ 12. Kxe2 Be6
Nf6 14. Nbd2 O-O-O 15. Rhe1 Be7 16. Kf1 Rhe8 17.Ba3 Nd5 18.
19. Re2 Bxc4 20. bxc4 f5 21. Bxb4 cxb4 22. Nd2 Bd6 23. Rxe8
Rxe8 24. Nb3 c5 25. a3 draw agreed.