The two chess stars vying for the world title ground out another draw on Tuesday, the fourth such result in as many matches and leaving the series all square one-third of the way through.
India's title-holder Viswanathan Anand and Boris Gelfand of Israel agreed to a draw after a tough game at Moscow's Tretyakov Gallery, which is hosting the 12-game series, leaving the match level at two points apiece.
Gelfand, playing white, sought to test out Anand's defences with a long endgame but the Indian showed no weaknesses to make a draw inevitable after 34 moves. The players reached a rook and minor piece ending with identical pawns.
Both players conceded afterwards that the series was only just getting underway as they fence around for opportunities with the full knowledge that one mistake could cost the championship.
"We are still probing," Anand told reporters afterwards. "It's a pretty tough match."
The Minsk-born Gelfand, known for his robust matchplay skills, added: "I take each game as it comes. You should be ready for anything."
Anand opted for the Slav defence and the game was a positional one where Gelfand could hardly get the initiative despite pressing. When quizzed at the press conference on whether he had an edge because of the presence of the bishop pair, Gelfand responded, "Optically White was better but the pieces lacked co-ordination". After 34 moves, the players reached a rook and minor piece ending with identical pawns.
The winner is set to pocket $1.5 million, with the loser earning $1 million.