When under threat a king builds a fortress to dispel the enemy forces. On Wednesday, Viswanathan Anand, the reigning king of world chess, constructed an impregnable fortress on the board to ward off everything his challenger Boris Gelfand threw at him in the ninth game of the World Chess Championship match in Moscow.
The Indian Grandmaster came off worse in the opening but fought back brilliantly to steer the game to a fighting draw.
If in the eighth game, Anand had demonstrated his tactical ability in stitching a comeback win, on Wednesday he put to use his defensive skills and battled dourly to force a draw after 49 moves in what was the most engrossing battle of this 12-game match thus far.Honours are even after nine game with the two players tied with 4.5 points each.
Anand will have white pieces in Thursday's 10th game and will get another chance to pressurise Gelfand.
Having fought back in the eighth game with a superb win, Anand, hoping to gain more psychological advantage, shunned the Slav Defence he played with white pieces thus far and surprised everyone by opting for Nimzo Indian Defence.
Gelfand had lost the eighth game rather badly but did not show any mental scars.
Despite Anand introducing a new move on the 16th turn, Gelfand came out with a slight edge from the opening.
"I missed something in the opening. Normally speaking I was much worse after the opening and had to plan very carefully," Anand said after the match.
The Indian maestro simplified the position by giving up his queen for a rook, knight and a pawn.
As they reached the endgame, Anand had a rook, knight and five pawns as against Gelfand's queen and four pawns.
As Gelfand tried hard to capitalise on his advantage, Anand built a fortress for his king, which the Israeli found difficult to penetrate.
The players crossed the 40-move mark for first time in this match as Gelfand tried all available avenues for victory.
Anand appeared calm and confident and his body language communicated that he had worked out the draw with a position in mind and it was just a matter of checking and rechecking on the board.
Gelfand on the other stayed hunched on the board after completing the 40 moves and tried hard to find a winning continuation. However, Anand's king, knight and rook stayed connected and Gelfand's queen could not battle alone and the Israeli extended his hand for a draw on the 49th move.