World champion Viswanathan Anand put aside the experts' claim that the challenger will make a comeback at the half way stage, and played out another draw to maintain his full point lead over Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria in the sixth game of the world chess championship 2010 now underway in Sofia on Saturday.
Anand, who had won the second and the fourth game after losing in the opener, has drawn the remaining three games of this high profile two million euros world championship and it now appears that the Indian ace is on course for his fourth world championship crown.
With just six games to come in the 12-match championship, Anand is presently sitting pretty but Topalov could have some positive thoughts especially after the sixth game wherein, for the first time in the match, Anand conceded a draw with what is considered to be the favourable colour on the chequered board.
Anand played his third white game in the same opening that has held him in good stead. It was a kind of surprise to some experts who were hoping that Topalov will get out of dry positions and try something else to combat the Indian.
Playing another Catalan, Anand yet again got a decent position out of the opening but Topalov this time was better armed to find moves to keep parity in the position in the middle game. Anand parted with his Bishop for a knight early in the opening, conceding the Bishop pair to Topalov but the latter found some equalising moves early in the game.
As it transpired after the early trading of queens, only Topalov had some real chances provided he maintained a composed structure. The Bulgarian maintained the latter but, for sure, Anand did not give any further lee-way to give Topalov and real chances.
For the records, Anand had two knights for two Bishops apart from the pair of rooks for both pairs and it was a picturesque site to see the Indian troubling the black pieces with some deft manoeuvres.
As it turned out, Topalov was left with only an optical advantage when the players exchanged a pair of rooks and a set of minor piece and the result was never in doubt thereafter.
Topalov was known to be following the Sofia rules here that bar any player to offer draw or talk to opponent. So it was expected that there will be another repetition. For once the audiences' prediction went perfect when on the 58th move the game was agreed drawn vide another repetition.
Anand now has a rest day to ponder over what is to be done for the final half of the match. The world champion has every reason to be pleased about the way things have gone thus far in the championship.
Topalov will play black again in the seventh game as the colour pattern will be reversed for the remaining games.