Baden-Baden (Germany), Feb 3: India's Viswanathan Anand played out an easy draw against world number two Fabiano Caruana of Italy in the first round of Grenke Chess Classic here.
Playing his first tournament after London Classic that he won, five times world champion Viswanathan Anand was pleasantly surprised as Caruana went for the Italian opening with white that does not find many followers in top level chess.
The draw with black came easy. The eight-player super tournament did see some exciting games but the first day did not produce a decisive result.
World champion Magnus Carlsen of Norway survived some anxious moments before splitting points against Levon Aronian of Armenia while Frenchman Etienne Bacrot missed out on getting an early lead after he squandered away a better position against lowest seed David Baramidze of Germany.
In the other game of the day, Michael Adams of England also signed peace with local star Arkadij Naiditsch. As a result of four draws in as many games of round one, all eight players currently stay on a half point and things will only change in the next round when the top four rated are pitted against lowest four in this seven-round tournament.
Anand had little to complaint if the post-game analysis was any indication. Showing that he was well prepared, Anand played out the opening moves in quick time and did not shy away from complications when it mattered.
Caurana admitted his sixth was probably not a good decision. "I decided over the board to push my pawn, it was probably not a good idea," he said.
'I still have to take complex decisions'
Anand said he faired well in his opener.
"In general I am fine but I still have to take a lot of complex decisions," said the Indian ace.
The complications were enormous but both players found a way to keep away from them. The pieces changed hands and soon it was a level position on board.
Carlsen described the opening against Aronian as "not the most swashbuckling of lines", but he ended up spending almost 40 minutes over his 13th and 14th move, later describing them as "stupid, but maybe good moves".
It was hard for both sides to play but Aronian got the complications rolling in his favour in the late middle game stages. As was the premonition in the minds of enthusiasts and commentators, Aronian ran out of time and was left with just one minute for last few moves.
As a result Carlsen got the chance to change gears and got a slight advantage in the ensuing endgame. The game was drawn in 64 moves. Baramidze made two technical errors but got away as Bacrot missed out to cash on them.
The French GM realised just in time that his planned manoeuvre was about to boomerang and settled for peace through repetition of moves. Naiditsch also got a small advantage against Adams who played the white side of a French Tarrasch.
However, the Englishman came up with some precise defence to draw in the rook and minor piece endgame. Results round 1: Fabiano Caruana (IITA) drew with V Anand (IND); Levon Aronian (ARM) drew with Magnus Carlsen (NOR); Michael Adams (ENG) drew with Arkadij Naiditsch (GER); Etienne Bacrot (FRA) drew with David Baramidze (GER).