Bonn, Germany: Defending world champion Viswanathan Anand opened with a 32-move draw against challenger Vladimir Kramnik as the much-awaited 12-game World Championship final got underway here.
Anand, played with black as the game opened in the Exchange Slav, which is just to Kramnik's liking for a solid game and it also blunts Anand's attacking style. The opening game was more of a sparring match with both sizing up the other as the contest will warm in the days to come. The early part of the game followed theory and soon after castling on the ninth move, Anand stopped copying Kramnik's moves.
Soon after Anand departed from his copying of Kramnik's moves, the Russian instead of using the common move of castling at this stage, took the c6 pawn with his bishop.
Anand prevented the loss of a pawn by pinning the bishop but Kramnik could still use the tempo it takes Black to recapture.
Kramnik also held greater sway over dark squares because his bishop was unchallenged.
The Indian had the choice to sacrifice the b pawn to get active pieces and control of the open file. Kramnik meanwhile played a new move 14. Qb4 and it now remained to be seen how he hung to an extra pawn.
Into the middle game, Anand had activity while Kramnik's pawns were more dynamic and it was hard for him to stay a pawn up. But neither Anand nor Kramnik was in danger or mood to cede even the slightest of advantages.
Once the two rooks came off it was a dead draw with opposite colour bishops. Kramnik tried to play for a while, but to no avail.
The second game of the match will be played today with the first player to get to 6.5 points being adjudged the world champion. In case of a 6-6 draw, they will play a tie-breaker.