Viswanathan Anand made an indifferent start to his campaign at the Amber blindfold and rapid chess tournament, losing to Russian Alexander Morozevich in the first round in Monaco.
The five-time champion lost the first blindfold game against last year's joint winner Morozevich and then could not recover enough in the return rapid game to finally sign peace.
Anand lost to Morozevich from a seemingly innocuous opening. The Russian, who has done well in the past editions of the blindfold section, was in excellent form yet again catching Anand unawares in the late middle game stages.
The Reti opening gave Anand an easy game but Morozevich tightened the noose in the middle game. The Indian ace made the final mistake on the 41st move while in a difficult position and the Russian left no chances to clinch the issue seven moves later.
In the return rapid game, Anand tried to make amends against Morozevich's French defense but the Russian showed good defensive moves to keep the Indian at bay.
After regulation exchanges, the players arrived at a level minor piece endgame where peace was signed after 36 moves.