Sofia: World champion Viswanathan Anand played out a hard fought draw with challenger Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria to keep his title hopes alive after the end of the 10th game.
With another draw, Anand ensured that the match will be fought on the even keel in the remaining two matches under classical time control as, in the event of a tied result, the winner will be decided on the basis of games played under faster time control.
For only the second time in the match, Anand embarked on the Grunfeld defense with his black pieces. The chess buffs had a fresh memory of a resounding display by Topalov in the first game of the match which had enabled the Bulgarian to go one up in the match barely when it had begun.
Anand this time was of course much better prepared as he played his moves with confidence and for the records, Toaplov was using more time than the Indian in the early phase of the opening.
When Topalov could not find anything to look for an advantage, he decided to just play along with the position and that`s when Anand decided to take the game to a level endgame with exchange of all the heavy pieces.
As it happened in the game the players arrived at a minor pieces endgame where Topalov had the Bishop pair to boats off to begin with but soon after, white`s chances had vanished in to thin air.
Topalov is following the Sofia rules that forbid a player from offering a draw or even talking to his opponent.
Anand, for once, took advantage of this self imposed rule of the Bulgarian to torment him for a little time in the pure minor piece endgame even though a decisive result was almost out of question by this point.
With just two games to come in the 12-games match, the scores stand level at 5-5 and now it seems more of a match of nerves.
Anand, having trailed, recovered, led, is now where he had begun this match and the Indian ace will be hoping to make his final breakthrough after the rest day when he plays his last white.
Topalov, on the other hand, must be thinking differently. The Bulgarian has a knack of doing well in the final phase of any event he participates in and that might just be reason for him to somehow get a draw in the penultimate game and go for another bloody battle in the final game of the match.
In the event of a tie, Anand will be a huge favourite once again as the tiebreaker will be fought under faster time control where, by consent, the Indian may have a huge psychological advantage.