Special Correspondent

BONN: Viswanathan Anand and Vladimir Kramnik looked equally pleased following an equal battle in the opening game of their 12-game World championship battle and acknowledged the fact that neither player committed any mistake.

“If it is a draw, it is not our fault,” said Kramnik as he looked back at the rather sedate opener.

“I had a slight advantage and was trying for a break but did not know how to keep the tension going. At least, I was not able to find a way,” said Kramnik, who was made to open the media conference for having played white.

Confident start

The 32-move draw, following the opening moves of the Slav Defence’s exchange variation, saw Anand coming out unscathed after a confident start. Kramnik, too, was not worried since he never looked in any sort of bother during the three-hour game.

As Kramnik later put it, “In a match of this nature, 50 per cent of the games will end as draws. Draw is a fair result in chess. If the players don’t commit a mistake, you get a draw, like today. I hope the draws are not too much more than 50 per cent.”

Anand felt that Kramnik only had a “token advantage” during the game.

“The position looks innocent but there is venom hidden in the system. The drawing tendency of this position was high with opposite colour bishops on the board. The position offered a draw,” he said.

When asked how he would spend the rest of the day, Anand said, “Today is the first day so I don’t really know how it will be. Go back and at some point, get ready and start thinking about tomorrow.”

On Wednesday, Anand plays white in the second game.

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