Defending world champion Viswanathan Anand was made to sweat by Israeli challenger Boris Gelfand in the ninth game of the World Chess championship before it ended in a draw. The Indian Grandmaster managed to sign peace following a timely queen sacrifice leaving the scores level at 4.5-4.5 after the ninth round.
Anand decided to change gears with black pieces and for the first time he employed the Nimzo Indian Defence, moving from the Slav Defense that he did in the first four games with black. Gelfand went for the classical set up. The result was a routine opening that guarantees white a minimal advantage but nothing beyond that.
The middle game had all the indications of an intense battle ahead. Anand wanted to equalise early and that’s what prompted him to part with his Bishop for a Knight on the 13th move. The first new move in the game were yet again played by Anand on his 16th turn.
Gelfand countered positively. White stood a shade better, but Anand had judged the position well enough. On the 18th move, Anand declared his real intentions — to sacrifice the queen and to create a fortress soon after.
The game, however, was drawn after 49 moves. Anand now has two white games out of the last three in the $2.55 million championship.
The scale has tilted in favour of the Indian Grandmaster 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 world championship will be played today. The match has been evenly poised, but with his perfect defence, Anand has yet again dented the confidence of challenger Gelfand.