Former world champion Viswanathan Anand was battling an inferior position against world No. 2 Levon Aronian in hiscampaign-opener at the elite Zurich Chess Challenge tournament in Zurich on Thursday.

Favourite Magnus Carlsen defeated Boris Gelfand to make a winning return to classical format, after claiming the World chess title in November last, while dethroned champion Anand was facing a tough ask against an in-form Aronian.

Extra knight

The Armenian, who recently won the Corus chess title, was armed with an extra knight for two pawns in an ending involving a rook each.

After 46 moves, Anand was required to tread very carefully in order to force a draw.

Carlsen earlier dismissed Gelfand’s challenge in 37 moves.

In the other game, between defending champion Fabiano Caruana and Hikaru Nakamura, draw looked the most likely result.

Carlsen reigns

On Wednesday, when the players battled in blitz format (where each player is allowed four minutes plus two-second increment for every move made in each game), Carlsen beat Anand in 21 moves, and Nakamura, on way to winning the title.

Carlsen scored three points, same as Aronian, but was declared the winner on the basis of superior tiebreak score.

Anand took the fifth spot after beating Caruana, the conqueror of Carlsen, and last-man Gelfand.

He drew with Nakamura but lost to Aronian.

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