Wijk Aan Zee: Viswanathan Anand played out a quick draw with Hikaru Nakamura of United States while debutant P Harikrishna beat local player Anish Giri in the first round of the ‘A’ group of Tata Steel Chess tournament that got underway here.
Nakamura went for a surprise in the French Defence as black, not giving much to the Indian ace and it was a fairly quick draw but Harikrishna fought on a drawn endgame for a long time and capitalised on some errors to score his first victory of the premier group.
It turned out to a generally quite start in the traditional event as, apart from Harikrishna, only Sergey Karjakin of Russia could force a victory against Chinese girl Yifan Hou.
World No. 1 Magnus Carlsen also played out a draw with Fabiano Caruana of Italy in a rather sedate start while world number three Levon Aronian could not break the ice against local star Loek Van Wely.
Ivan Sokolov of Holland pushed for a victory in his game against Wang Hao of China but never came close while Hungarian Peter Leko faltered from a much better position against Dutchman Erwin L'Ami to finally split the point.
Harikrishna and Karjakin emerged as early leaders in this 14-player 13-round tournament being played on a round-robin basis. Giri and Yifan share the last spot while the remaining 10 participants, including Anand, are tied for the third spot.
The Winawer Variation has been Anand’s pet against the French Defence for many years now but for once the world champion could not make much use of it.