A third draw was contested at the World Chess Championship ©Getty Images

The 2016 World Chess Championship remains level after the third game - as with the first and second - ended in a draw between champion Magnus Carlsen and challenger Sergey Karjakin in New York City today.

While the first two stalemates at the Fulton Market Building were relatively quick affairs, today's clash was a tense battle which required Russian Karjakin to launch a stern defence to hold off the attacks of his Norwegian opponent.

As with the first two games, most of the pieces had been traded off by move 20, but Carlsen began to turn the screw and make inroads into his opponent's defences.

At move 40, Carlsen's king had taken an advanced position and Karjakin, in addition to being down a pawn, was in a dangerous spot.

However the Norwegian, playing with white, could not find a killer blow as the Russian showed trademark resistance.

A key move came when the Russian, faced with losing his bishop, allowed Carlsen to take it before moving his king up to the champion's remaining pieces. 

Sergey Karjakin showed staunch defence to hold off the champion ©Getty Images
Sergey Karjakin showed staunch defence to hold off the champion ©Getty Images

Carlsen had to lose one of his two remaining pawns, while Karjakin was able to keep his final pawn with no way of victory now possible.

The game was declared a draw after 78 moves and more than six hours of play, with the overall score now 1½-1½.

It could prove to be a key moment in the 12-game series with Carlsen unable to capitalise from strong positions.

The event is taking place without World Chess Federation (FIDE) President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov after the Russian was forced to miss out because he was refused a visa to the United States.

He was added to a sanctions list by the US Department of Treasury last November, after officials claimed he had been "materially assisting and acting for or on behalf of the Government of Syria, Central Bank of Syria".

Ilyumzhinov denies the claims.

Game four takes place tomorrow.