World Champion Viswanathan Anand was held to a draw by Wang Yue of China in the first round of Nanjing Pearl Spring Chess tournament on Wednesday.
Magnus Carlsen of Norway crashed through the defenses of Frenchman Etienne Bacrot in style to become an early leader in this double round robin tournament after the other game between Bulgarian Veselin Topalov and Azerbaijani Vugar Gashimov also ended in a draw.
Carlsen leads the table with one point after the first round and Anand, Wang Yue, Gashimov and Topalov are close behind with half point in their kitty.
With nine rounds still remain in this 25,00,000 Euros prize money tournament, Bacrot stands last in the six-players' field.
Anand did not get many chances against Wang Yue even though his position remained slightly preferable in the middle game arising out of a Slav defense game.
Playing white, the Indian was up against the Fianchetto variation that has some similarities to the Grunfeld defense and Wang Yue was able to muster enough counter play to keep Anand's forces at bay.
Anand got an optically better position but all that changed in quick time after Wang Yue deployed his forces correctly on the queen side.
Anand could find nothing better than getting in to a level middle game wherein Anand's activity around black's king compensated for better placed pieces of the Chinese on the queen side.
In the end, the game was drawn through repetition after 32 moves with neither player willing to risk. If Carlsen had been struggling with his form, it did not show against Bacrot. T
he Norwegian G-Star Model put aside the challenge of the Frenchman in style and in very quick time. Blitzing out the opening moves, Carlsen, who has a penchant for playing new lines, came up with another surprise when he uncorked a side variation in the Scotch opening.
Bacrot was under pressure right from the word go and spent a lot of time on his clock to work out the strategical aspects. Carlsen, however, relentless went for the kill by ripping apart the king side that left Bacrot's king in mortal danger.
The Norwegian followed his instinctive attack with precise calculation when it mattered. Unleashing a knight sacrifice, Carlsen won the Queen for just two pieces and the rest was child's play. For the records, the game lasted 38 moves and Carlsen took a little over one hour.