Caution seems to be the guiding principle after two decisive games and a fighting draw. Defending champion Viswanathan Anand and challenger Boris Gelfand opted for a safety-first approach once again and played out an uneventful draw in the 10th game on Thursday as the deadlock continued in their 12-game World Chess Championship clash in Moscow.
After a string of six successive draws, Gelfand had drawn the first blood in the 7th game but Anand struck back swiftly in the very next to draw level. The ninth game also turned out a hard-fought battle that resulted in draw.
The two thus remain locked on five points each with two games remaining. Friday is a rest day and they resume the skirmish on Saturday with Gelfand playing with white pieces in the penultimate game. In case they remain locked at six points each after 12 games, the two players will play tiebreak games with shorter time control.
Playing with white pieces, Anand opted for a system that had been rarely played at World Championship level but Gelfand was well prepared and countered by introducing a hitherto un-played move on the 8th turn.
The two players tried a few tricks but the game stayed in balance right through. They exchanged pieces at regular intervals and had very little to play when truce was signed on the 25th move.
Both Anand and Gelfand have registered one win each with white pieces until now. In the remaining two games, they will get white pieces one more time.
Anand is one of the best players in the shorter-duration games and thus maintaining a status quo at the end of 12 games will give the Indian maestro an edge. He has a superior head-to-head against Gelfand in rapid and blitz and therefore would be confident of his chances.