The fourth game of the world championship chess match ended in a 19-move draw after a virtual replay of the second game, and observers began to perceive a new match strategy for champion Anatoly Karpov to hold his title: to continue playing draws until challenger Victor Korchnoi (who is now a vigorous 47) becomes too old and feeble to pick up a pawn.

At the end of the fourth game, Argentine grandmaster Miguel Najdorf quipped: "I believe there will be 2,000 draws." Chief referee Lothar Schmid added a mathematical note: "One thousand draws is seven years."

Korchnoi indicated that he was willing to make a fight (and a new game) of it with his 14th move, after an exact replay of the first 13. But Karpov made it clear that he wanted no more than a draw by shuttling his QB back and forth in repetitive moves. Either 17. B-K3 or 17. B-R2 would have signaled a fight coming up. The moves actually made implied a draw, and Karpov offered it on move 19.

Korchnoi's seconds were satisfied with the result. "At this level of chess," said British grandmaster Raymond Keene, "Getting a draw with black is like breaking up your opponent's serve in tennis . . . Victor's policy is that he doesn't mind draws. He thinks he is in better shape physically than Karpov and he thinks Karpov suffers move by a lot of boring draws."