Five-world world champion Viswanathan Anand was held to a draw by Russian Grandmaster Vladislav Artemiev in Round 1 of Tata Steel Masters on Sunday. The 50-year-old ace, playing his major event for the 18th time, faced the Caro Kann defense by Artemiev. Anand made his intentions clear but Artemiev was quite up to the task in the opening as he gave little away.
In between the game, Anand temporarily won a pawn and later decided to force equality through an exchange sacrifice. On move thirty one, the draw was agreed with neither player having any real chance.
Reigning World Champion Magnus Carlsen of Norway played against one of his arch-rival Anish Giri of Holland and the result was another draw. Carlsen has never beaten Giri in Wijk Aan Zee in eight meetings now and in fact Giri was the one calling the shots.
Carlsen criticised himself for his computer-like play in the opening and conceded that he was worse after just 11 moves with white pieces. However, the Norwegian made amends to maintain parity in the end.
The biggest headline of the day was 16-year old Iranian Firouza Alireza who made a superb start to his maiden campaign in a super tournament. On the receiving end was Vladislav Kovalev who apparently missed the thread in the opening itself and ended much worse.