Candidates Begins in Moscow: Anand Draws First Blood

banner01The Candidates began today on March 11, in Moscow, Russia to determine the challenger to Magnus Carlsen in the World Championship match scheduled for New York in November 2016. The tournament began with some controversy as Agon prohibited customary pgn transmission to third party sites. See the official announcement and the chess.com take by Peter Doggers here.  American candidates Fabiano Caruana and Hikaru Nakamura played their anticipated first round game today to a draw.
[pgn]

[Event "FIDE Candidates 2016"]
[Site "Moscow RUS"]
[Date "2016.03.11"]
[White "Nakamura, Hikaru"]
[Black "Caruana, Fabiano"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "A30"]
[WhiteElo "2790"]
[BlackElo "2794"]
[PlyCount "61"]
[EventDate "2016.03.11"]

1. c4 c5 2. g3 g6 3. Bg2 Bg7 4. e3 e6 5. d4 cxd4 6. exd4 Ne7 7. d5 exd5 8. cxd5
d6 9. Nc3 Nd7 10. Nf3 O-O 11. O-O h6 12. h4 Nc5 13. Re1 Bg4 14. Bf4 Nf5 15. Qd2
Bxf3 16. Bxf3 Qf6 17. Rac1 a5 18. Nb5 Qxb2 19. Qxb2 Bxb2 20. Rc2 Bf6 21. Bxd6
Nxd6 22. Nxd6 b6 23. Rb1 Rab8 24. Nc4 Na4 25. Bg4 Rfd8 26. d6 h5 27. Bh3 b5 28.
Nxa5 Rxd6 29. Nc6 Rb6 30. Nb4 Nc3 31. Rb3 1/2-1/2[/pgn]
True to IM Greg Shahade's uschess prediction article, Anand is not to be underestimated. "I think it would be a serious mistake to underestimate him again. Anand has played on the biggest stage his entire career and he more than anyone knows what it takes to come through a Candidates tournament like this." Indeed, Anand scored the first blood of the event.
[pgn]

[Event "FIDE Candidates 2016"]
[Site "Moscow RUS"]
[White "Anand, Viswanathan"]
[Black "Topalov, Veselin"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "C65"]
[WhiteElo "2762"]
[BlackElo "2780"]
[PlyCount "97"]
[EventDate "2016.03.11"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. d3 Bc5 5. O-O d6 6. c3 O-O 7. Nbd2 Ne7 8. d4
exd4 9. cxd4 Bb6 10. Re1 Bg4 11. h3 Bh5 12. a4 a6 13. Bf1 Re8 14. a5 Ba7 15.
Qb3 Nc6 16. d5 Nd4 17. Nxd4 Bxd4 18. Qxb7 Nd7 19. Nc4 Nc5 20. Qc6 Nb3 21. Rb1
Nxc1 22. Rbxc1 Rb8 23. Qxa6 Qh4 24. Rc2 Rxe4 25. Ne3 Qd8 26. Qc4 Bg6 27. Bd3
Rf4 28. Bxg6 hxg6 29. g3 Re4 30. a6 Qe8 31. Rce2 Bb6 32. Qd3 Ra8 33. Kg2 Qa4
34. b3 Rd4 35. bxa4 Rxd3 36. Nc4 Rxa6 37. a5 Bd4 38. Re8+ Kh7 39. R1e7 Rc3 40.
Nd2 Rc2 41. Ne4 f6 42. h4 Rxa5 43. Rf7 g5 44. h5 Rxf2+ 45. Nxf2 Ra2 46. Rff8
Rxf2+ 47. Kh3 g4+ 48. Kxg4 f5+ 49. Rxf5 1-0[/pgn]

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