Anand stretched but manages to secure a draw in 9th game

Anand stretched but manages to secure a draw in 9th game

Defending champion Viswanathan Anand was stretched a little by challenger Boris Gelfand of Israel but the Indian ace found his way to a draw in the ninth game of the World Chess Championship here today.

Ananad managed to sign peace following a timely queen sacrifice leaving the scores level at 4.5-4.5 after the ninth round.

As expected, Anand decided to shift gears with black and for the first employed the Nimzo Indian defense, moving from the Slav defense that he had employed in the first four black games here.

Gelfand went for the classical set up giving due importance to development of pieces instead of trying to catch Anand unawares in any subtlety early in the game. The result was a routine opening that guarantees white a minimal advantage but nothing beyond that.

The middle game had all the features of an intense battle. Anand wanted to equalise early and that's what prompted him to part with his Bishop for a knight on the 13th move.

This was in fact still a theoretical discussion in progress as the move had been played before but the real surprise for Gelfand came just a couple of moves later when Anand surrendered his second, and long diagonal Bishop for white's second knight.

This meant that the reigning champion had reached a position with two Bishops against two knights in not-so-close position, the endgames would have been worse certainly but the middle game still remained.

As the game progressed Anand wanted to create a deadlock in the center, something that Gelfand, to his credit, worked against successfully. The first new move in the game was yet again played by Anand on his 16th turn.

Gelfand responded positively as the assessment of the computers also confirmed. White stood slightly better but Anand had judged the position much better.

On the 18th move, Anand declared his real intentions -- to sacrifice the queen and to create a fortress soon after. Gelfand thought himself to be better still and four moves later he had queen for a rook, knight and a pawn.

In terms of material balance, this is known as equal but the queen is supposedly superior in such kind of imbalance.

Anand showed why he is the king in very quick time while Gelfand glued to his chair to work out plans to make his better piece count. The discussion continued a long time but after Anand's 37th move the result was never in doubt.

The game was drawn in 49 moves. Anand now has two white games out of the last three in the USD 2.55 million championship.

The scale has tilted in favour of the Indian after his victory in the eighth game and Gelfand will have to probably fall back on something other than the Grunfeld that he has been employing here.

The 10th game of the championship will be played tomorrow.

The match has been evenly poised but with his perfect defense, Anand has yet again dented the confidence of Gelfand.

The moves of ninth game: 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e3 0–0 5.Bd3 d5 6.Nf3 c5 7.0–0 dxc4 8.Bxc4 cxd4 9.exd4 b6 10.Bg5 Bb7 11.Qe2 Nbd7 12.Rac1 Rc8 13.Bd3 Bxc3 14.bxc3 Qc7 15.c4 Bxf3 16.Qxf3 Rfe8 17.Rfd1 h6 18.Bh4 Qd6 19.c5 bxc5 20.dxc5 Rxc5 21.Bh7+ Kxh7 22.Rxd6 Rxc1+ 23.Rd1 Rec8 24.h3 Ne5 25.Qe2 Ng6 26.Bxf6 gxf6 27.Rxc1 Rxc1+ 28.Kh2 Rc7 29.Qb2 Kg7 30.a4 Ne7 31.a5 Nd5 32.a6 Kh7 33.Qd4 f5 34.f4 Rd7 35.Kg3 Kg6 36.Qh8 Nf6 37.Qb8 h5 38.Kh4 Kh6 39.Qb2 Kg6 40.Qc3 Ne4 41.Qc8 Nf6 42.Qb8 Re7 43.g4 hxg4 44.hxg4 fxg4 45.Qe5 Ng8 46.Qg5+ Kh7 47.Qxg4 f6 48.Qg2 Kh8 49.Qe4 Kg7 ½–½.

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