The world championship match between champion Viswanathan Anand and challenger Boris Gelfand remained deadlocked after four successive draws. The title and the purse of $2.55 million would be decided in rapid tie-breakers if the scoreline is even after 12 games.
Game three was very exciting. The Indian grandmaster played an unusual line in which his second, Peter Hiene Nielsen, is an expert, when Gelfand repeated the Grunfeld Defence he had tried in Game one. But the challenger was well-prepared and came up with a stunning pawn sacrifice to go onto attack. Both players had to find long sequences of “only moves” to maintain balance. The game ended with Gelfand delivering perpetual check, just as Anand looked to be gaining an edge.
Game four was much more solid in character. Israeli Gelfand avoided complications when Anand repeated the Semi-Slav Defence to the Queen’s Gambit. After a sequence of exchanges, sterile equality developed.
The strategic contours of the match are becoming clear. Gelfand will take risks with black, but play solidly with white. Anand is trying to maintain the balance with black and pushing for an edge with white. Both players have been confident enough to repeat the same openings. As of now, no cracks have shown in their repertoire.
The diagram, WHITE TO PLAY (Anand Vs Gelfand Game 3, World Chps 2012) arose after the Gelfand novelty 16. - e4, opening the long diagonal with threats of sacrifices on c3,b2 like 17. fe4? Rxc3! Anand found the only safe move in 17.Bd4 Na4 18.Nge2 Qa5 19.Nxe4 Qxd2 20.Nxf6+ Rxf6 21.Rxd2 Rf5 22.Bxg7 Kxg7 23.d6 Rfc5. Black's pressure compensates for the pawn but 23...Nb6 24.Nc3 Rd5 is easier to play.
Play continued 24.Rd1 a5 25.Rh4 Rc2 26.b3 Nb2 27.Rb1 Nd3 28.Nd4 Rd2 29.Bxd3 Rxd3 30.Re1 Rd2 31.Kb1 Bf5+ 32.Nxf5+ gxf5 33.Re7+ Kg6 34.Rc7 Re8 35.Rh1 Ree2 36.d7 Rb2+ 37.Kc1 Rxa2. Drawn due to the forced 38.Kd1 Rad2+ 39.Kc1 Ra2= ½–½. White's best chance may be the complex 34.d7 Rcc2 35.Rc4. Sometimes he can reach winning endgames but black has many alternative defences with mating threats.
Devangshu Datta is an internationally rated chess and correspondence chess player