Victor Korchnoi settled down in the third game of his world championship match with Anatoly Karpov, played to a draw in 41 moves and obviously buckled down for a long haul to overtake the young champion, who leads him by a score of 2-0.

Experts in Merano, Italy, where the match is being held, said that Korchnoi's play showed a sharpness not seen in his first two games and predicted a series of draws in the next few games. The match will be won by the first player to score six victories.

In the first nine moves, the third game was a replay of the first, which was lost by Korchnoi. A significant departure was Korchnoi's 12th move, Qe2, a significant improvement over his disastrous queen moves early in the first game. By move 31, when the position became blocked, a draw seemed probable, but the players continued the game for another 10 moves. Karpov first offered a draw on move 40, and Korchnoi declined --t the first time the players had spoken to one another since the match began. Then Korchnoi accepted the draw on his next move.

The fourth game is scheduled to be played Thursday.

White-Korchnoi Black-Karpov

1. c4, e6; 2. Nc3, d5; 3. d4, Be7; 4. Nf3, Nf6; 5. Bg5, h6; 6. Bh4 O-O; 7. e3, b6; 8. Rc1, Bb7; 9. Be2, dxc4; 10. Bxc4, Nbd7; 11. O-O, c5; 12. Qe2 a6; 13. a4, Ne4; 14. Nxe4 Bxe4; 15. Bg3, Qc8; 16. dxc5, bxc5; 17. Nd2, Bc6; 18. b3, Rd8; 19. Bd3, Qb7; 20. f3, Nf6; 21. Rfd1, Nd5; 22. e4, Nb4; 23. Bb1, Be8; 24. e5, Nc6; 25. Bf2, Nd4; 26. Bxd4, Rxd4; 27. Be4, Bc6; 28. Bxc6, Qxc6; 29. Nc4, Rad8; 30. Rxd4, cxd4; 31. Qd3, Bb4; 32. g3, Rb8; 33. Kg2, Bc3; 34. Rb1, Qd5; 35. h4, h5; 36. Kf2, Bb4; 37. Kg2, Be7; 38. Rd1, Qb7; 39. Rb1, Qd5; 40. Rb2, Bb4; 41. Rb1, Draw agreed.