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The PCA/Intel World Chess Championship limped closer to a finish when Anand and Kasparov agreed a perfunctory draw after only 40 minutes play in their 15th game in New York. Kasparov now leads by 9 points to 6, and needs only one more point from the last five games to be sure of retaining his title.

Anand's willingness to agree a quick draw with the white pieces suggests a high level of demoralisation after scoring only half a point from the previous five games. He may also have been irritated by a delay of more than two hours at the start of play, caused by a malfunctioning of the air-conditioning system in the specially constructed, allegedly soundproof glass booth where the games take place.

If the organisers turned up the air conditioning, of course, its hum could drown the noises from the spectators which so upset both players in the 14th game. But that must remain an idea for the next title match. All the fight seems to have gone out of this one.

Although in game 15 Anand diverged from earlier games of the match at move 9, there was nothing completely original in the entire game - it had all been seen before in grandmaster play. At move 14 White has the choice between inviting a wild game of mutual attacks on opposite wings, or taking the sting out of Black's threats with a queen exchange.

Anand chose the latter and all life went out of the game.

White: V Anand

Black: G Kasparov

15th match game

1 e4 c5 10 0-0-0 Nxd4

2 Nf3 d6 11 Bxd4 Qa5

3 d4 cxd4 12 Kb1 Rfc8

4 Nxd4 Nf6 13 a3 Rab8

5 Nc3 g6 14 Nd5 Qxd2

6 Be3 Bg7 15 Rxd2 Nxd5

7 f3 0-0 16 Bxg7 Ne3

8 Qd2 Nc6 draw agreed

9 g4 Be6

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