Latvian-born Spaniard Alexei Shirov found the going tough and played out a draw with Gata Kamsky of the United States in the first game of the finals of the chess World Cup in Khanty Mansiysk, Russia.
With the weather being unkind as usual at minus 25 degrees, Kamsky took a tough stand against the exploits of Shirov and stayed calm throughout the 42-move ritual that saw the point being split in the end in the finals of one of the toughest tournaments in the world on Thursday.
Having qualified through different rigorous matches leading to the finals both the players gave ample signs of a big fight in the first game and Kamsky turned on top eventually with his correct guess leading to equality in the first game of his big match since the 90s when he was considered a real formidable.
Kamsky, who never ran into any real danger throughout the event, went for his new-found love in the Brayer system of the Ruy Lopez and after he went for a relatively new plan Shirov did not have much to show from his arsenal.
Kamsky slowly and steadily dented Shirov's chances in the game with timely exchanges and the latter will now have to think of something better than a well cooked opening novelty in the next game to prove better than Kamsky.
It may be recalled that Kamsky had given up professional chess in the 90s to pursue a career in medicine and later abandoned it in favour of the 'law profession'. It was in 2004 only that he came back to competitive chess and in last one year his exploits have been excellent.
In case, he wins this World Cup, it will be a return which will be termed as unparallel in chess world.
The World Chess Cup started with 1298 players including five Indians and the last Indian survivor was Krishnan Sasikiran, who went out in round 4 after losing to Ukrainian Ruslan Ponomariov.
Kamsky beat Ponomariov en route to the finals and even though Shirov started as favourite, the pundits are now giving at least equal chance to him for the title.