Anand plays draw with Adams in 1st round

London: World Champion Viswanathan Anand played out an easy draw against top British Michael Adams with black pieces in the first round of third Chess Classic, here.

Taking into account his mediocre result in just finished Tal Memorial, where the World Champion ended with as many as nine draws, this was Anand`s 10th draw in a row in classical chess.

World Number one Magnus Carlsen of Norway snatched early lead in the 160000 Pounds Sterling tournament after defeating lowest-ranked David Howell of England in a tense game.

With the soccer-like scoring system in place with three points for a win and one for a draw, the Norwegian enjoys a two-point lead over nearest rivals as the other games ended in draws.

Anand went for the Sicilian Najdorf and faced a harmless-looking Classical set up from Adams who played white.

The middle game witnessed exchanges at regular intervals and the experts even thought that Anand might have had some chances.

However, with precise liquidation, Adams came down to a queen and pawns endgame which was a routine draw.

Commentator Daniel King cheekily reminded the world champion that he had now drawn 10 games in a row and that a win counts for three points in London.

Anand was not at all put out and his reply was self-deprecating.

"Even if they had been using a 9-1-0 scoring system in Moscow, I would probably still have drawn all my games."

Anand has the bye in the second round and it is likely to be a full house as the World Champion will be assisting in live commentary.

The strongest ever tournament in UK earlier got off to a lively start with the presence of tennis star Boris Becker.

The German came on crutches following an injury during a game and stole the limelight as he inaugurated the event as a special guest.

This was also followed by a couple of chess games with Nigel Short of England who had a bye in the nine-player round robin tournament.

In the other two games of the day, Levon Aronian spoilt a position of strength against Luke McShane of England while Vadimir Kramnik of Russia played out a draw with Hikaru Nakamura of United States.

As things stand, Carlsen is atop on three points while Anand, Kramnik, Adams and Nakamura share the second spot with one point each. Shortis yet to play a game while Howell stands at the bottom of the tables.

Carlsen scored over Howell in a complicated game. The latter resigned in a position in which there was still some play left but Howell thought it was an inevitable checkmate after move 40.

Nakamura and Kramnik fought out in Catalan in where the latter played with white pieces. Kramnik agreed in the post match conference that he was surprised in the opening and even though he engineered an edge, Nakamura held on to his own to force the draw.

In the other game of the day Aronian had McShane on the ropes and in time pressure the English came up with some fine manoeuvres to salvage the draw.


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