The World Chess Championship opener ended in a draw ©Getty Images

The opening match of this year's World Chess Championship between Norway's defending champion Magnus Carlsen and Russian challenger Sergey Karjakin was drawn at the Fulton Market Building in New York City.

Organisers the World Chess Federation (FIDE) described the affair as "relatively quiet" and tense at times, but lacking "pyrotechnics". 

Hollywood actor Woody Harrelson made the ceremonial first move before Carlsen, playing with white, surprised Karjakin by opening with the Trompowsky Attack.

This move sees the player with white pieces sacrifice his bishop for his rival's knight, and was an intriguing tactic on day one.

The Norwegian played quickly, suggesting he had planned the Trompowsky prior to the match, with the Russian performing more cautiously on his first World Championship outing.

Karjakin was able to avoid major difficulty with most major pieces taken on each side after just 19 moves.

Magnus Carlsen opened the match with the Trompowsky Attack ©Getty Images
Magnus Carlsen opened the match with the Trompowsky Attack ©Getty Images

Twenty-five-year-old Carlsen, the world champion since 2013, kept the game going but the draw was always the likely outcome and stalemate was called after 42 moves and four hours of play. 

It means both players get half a point with 12 matches taking place in all. 

The event is taking place without FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, with the Russian forced to miss out after he was refused a visa to the United States.

He was added to a sanctions list by the US Department of Treasury last November, after officials claimed he had been "materially assisting and acting for or on behalf of the Government of Syria, Central Bank of Syria".

Ilyumzhinov denied the allegations against him and insisted his only dealings with the war-torn country were part of his duties as FIDE President, even offering to take a lie detector test to prove his innocence.

FIDE also lost a legal bid to block websites reporting moves from the Championship as they happen.

US District Judge Victor Marrero ruled that they did not present a sufficient case to justify the move, with FIDE hoping to "protect the event's rights".

Twenty-six-year-old Karjakin will play with white pieces tomorrow.