The visitors recovered from Gylfi Sigurdsson's first-half opener to equalise through their captain, although a second yellow for the striker curtailed chances of a late winner
Gylfi Sigurdsson had opened the scoring after 19 minutes in a first half dominated by the hosts, only for Juan Mata's half-time introduction to inspire Jose Mourinho's charges to salvage a point through a John Terry header.
With Chelsea looking to complete the comeback, Torres was dismissed for a second bookable offence eight minutes from time after clashing with Jan Vertonghen - although TV replays hinted that the striker could feel aggrieved.
|VIEW FROM WHITE HART LANE
|By Greg Stobart
After all the hype surrounding the rivalry between Andre Villas-Boas and Jose Mourinho, the teacher and the pupil shared the points at White Hart Lane and both men will be satisfied with the result.
Tottenham were excellent in the first half and opened the scoring through a fine Gylfi Sigurdsson goal, before Paulinho clipped the outside of the post just before the break.
But the game turned with Mourinho’s half-time tactical substitutions and the introduction of Juan Mata, with the Spaniard adding much-needed spark in the final third and setting up John Terry’s equaliser.
As Chelsea turned the tide, they looked the more likely winners but their chances of taking all three points disappeared with the red card shown to Fernando Torres for a second booking following a challenge with Jan Vertonghen.
It was harsh on the Chelsea forward but this was the right result and both teams can claim to be potential title challengers this season.
Tottenham were unchanged from their Premier League victory over Cardiff City, leaving Jermain Defoe on the bench, despite scoring twice in their midweek Capital One Cup win over Aston Villa.
After a series of half-chances for both sides, Tottenham began to assert their dominance, taking the lead through Sigurdsson after 20 minutes.
The in-form midfielder got his third Premier League goal of the season, latching onto a lay-off from Roberto Soldado before breaking Terry’s weak tackle and calmly finishing past Petr Cech.
With Chelsea reeling, the hosts continued to enjoy plenty of possession, with Kyle Naughton next to test Cech with a long-range effort.
The visitors eventually found their feet in a 10-minute period before the break, Eden Hazard threatening with a deflected strike before Oscar fired straight at Hugo Lloris.
Tottenham could have gone in at half-time two goals up with Brazilian midfielder Paulinho hitting the outside of the post after being played in by Andros Townsend.
Oscar was unable to get a firm enough touch on a Torres cross two minutes into the second half in what was a frantic period of play after the break.
Hazard was the next to test Lloris a minute short of the hour mark before Terry levelled the scores.
Substitute Mata delivered an expert free kick with the Chelsea captain, who had evaded the attentions of Michael Dawson, glancing a header past Lloris after 65 minutes.
Torres then played in substitute Schurrle but the German was denied by Lloris, before the Spain international was dismissed nine minutes from time.
After a long-running battle with Vertonghen, Torres was shown a second yellow card following an aerial challenge with the Belgian defender.
However, despite plenty of pressure from the home side, they were unable to take advantage of their extra man during the final eight minutes.