Zurich: Viswanathan Anand defeated Levon Aronian of Armenia in the first round of Zurich Chess challenge that got under way here.
Anand outplayed Aronian out of a seemingly calm Four Knights' game that suddenly caught fire when white allowed his pawn structure to be damaged, but in return got a strong knight on the king side to open an attack.
The pieces reduced after the exchange of two pairs of minor pieces early in the middle game and Anand came up with a flourish to make it count.
The chess engines that can count a million moves a second were rooting for blood as early as move 15 and Anand did not disappoint his fans to take the same route.
The Indian super GM sacrificed his knight and Aronian had to take it with the king, forcing the opposite king to take a walk outside his own castle. This was not the best thing for royalties and it was no surprise that Anand netted himself a full point after only a few moves.
The other two games of the first round ended in draws.
Shirov tried to combat Kramnik in another Berlin Defence of the elite circles but the latter was quite up tot the task.
The story was the same indeed, although at some point Kramnik's position looked a bit passive, but the Russian has a huge experience with the opening and Shirov found no other way.
Kramnik, who does not have great results against Shirov, was happy to steer the game to a draw.
In the other game of the day, Nakamura played out a draw with Dutchman Anish Giri. He played the opening a bit too light-hearted and got into trouble with black expanding on both wings.
But although the position clearly seemed to favour black, Nakamura somehow managed to escape into a drawn ending.
In the end, only two kings and two pawns were left for a draw.
With four rounds still remaining in the contest, Anand has his task cut out against Giri in the next game while Aronian will hope for a comeback. It has been a good start for Shirov and he would like to make his presence count as the rounds continue. PTI