QPR ended Chelsea's 100% Premier League record and secured just their second point this season as they earned a deserved draw from a niggly game.
Anton Ferdinand's refusal to shake John Terry's hand before the match following allegations of racial abuse in the corresponding fixture last season set the tone for a feisty encounter.
Chelsea had the better openings and had two strong penalty shouts dismissed.
But QPR improved after the break and Bobby Zamora wasted a fine late chance.
The striker was gifted a great one-on-one opening as he ran on to a calamitous Jon Mikel Obi backpass, but Blues keeper Petr Cech brilliantly delayed Zamora and the England frontman's effort was cleared off the line by Terry.
Eden Hazard then had an equally glorious opportunity to secure Chelsea's fourth consecutive league success, but he shot wildly over after good work by substitute Victor Moses.
The late chances in a fiery and at times controversial game, played in a predictably hostile Loftus Road atmosphere, at least offered some hope of it being remembered for the football.
Almost all the pre-match focus inevitably centred on the handshake, and whether Terry and Ferdinand would try to move on from the incident last October that led, ultimately, to Terry being acquitted of racially abusing the QPR defender - although he still faces a separate FA charge.
As expected, Ferdinand refused to shake the former England skipper's hand when offered the chance and also avoided Ashley Cole.
An already simmering atmosphere hardly needed further tension, but there was plenty of incident despite the lack of goals.
The European champions, who remain top of the table despite the draw, felt they were denied two clear penalties before the break.
But referee Andre Marriner decided Ryan Nelsen was not guilty of grappling Terry to the floor from a free-kick, and then waved away even stronger protests after a clumsy Shaun Wright-Phillips challenge led to Hazard tumbling in the box.
Chelsea, who have now won just two of their 18 top-flight games at Loftus Road, could have gone ahead inside the opening four minutes, but debutant Rangers keeper Julio Cesar made a fine block to keep out a low Hazard strike after a swift break.
And Cesar also did well to keep out a decent Fernando Torres shot after the Spaniard showed some nifty footwork to cut in from the right flank.
Chelsea's biggest concern appeared to be the keeping all 11 players on the pitch. Ramires and Ryan Bertrand - following a reckless lunge on Wright-Phillips - were both booked, and the indiscipline that cost them so dear in last season's meeting always threatened to resurface.
QPR - despite being hampered by first-half injuries to Fabio and Andy Johnson - were solid, retained possession well and saw plenty of the ball. But apart from a Zamora shot that was beaten away by Cech, they barely threatened in the first period.
They stepped up the pace after the interval, were the better side for lengthy periods and created the two best chances.
Park Ji-sung spurned the first, somehow finding Cech with a free header from eight yards, before Zamora wasted the late gift from Mikel.
Chelsea came back into it in the latter stages, mainly thanks to an impressive debut from Moses.
He forced another decent stop from Cesar and also set up a wonderful chance for Hazard, who was unable to continue his blistering start to life in the Premier League, shooting wastefully over from 10 yards.
Terry and Ferdinand both ended the match limping after picking up knocks, but both excelled defensively and were at least able to remind supporters what fine players they are.
Ferdinand was particularly impressive, giving an assured display that was the main reason for his side's first clean sheet in the league this season.
QPR manager Mark Hughes:
"Today we acquitted ourselves really well. We were assured and calm and we dictated to the European champions for long periods. We were good in possession and created chances.
"Credit to the players, I thought the performance was excellent.
"Our concentration levels were excellent. It's early days for us but I have seen improvements in every game we have played and it's only a matter of time before it all comes together. Once everyone's up to speed and fitness levels are on a par then I have no doubt we will have a good season and we will see evidence of what a good side we are.
"I missed the handshake. I was walking down the tunnel with Roberto Di Matteo. Our focus was on the game."
Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo:
"It was a feisty derby with tackles flying in. In the first half we were very much in control and had a number of opportunities to score and were only missing a goal. We also had two penalty incidents and it's a shame the referee didn't see them or think they were penalties.
"The one on JT was an incredible one and the other one, maybe he thought there was not much contact [on Eden Hazard]. But it's a clean sheet and a draw away from home and we will take it.
On the pre-match handshake: "Everybody focused on the football and of course there would be high emotion but both sets of players played very professionally. As far as we are concerned, our players offered it and if the other player doesn't want to receive it, so we move on."