Round 1 of Dortmund got off to a (yaaaaaaaaaaaaawn) rousing start with four draws (three of them pretty stable from start to finish) and a surprisingly simple-looking technical win by Georg Meier on the white side of a Catalan against Mateusz Bartel. Meier opined that Bartel's 16...a6 was a serious error, and 17...h6 eliminated what remaining chances Black had to hold.
The marquee matchup between Sergey Karjakin and Vladimir Kramnik saw Karjakin push a little on the white side of a Mieses Scotch, but Kramnik was able to solve the problem of developing his kingside and the game soon reached a drawn ending.
Daniel Fridman vs. Jan Gustafsson also saw White enjoy a little pull, and of a more enduring form that Karjakin's edge. Nevertheless, Gustafsson managed to achieve a fortress of sorts, and after tacking around a while Fridman gave in to the inevitable and called it a day.
Peter Leko and Ruslan Ponomariov had the sleepiest draw of the bunch. Leko aimed to get a nibble in a 7.dxc5 Classical QGA, but Ponomariov never had even the least trouble. If there were any tiny problems for either player, they were Leko's, but he coped with ease and like the K-K game, they called it a day in a rook ending.
Fabiano Caruana had a much more up and down draw in his game against Arkadij Naiditsch. Like Karjakin, he punted a Scotch, but Naiditsch chose the 4...Bc5 line instead. First Caruana was better, then Naiditsch (according to Mark Crowther, 30.Rf3? was a mistake, and then on moves 36 and 38 Black could have won with ...Re1+), and finally it all ended peacefully when only the two kings remained after 60 moves.
Thus Meier is in first, Bartel is in last, and everyone else is tied for second. The round 2 pairings look like this:
- Gustafsson - Kramnik
- Bartel - Karjakin
- Naiditsch - Meier
- Ponomariov - Caruana
- Fridman - Leko