Baden-Baden, (Germany): World champion Viswanathan Anand played out a fighting draw with Michael Adams of England in the first round of the Grenke Chess Classic that got underway here.
After a last round shocking loss against Wang Hao of China at the just-concluded Tata Steel Chess tournament, Anand seemed to be in fine fettle and his attempts at complications were met with some precise play by the Englishman.
Fabiano Caruana of Italy emerged as the early leader in the six-player double round-robin tournament with a crushing victory against Georg Meier of Germany. The other all-German affair between Arkadij Naiditsch and Daniel Fridman was drawn without much ado.
Caruana on one point and is followed by Anand, Adams, Fridman and Naiditsch with half a point apiece while Meier is at the bottom following his first round defeat. It turned out to be a decent start for Anand who had shown good form at the Tata tournament where he finished third.
Playing the black side of a closed Ruy Lopez, the Indian ace was never in any trouble and went for an unusual manoeuvre taking his rook to the edge of the board on his 16th turn.
As Adams corroborated after the game, "I found the idea very suspicious. I was completely unable to refute it in anyway but it looked a very funny move."
Anand, on the other hand, was quite optimistic about his chances.
"For some reasons I started to like the idea and decided that it was worth a punt," said the Indian in the post-game press conference.
As it turned out, Adams could not find anything better than exchanges of pieces at regular intervals and the players arrived at a level rook and pawns endgame that was drawn in 43 moves.
Caruana showcased his preparation in the French Rubenstein. It was only on the 20th move that Caruana started to think and he later revealed he could not remember analysis.
However, Meier was running short of time and as is typical in such situation. One mistake followed the other leading to a lost position in quick time. Caruana wrapped up the issue in just 36 moves.
Naiditsch went for a topical variation in the Scotch opening but failed to find anything worthwhile against an agile Fridman. After regulation exchanges the endgame was reached and the draw was agreed in 48 moves.
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