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Anand in joint lead

London: Viswanathan Anand put behind the disappointment of his loss in the world championship and started his campaign by defeating England’s Luke McShane and later drew with another Englishman, Michael Adams, in the preliminaries of the London Classic here.

Five-time world champion Anand did well to beat McShane, who is known as the world’s strongest amateur. He then followed it up with an easy draw against Adams to share the lead with the latter.

With four rounds still to come in the prelims, Anand and Adams have an identical four points apiece from two games under the soccer-like scoring system in place here.

McShane is not far behind on three points, while Andrei Istratescu of France is yet to open his account.

With 16 players taking part this year, the Classic is divided into four groups and the top two from each group will reach the knockout stage after a double round robin. Having made a good start, Anand is almost sure to find himself in the knockout stage reserved for top two finishers in each group.

Anand started the day as black against McShane and opted for the Caro Kann defense. 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.

The English Grandmaster was in control of the board. Showing some brilliant counter-active measures, Anand converted to a winning endgame with his passed pawns in the centre, ruling the roost.