After six games in Belgrade, the chess match between Boris Spassky and Victor Korchnoi stands at four points to two in Korchnoi's favor. The last three games of the match have been drawn, and the margin between the two players remains unchanged, but the match is now reaching the point where even a draw increases, the pressure on Spassky.

Each draw adds a half-point to each player's score (victories count for a full point), and the first player to reach 10 1/2 points will win the match and right to challenge Anatoly Karpov for the world's championship next year. Thus, unless he begins to win games. Spassky faces the prospect, 13 games from now of losing by a score of 10 1/2 to 8 1/2 after a long series of draws. Korchnoi is in the happy position of being allowed to relax and let this happen; he does not have to play for a win, which inevitably involves significant risks in games at the grandmaster level. He knows that if he sits back, sooner or later Spassky will have to take such a risk - and then Korchoi will have a chance to widen the gap to three points, an advantage almost impossible to overcome.