Victory continues to elude defending champion Viswanathan Anand. The Indian Grandmaster failed to break the deadlock yet again and had to settle for a draw against challenger Boris Gelfand of Israel in the sixth game of the World Chess Championship in Moscow.
Anand did well to get an easy draw as black and the impasse continued. The scoreline at the halfway stage now reads 3-3.
Gelfand could not break the ice for the third time in a row as white, and Anand's preparation in the Semi Slav defense came handy yet again as another insipid draw surfaced soon after the players arrived at the endgame.
Anand went for one of the old lines this time and showcased another piece of excellent preparation by sacrificing a pawn on the 14th move which turned out to be a novelty as well.
Gelfand had little choice other than to grab the pawn but this allowed Anand's pieces a free hand as white's lost a couple of moves.
Development of pieces compensated for the pawn a great deal. Gelfand sank in to a deep think soon after and came up with a return sacrifice that ensured him a minimal advantage that was hardly enough to look for more.
There were just a few important details to note for Anand and he found all the right moves. First a pair of rooks changed hands, then the queens were traded and finally Gelfand's prized Bishop, which was controlling and playing a defending task as well, went off the board almost in a hurry.
"Anand is excellent in neutralizing small advantages for his opponent," said former world champion Garry Kasparov in the commentary room while the game was still in progress.
The reigning champion did precisely that with exchanges at regular intervals that ensured a just drawn rook and pawns endgame. The game was drawn in just 29 moves and Anand still had 30 minutes more than his Israeli counterpart.
"The position that white had after giving the pawn back looks slightly unpleasant for black as white has better placed pieces, I managed to find this sequence of moves which was important and even though my pawns are broken on the queen side, the position is equal," Anand said after the game.
In the seventh game now the players will change gears after a rest day and Gelfand will again get white pieces. Given the way things have been turning out for Anand especially when playing black, it seems another draw is a real possibility.
On the flip side, this also means that Anand quest for an elusive victory will have to wait.
Gelfand has been giving nothing away as white and Anand, so far, has not been able to push with the favourable colour of the game.
Game 5: 1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. e3 e6 5. Nf3 a6 6. Qc2 c5 7. cxd5 exd5 8. Be2 Be6 9. O-O Nc6 10. Rd1 cxd4 11. Nxd4 Nxd4 12. Rxd4 Bc5 13. Rd1 Qe7 14. Bf3 O-O 15. Nxd5 Bxd5 16. Bxd5 Nxd5 17. Rxd5 Rac8 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. Game drawn.