World chess champion Magnus Carlsen pressed but was unable to break challenger Viswanathan Anand’s defenses, as Game 4 of their scheduled 12-game title match in Sochi, Russia ended in a 47-move draw.
The result leaves the match knotted at 2-2, and represented a moral victory of sorts for the Indian challenger, who was playing the Black pieces and faced a champion eager for revenge after a bad loss in the previous game.
As in Game 2, the young Norwegian champ opened with 1. e4, but Anand varied with a Sicilian Defense. White tried a relatively uncommon sideline but Black appears to neutralize Carlsen’s initiative without much trouble.
White keeps pressing into the queen-and-knight endgame, with the provocative 33. Nd3 Nd4 34. g4!? inviting Black to try the unclear 34…Nxe2 35. gxf5 Nc3, with both sides having chances in the unbalanced ending.
Anand instead steers for a line that costs Black a pawn just past the 40-move first time control. But after 40. Qe8+ Kh7 41. Qxf7 Qd2 42. Qf5+ Kh8 43. h4 Qxa2 44. Qe6 Qd2!, the Black queen keeps an eye on the g5-square and the queen-and-pawn ending offers White virtually no winning chances.
In the end, White initiates a series of checks at e4 and e8 and the two players agreed to a draw.
Thursday is a rest day, and Anand will have the advantage of the White pieces in Friday’s Game 5.
Here are the moves to Wednesday’s Game 4
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. g3 Nc6 4. Bg2 d5 5. exd5 exd5 6. O-O Nf6 7. d4 Be7 8. Be3 cxd4 9. Nxd4 Bg4 10. Qd3 Qd7 11. Nd2 O-O 12. N2f3 Rfe8 13. Rfe1 Bd6 14.c3 h6 15. Qf1 Bh5 16. h3 Bg6 17. Rad1 Rad8 18. Nxc6 bxc6 19. c4 Be4 20. Bd4 Nh7 21. cxd5 Bxd5 22. Rxe8+ Rxe8 23. Qd3 Nf8 24. Nh4 Be5 25. Bxd5 Qxd5 26. Bxe5 Qxe5 27. b3 Ne6 28. Nf3 Qf6 29. Kg2 Rd8 30. Qe2 Rd5 31. Rxd5 cxd5 32.Ne5 Qf5 33. Nd3 Nd4 34. g4 Qd7 35. Qe5 Ne6 36. Kg3 Qb5 37. Nf4 Nxf4 38.Kxf4 Qb4+ 39. Kf3 d4 40. Qe8+ Kh7 41. Qxf7 Qd2 42. Qf5+ Kh8 43. h4 Qxa2 44. Qe6 Qd2 45. Qe8+ Kh7 46. Qe4+ Kh8 47. Qe8+ Kh7 Draw agreed