Champion Gary Kasparov hung on through a carefully plotted endgame to hold a 70-move draw in Game 9 of the world chess championship yesterday in Seville. The draw, the fifth in this match between Kasparov and challenger Anatoly Karpov, leaves the score tied at 4 1/2 points for each player. Game 10 is scheduled to be played today with Kasparov playing white.
As predicted yesterday, Kasparov offered a queen exchange with his sealed move, 43. ... Qf3, and Karpov attempted to avoid it with 44. Qd4 and 45. e5. When Kasparov was finally able to force the exchange, on his move 60, the draw was in his pocket.
In the overnight analysis, both Karpov's and Kasparov's teams came up with almost perfect continuations, and a draw was the natural result. When Karpov offered the draw after 70 moves, he still had a small advantage -- two pawns against one -- but he could not transform it into a victory. Experts at the match in Seville were surprised when Kasparov sacrificed a pawn to expose Karpov's king, but the king's secure position was one of the challenger's greatest strengths in this game, and the draw was assured after the king's fortress was shattered.
Experts were also impressed by the strength of Kasparov's overnight analysis. This was the third game in a row that had been adjourned, and in each Kasparov seemed to come back the next morning with a total understanding of the position. English grandmaster Raymond Keene said that the champion's analysis was "clearly superior."
"Karpov must now be frightened to adjourn in a complex position," he said. "He's likely to be out-analyzed."
Keene may be considered a Kasparov partisan, at least in the politics of the International Chess Federation, where he has been closely aligned with the champion's policies. And his remark may be a bit overstated. But Kasparov's analysis was unquestionably impressive.
Karpov was obviously interested in starting some action around the black king, but Kasparov did not give him a chance. He hit Karpov's e-pawn and tied up the white pieces so that they could not mobilize for a direct attack after the blockade was established. Then he was free to distract Karpov's attention by moving his queenside pawns. After 48. ... Qd3, Karpov had to put his rook in a passive position. Although Karpov won an extra pawn on his 52nd move, he allowed Kasparov to tear open his king's defense.
At the 53rd move, it became a question of who would put a pawn on the h4 square first. Kasparov forced Karpov to make this move by threatening to make it himself. Then Kasparov's maneuver 54. ... Rd6 and 55. ... Rd4, threatening 56. ... Rh4ch, deprived Karpov of any opportunity to continue attempts at a winning combination.
After forcing the queen exchange, the ending was a piece of cake for Kasparov. By hitting Karpov's passed a-pawn from the side and then from behind, Kasparov established a theoretically drawn position. For example, after 71. a7, Kasparov could make an easy draw by moving his king back and forth on the squares g7 and h7.
The match, limited to 24 games, will be won by the first player to win six games or score 12 1/2 points. Kasparov remains the champion if the match is tied at 12-12.
Grandmaster Lubomir Kavalek contributed to this report.