Mainz:Viswanathan Anand began with a reasonable show on his maiden appearance in the Chess 960 world championship as the Indian managed to draw all three games on the opening day of Mainz Chess Classics.
Anand, who has never played before in the Chess960 variant in which position of the pieces is randomly changed at the start of the game, survived a few anxious moments before drawing with Rustam Kasimdzhanov of Uzbekistan in the first game of the day.
Thereafter, Anand faced Etienne Bacrot of France for a similar result and finally salvaged a difficult position against defending champion Levon Aronian of Armenia.
After the end of the third round, Aronian emerged as the sole leader on 2.5 points after blanking both Kasimdzhanov and Bacrot.
Kasimdzhanov defeated Bacrot to keep himself on 1.5 points along with Anand while Bacrot is now firmly in the cellar on just a half point.
The return games of the prelims are still left and top two players from here will play a match amongst themselves to decide the winner.
In Chess 960, the opening theory is still in its infancy and without doubt even the strongest chess players make mistakes early.
Anand, though had no such problems in his first official Chess 960 game, found himself blundering a pawn and landing in a worse rook endgame against Kasimdzhanov.
In the final game of the day against Aronian too, it was a similar situation for Anand as he lost a pawn and later found some ingenious defence to salvage a half point.