World champion Viswanathan Anand got off to a good start in the Tal Memorial chess tournament, finishing second in the blitz event, in Moscow.
Remaining undefeated, Anand scored 6.5 points in the ten-player round-robin event and placed a clear second.
Hikaru Nakamura of the United States won the tournament comprehensively, scoring seven points. He was the other player besides Anand who was undefeated in the 15,000 Euro prize-money event.
Anand ensured he would get five whites in the nine rounds. The Indian ace will meet Fabiano Caruana of Italy, who recently overtook him in the live ratings.
The drawing of lots was done after the blitz tournament, and, according to standings in blitz, the players were asked to choose their numbers.
Nakamura had the first choice and chose white, while Anand opted for 'two' as his number.
Russian Vladimir Kramnik was next and surprisingly chose number seven, which means he was ready to play with five blacks -- considered a slight disadvantage in top level chess.
Kramnik explained his decision after the ceremony, citing the tie-break rules that hugely favour the number of black games played in the tournament.
World No 1 Magnus Carlsen of Norway did not have a good time in the blitz event and will be hoping for vengeance against an elite field in one of the toughest tournaments ever in terms of average ratings.
Top seed Carlsen will play Kramnik in the opener.
The tournament is a fine mix, with Dimitry Andreikin, Alexander Morozevich, Sergey Karjaki and Kramnik filling the Russian vacancies. Shakhriyayr Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan and Boris Gelfand of Israel complete the ten-player line-up.
While most elite chess tournaments only have thick appearance fee cheques largely, there is 100,000 Euro prize-money at stake, with 30,000 reserved for the winner.
The tournament will be played under Classical time control, with 100 minutes for 40 moves, 50 for the next 20 and then 15 minutes sudden-death, with 30 seconds increment from move one.
For Anand, the biggest game will be against Carlsen in round five, which will be the last clash between the two ahead of the next World Championship, scheduled in Chennai in November.
Before that, the World champion will be hoping for a good start with white against Caruana.
Pairings round 1: V Anand (Ind) v Fabiano Caruana (Ita); Magnus Carlsen (Nor) v Vladimir Kramnik (Rus); Hikaru Nakamura (Usa) v Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Aze); Boris Gelfand (Isr) v Sergey Karjakin (Rus); Dmitry Andreikin (Rus) v Alexander Morozevich (Rus).
Blitz standings: 1. Nakamura 7; 2. Anand 6.5; 3. Kramnik 5.5; 4-5. Carlsen, Gelfand 4.5 each; 6-7. Mamedyarov, Andreikin 4 each; 8. Karjakin 3.5; 9. Morozevich 3; 10. Caruana 2.5.
Image: Viswanathan Anand
Photograph: Patrik Stollarz/Getty Images