Viswanathan Anand put behind the disappointment of the world championship loss and started his campaign by defeating England’s Luke McShane and later drawing with another Englishman Michael Adams in the preliminaries of the London Classic here.
Five-time world champion Anand, who turned 44 on Wednesday, did well to beat McShane who is known as the world’s strongest amateur. Anand then followed it up with an easy draw against Adams to share the lead with the latter.
With four rounds still to go in the preliminary stage, Anand and Adams have an identical four points apiece from two games under the soccer-like scoring system in place here.
McShane is on three points, while Andrei Istratescu of France is yet to open his account.
Anand started the day as black against McShane and opted for the Caro Kann defence.
McShane came up with a fine pawn sacrifice in the early middle game putting Anand in a spot of bother and won a rook for a minor piece and pawn.
Showing some brilliant counter-active measures, Anand converted to a winning endgame with his passed pawns in the centre ruling the roost.
Round 1: Group A: Luke McShane (Eng) lost to Viswanathan Anand (Ind); Andrei Istratescu (Fra) lost to Michael Adams (Eng). Group B: Vladimir Kramnik (Rus) bt Peter Svidler (Rus); Jonathan Rowson (Eng) bt Matthew Sadler (Eng). Group C: Boris Gelfand (Isr) bt Judit Polgar (Hun); Gawain Jones (Eng) drew with Hikaru Nakamura (USA). Group D: Nigel Short (Eng) drew with David Howell (Eng); Fabiano Caruana (Ita) bt Emil Sutovsky (Isr).
Round 2: Group A: Anand drew with Adams; McShane bt Istratescu. Group B: Svidler drew with Sadler; Kramnik bt Rowson. Group C: Polgar lost to Nakamura; Gelfand bt Jones. Group D: Howell bt Sutovsky; Short lost to Caruana.