Fresh from his top finish in Morelia-Linares event, World champion Viswanathan Anand started his campaign with a draw in blindfold game against Vladimir Kramnik of Russia in the first round of Amber Blindfold and Rapid Chess tournament in Nice, France.
Playing the white side of a Petroff defence in the first game of the tournament, Anand followed the variation he had played against Kramnik some time back but the defending champion Russian was adequately prepared and drew without much ado.
The event is being played on a round robin basis between 12 players. Each player face each other twice -- in blindfold and then in rapid -- and the combined score is taken to decide the winner.
Blindfold games are played on a computer screen in which only the last played move is seen by the player who has his turn to move.
The event is basically a three-in-one tournament with titles in Blindfold, Rapid and combined standings at stake.
Anand had won the rapid section last year but Kramnik was the overall winner with a balanced performance in both variants of the game.
Meanwhile, Bulgarian Veselin Topalov emerged winner against Peter Leko of Hungary. It was a Catalan opening that proved too tough for the Hungarian as he lost his way in the resulting middle game and ensuing endgame. Topalov won a couple of pawns and won in 45 moves.
In the other game of the first session of the opening round, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan drew with Alexander Morozevich of Russia. It was a long drawn encounter in a Nimzowitsch defense by Morozevich wherein he had a better endgame.
Round 1 results: Session 1 (Blindfold): Anand (Ind) drew Vladimir Kramnik (Rus); Veselin Topalov (Bul) beat Peter Leko (Hun); Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Aze) drew with Alexander Morozevich (Rus).