Anand played at this level after a gap of 15 years. He had lost the first game against Kovalyov and had to win the second to equalize and force a tiebreaker. But in just 31 moves, the Canadian took away all hopes from the Indian.
The defeat may be the end of Anand's aspirations for a World Championship match in 2018 unless he gets a wildcard in the next year's candidates' tournament.
Some other giants that were killed: defending champion Sergey Karjakin of Russia and Michael Adams of England, who were beaten by Daniil Dubov and Maxim Rodshtein of Israel respectively.
And world champion Magnus Carslon beat Russian Aleksei Dreev (No. 65), now facing Bu Xiangzhi from China.
And the French champion, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave had one win and one draw against Boris Grachev from Russia. He will play Alexander Lederman of the US in round 3.
The championships total 7 rounds, and end on Sept. 27.