Game 4 of the World Chess Championship ended in a draw yesterday, as the experts had predicted after its adjournment Wednesday night. It was refreshing for the analysts on the scene to be proven right after a game (by no means the first in this match) that often had them baffled.
Challenger Anatoly Karpov, playing the Zaitsev variation of the Ruy Lopez opening with which he had lost Game 2 a week earlier, ended five hours of unusual, complex and dramatic play in an adjourned position where he was inviting world champion Gary Kasparov to take a draw by perpetual check.
He made the offer formally, in a phone call from his second Ron Henley to chief arbiter Geurt Gijssen, at 12:26 a.m., about two hours after the game was adjourned. After examining the position in great detail, with the assistance of his seconds, Kasparov accepted the offer at 10:54 a.m. Earlier, grandmasters and other experts observing the game had concluded that Kasparov was assured of a draw, simply by shuttling his knight between g6 and e7 with a check each time, but he could not abandon this pattern and try for a win without giving his opponent a chance for victory. In the final position, Karpov had a queen, rook and six pawns against Kasparov's queen, bishop and three pawns. Given enough time to work out their destiny unmolested, Karpov's four linked passed pawns on the queenside would surely have brought a victory. But with a perpetual check, there was no time.
Kasparov's sealed move, 41. Ng6ch, indicated his recognition of this reality. Three repetitions of this move, in this position, would have meant an automatic draw under the rules of chess, and there was no way Karpov could stop those repetitions. In such a situation, neither player saw any prospects that would make it worthwhile to leave his hotel and cross town to the Hudson Theatre in Manhattan, where the games are played.
The most important result of the game was its demonstration that the Zaitsev variation, one of Karpov's basic weapons with black against 1. e4 for the past 10 years, has not lost its usefulness for the challenger, even after the champion's smashing victory last week.