London: World Champion Viswanathan Anand tried his best but could not penetrate the solid defences of Hikaru Nakamura of United States in the opening round of the London Chess Classic on Thursday.
On an exceptional day of exciting chess, England`s Luke McShane created the first big upset of the tournament shocking World Number two Magnus Carlsen of Norway in a cracker of a game.
The other two games in this eight players round robin tournament were also decisive with Russian Vladimir Kramnik outplaying former world championship challenger Nigel Short of England and local hero Michael Adams crushing compatriot David Howell.
After the end of the first round in the football-like scoring system, Kramnik, McShane and Adams share the lead with three point while Anand and Nakamura are behind with one point apiece.
The three losers of the opening day share the fifth spot with seven rounds still to go in the 145000 Euros prize money tournament including the best game prizes.
Nakamura went for the Berlin defense that is a recent inclusion in Anand`s repertoire also and it was clear that the Indian ace was on top right from the word go.
A typical endgame arose where white had pressure on the king side and Nakamura, sensing problems, gave up a pawn to stay afloat. The resulting position remained better for Anand for a long time but it was not a winning position as he realised. After 74 moves the peace was signed.
McShane was a class act and also avenged his defeat against Carlsen in last year`s edition.
Playing the white side of an English opening, McShane gave a just indication of his roaring form and had Carlsen on the ropes from the early stages of the middle game when the latter went for unwarranted complications.
Winning an exchange after wild tactical complications, McShane converted to a won endgame without much ado.
Kramnik won with black against Short whose tactic to go for side lines against top class opposition did not work out.
"I played strategically and got checkmated", was how Short summed up his day`s play and it was indeed a dismal show by the former challenger. Kramnik got a slightly better middle game and easily kept things under control till he wrapped a full point.
The other game of the day between Adams and Howell was equally entertaining. Playing a Berlin as black, Howell`s penchant for going for less analysed positions did not work out as Adams got a better position nonchalantly and later pulled the trigger with a fine king side attack. The final verdict was a checkmate when Howell`s king could not find a
In the open tournament being organised simultaneosuly, former world junior champion Abhijeet Gupta, candidate GM S Roy Chwdhury and GM norm holder Sahaj Gover scored easy victories inthe first round against lower ranked opponents.
Results round one: V Anand (Ind) drew with Hikaru
Nakamura (Usa); Michael Adams (Eng) beat David Howell (Eng); Nigel Short (Eng) lost to Vladimir Kramnik (Rus); Luke McShane (Eng) beat Magnus Carlsen (Nor).