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.
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.
Results after Round 1: Michael Adams (ENG) drew with Vishwanathan Anand (IND); Fabiano Caruana (ITA) beat Georg Meier (GER); Arkaditsch Naiditsch (GER) drew with Daniel Fridman (GER).
The moves of Adams vs Anand game:
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. d3 Bc5 5. c3 O-O 6. O-O d6 7. h3 Ne7 8. d4 Bb6 9. Re1 Ng6 10. Bd3 Re8 11. Qc2 c6 12. Be3 d5 13. dxe5 Nxe5 14. Nxe5 Rxe5 15. Bxb6 axb6 16. f4 Rh5 17. e5 Nd7 18. Qe2 Rh4 19. e6 Nc5 20. exf7+ Kxf7 21. Nd2 Nxd3 22. Qxd3 Rxf4 23. Qxh7 Bf5 24. Qh5+ Bg6 25. Qe5 Rf6 26. Nf3 Kg8 27. Ng5 Qd7 28. a3 Raf8 29. Rad1 Qf5 30. Qe3 Qf2+ 31. Qxf2 Rxf2 32. Re6 Be4 33. Nxe4 dxe4 34. Rxe4 Rxb2 35. Rd7 Rff2 36. Rg4 Rf7 37. Rxf7 Kxf7 38. Rb4 Ra2 39. Rxb6 Rxa3 40. Rxb7+ Kg8 41. c4 Ra4 42. c5 Ra5 43. Rc7 Rxc5 draw agreed.