"Let us put it this way: An easy and comfortable draw with the black pieces is a satisfactory result," remarked Anand in the post match press conference about the game's result.
The first game got underway at the Hyatt Regency Hotel here at 3 pm, with Carlsen playing white. He moved his horse to Nf3, a move that is rarely played at this level.
Anand replied, pushing his queen pawn two squares forward. The game started like Reti opening and soon got changed with Carlsen fianchettoing both his bishops and Anand his black bishop.
While Carlsen took his king to safety by castling on his fifth move, Anand followed a move later. The game progressed with both players focusing on controlling the squares on their queen side.
Though Anand seemed to have a slight positional advantage, it was a razor-edge one, and both players had a long way to go.
At the 13th move, Anand put Carlsen in a bind moving his knight Nc4 threatening the latter's black bishop. "In a fianchettoed position, the bishop has to be retained and cannot be exchanged for a horse," R. Raghunathan, former national-level player, told IANS.
Anand will have the advantage of playing white on Sunday
In the next move, Anand brought his other knight to d5 square to which Carlsen replied with a queen move, threatening one of the horses.It then became clear that the players were on razor edge, and the one way of getting out without getting cut is a draw. Repeating the moves both the kings of 64 squares waved white flags and had small chat at the table.
Commenting on the game, Indian Grandmaster R.B. Ramesh told IANS: "The draw with black pieces will be a psychological boost for Anand. The last two games Anand lost to Carlsen playing black. The black piece jinx against Carlsen has been stopped."
He said having neutralized Carlsen's white piece advantage on the first day, Anand will have the advantage of playing white on Sunday.
On Carlsen's opening move, Ramesh said: "Such moves were expected to surprise Anand. But Anand's responses to the challenger's moves shows that he is well prepared to meet any surprises."According to him, Carlsen will be under pressure to defend playing black if Anand continues to neutralise the challenger when he plays with white pieces. Carlsen said he was happy at the way the game progressed, and not happy that the game ended in a draw.
Queried about the quick draw though his strength lies in middle and endgame, Carlsen said with strong opponents, even playing white, one could not do much.