World champion Viswanathan Anand of India and challenger Magnus Carlsen of Norway played to a quiet 33-move draw in their match now underway in Chennai, India, bringing Mr. Carlsen closer to the world title as the match enters its final stages.
Mr. Carlsen now leads 5-3, and needs just 1½ points from the final four games to claim the title, which Anand has held since 2007. Mr. Carlsen, already ranked No. 1 in the world by rating, would be the first Norwegian to hold the world chess title.
The game was a bit of an about-face, with Mr. Anand as Black adopting the solid Ruy Lopez Berlin Defense that Mr. Carlsen has employed three times himself in Chennai. The choice was a bit of a surprise for the champion, as it gives Black little opportunity to steer play into complicated lines.
With a 2-point lead, Mr. Carlsen was in no mood to take chances, keeping his pawn structure intact and trading pieces at almost every opportunity. On Move 25, White found a clever temporary queen “sacrifice” followed by a knight fork that resulted in all of the remaining pieces being swept from the board. In a dead-level king-and-pawn ending, Anand agreed to the draw eight moves later.
After a rest day Wednesday, Mr. Anand will have the White pieces for Thursday’s Game 9.
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. O-O Nxe4 5. Re1 Nd6 6. Nxe5 Be7 7. Bf1 Nxe5 8. Rxe5 O-O 9. d4 Bf6 10. Re1 Re8 11. c3 Rxe1 12. Qxe1 Ne8 13. Bf4 d5 14. Bd3 g6 15. Nd2 Ng7 16. Qe2 c6 17. Re1 Bf5 18. Bxf5 Nxf5 19. Nf3 Ng7 20. Be5 Ne6 21. Bxf6 Qxf6 22. Ne5 Re8 23. Ng4 Qd8 24. Qe5 Ng7 25. Qxe8+ Nxe8 26. Rxe8+ Qxe8 27. Nf6+ Kf8 28. Nxe8 Kxe8 29. f4 f5 30. Kf2 b5 31. b4 Kf7 32. h3 h6 33. h4 h5 Draw agreed.