DEFENDING champion and top seed Magnus Carlsen had a far-from-impressive start when he settled for a draw in the first game and lost the second at the Ali bin Hamad Al Atiyah Arena last Monday.
Indian Grandmaster Surya Sekhar Ganguly held him to a draw while Georgia’s Levan Pantsulaia stunned the in-form Norwegian in the second.
India’s Viswanathan Anand, a former world champion in classical format, however, started with a win against Kazakhstan’s Rinat Jumabayev.
Qatar Masters 2014 edition winner Yangyi Yu (China), Vassily Ivanchuk (Ukraine), Alexander Grischuk (Russia) and Levon Aronian (Armenia) were among the top players who won their first-round games.
In the women’s category, Ukrainian Anna Muzychuk, who won blitz title last year, lost her first-round rapid game against compatriot Natalia Zhukova. However, she beat Georgia’s Lela Javakhishvili.
The three-day rapid events will be followed by blitz on Thursday and Friday.