Sochi (Russia): The ongoing world chess championship match at Sochi appears to be slowly drifting away from Viswanathan Anand, the Indian challenger, as world champion Magnus Carlsen held him to the fourth consecutive draw in the tenth game on Friday to retain his one-point lead.

With only two games remaining in this match, Carlsen, with 5.5 points, is now only a win away from the finishing line. After a few quiet encounters, pundits expect him to push for a win in Sunday’s eleventh game in which he plays with the white pieces.

Even a draw in the next game would mean Anand will need a win from the last game to stay afloat and take the match into tie-breakers, which at this stage looks like a distant dream.

Looking to catch up, Anand played aggressively on Friday and managed to seize the initiative early in the game, but Carlsen defended accurately in what both players described as an intense and interesting contest of a little over three hours.

Asked what he was likely to do to get back into the match, Anand said, “You just have to keep trying."

Though Carlsen has previously said that his performance in Sochi was “inconsistent", he has almost always managed to neutralise Anand’s initiative even from slightly inferior positions.

Experts were surprised by Carlsen’s choice of opening moves on Friday, which gave Anand the opportunity to create complications, but in the end the world champion managed to get away with a draw quite comfortably. Speaking of his defence in the tenth game, Carlsen, however, said he didn’t find it “easy at all".

Speaking about his choice of opening line, Carlsen revealed he had studied it back in 2009-10 when he used to train under former world champion Gary Kasparov.

Commenting on Friday’s game on Twitter, some pundits were of the view that Anand avoided some sharper lines of play that would have given him better chances of pulling off a win, but others such as US grandmaster Susan Polgar defended his decision saying that in view of the match situation it was difficult for him to choose between the solid and the adventurous options.

Carlsen took the lead in this match by winning the sixth game, and is forging ahead to defend his world chess title without taking any risks at all. It was, though, a very lucky win because Carlsen had given Anand an opportunity to completely turn the game on its head. Anand missed it and was eventually crushed.

On Friday, describing Anand as a “very good player, who is very well prepared", Carlsen said the match had now reached a “high pressure situation". But he is more comfortable than his challenger, he said, because he has the lead.

Earlier in this match, Carlsen surged ahead by winning the second game, but Anand sprang back and equalised in the very next game.

He has performed much better in this match than at Chennai a year ago, where he lost his world title. That match had ended in 10 games with Carlsen winning three games and the remaining ending in draws.

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