Two more draws left the world chess championship match deadlocked 3-3 after six games. Neither the defending champion Viswanathan Anand, nor challenger Boris Gelfand, have looked to be in serious trouble. Anand has shown the wider repertoire. Gelfand has displayed an impressive depth of preparation in the lines he's played.
The tension will mount as the match enters the second half. Both players now have a sense of the opponent's strategy. If either lands the equivalent of one big punch, it could settle the issue. Neither has taken much risks so far but they will both have sharp lines tucked away for contingencies.
It could be a question of nerves if it's deadlocked going into the last two games. Anand may hold a slight advantage since he plays white in Game 12. If it does go into a tie-breaker, again Anand has a superior head-to-head record in rapid play.
Game five saw Anand switching to the King's pawn with 1.e4. Gelfand produced a surprise by playing a Sveshnikov Variation Sicilian, which is not in his normal repertoire. Anand was undoubtedly taken aback but opted for a steady mainline strategy. The game burnt out with a series of exchanges.
In game six, Anand produced the surprises. After repeating the Semi-Slav Defence for the third time, he played a sharp line on move 6. A new pawn sacrifice on move 14 invited Gelfand into complications. But it wasn't enough to cause imbalance when the challenger played safe. Again, the game meandered through a sequence of exchanges, ending in a peace treaty.
The Diagram, BLACK TO PLAY, (Gelfand Vs Anand, Game 6, World Chps 2012) features a neat pawn sacrifice. White has pressure on d5. Instead of defending it, black played the novelty 14. – 0–0! 15.Nxd5 Bxd5 16.Bxd5 Nxd5 17.Rxd5 Rac8. White can keep the pawn. But black has pressure after 18.Qe2 Qe4 19.Rd1 Be7 20.f3 Qc2 21.Rd2 Qc5 or 18.Qd3 Rfd8 19.g3 Bb6 20.Rxd8+ Rxd8 21.Qc2 Qb4.
Gelfand declined the gift with 18.Bd2 Bxe3 19.Bc3 Bb6 20.Qf5 Qe6 21.Qf3 f6 22.h4 Qc6 23.h5 Rfd8 24.Rxd8+ Rxd8 25.Qxc6 bxc6 26.Re1 Kf7 27.g4 Bd4 28.Rc1 Bxc3 29.Rxc3 Rd4 (½–½).
Devangshu Datta: is an internationally rated chess and correspondence chess player