chess William Hartston

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The Independent Online
Viktor Korchnoi and Anatoly Karpov drew the first seven games of their world championship match in 1978; Boris Spassky and Tigran Petrosian drew their first six in 1966. So when Viswanathan Anand and Garry Kasparov agreed a draw in the fifth game of their current match, they entered the drawing list of all-time-greats.

Seen in the context of a 20-game match, the contest is developing into an intriguingly tight fight, with neither man prepared to take the sort of risk that could give his opponent the opportunity to score the first victory.

In terms of the individual games, however, the play has undoubtedly been unsatisfying for the spectators at the World Trade Centre in New York. With only one game having struggled as far as move 30, anyone paying $75 for a ringside seat must feel he is not getting his money's worth.

The latest game provided more frustration for the onlookers. After both players rattled out the same 13 opening moves as in game three, Kasparov varied with 14...Rac8, letting his queen drop back to b8 without interfering with co-operation between the rooks.

The critical moment came after Kasparov's 18...d5 when Anand sank into thought for 36 minutes. The crowd were looking forward to 19.e5, planning a full-blooded, K-side attack with a later f5.

Anand finally thought better of it and maintained the tension in the centre. However, he was unable to obtain any advantage and was happy to agree a draw when exchanges led to a level position at move 27.

With a quarter of the match now gone, neither player seems to have yet settled down to produce the type of uninhibited attacking play for which they are both renowned. But with a $1m prize awaiting the winner, it is understandable if they do not give the highest priority to entertaining the spectators.

White: Viswanathan Anand

Black: Garry Kasparov

Fifth match game

1 e4 c5 15 Qe2 Bc6

2 Nf3 d6 16 Bb6 Qb8

3 d4 cxd4 17 Nd4 Nxd3

4 Nxd4 Nf6 18 cxd3 d5

5 Nc3 a6 19 Qf3 Nd7

6 Be2 e6 20 Nxc6 bxc6

7 0-0 Be7 21 Na4 Qd6

8 a4 Nc6 22 Qe3 Qb4

9 Be3 0-0 23 Rfc1 c5

10 f4 Qc7 24 Qf3 Nf6

11 Kh1 Re8 25 Nc3 Bd8

12 Bd3 Nb4 26 exd5 exd5

13 a5 Bd7 27 Nxd5 Nxd5

14 Nf3 Rac8 Draw agreed