Li Chao replaces Karjakin at the Norway Chess 2016

4/9/2016 – One of the strongest elite tournament for the year Norway Chess 2016 is scheduled to begin from the 18th of April. Just 12 days before the start of the event Sergey Karjakin withdrew his name, citing tiredness and preparation as reasons for his inavailability. Two days later the organizers have found a replacement in the form of world number 15 and China number two, Li Chao. Addendum to the Karjakin's withdrawal article.

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Addendum: Just two days ago we reported that Sergey Karjakin has withdrawn his name from the Altibox Norway Chess 2016 (you can read the full report below). With ten days to go for the start of the event, the organizers have found a replacement in the form of Li Chao. The organizers made a press release on 8th of April 2016 stating that the Chinese grandmaster Li Chao will replace Sergey Karjakin:

Li Chao substitutes Sergey Karjakin in Altibox Norway Chess tournament 2016

Li Chao, born in 1989 takes on the challenge from Altibox Norway Chess. Li Chao is the second highest rated player in China and at present number 15 on the live rating list. Among his earlier victories are Graz Open with 8 points out of 9. He also won the European Club Cup together with Kramnik, Aronian and Grischuk.

After thorough discussions with his family, Li Chao is now postponing his wedding in order to participate in Altibox Norway Chess. The Altibox Norway Chess board are very happy that Li Chao has accepted participation on such a short notice and look forward to a spectacular tournament.

We only need to go back three months to remember what a brilliant game Magnus played against Li Chao
in the Qatar Masters 2015. The two will meet once again at the Norway Chess 2016 [picture by Amruta Mokal].

[Event "Qatar Masters Open 2015"] [Site "Doha QAT"] [Date "2015.12.24"] [Round "5.1"] [White "Carlsen, Magnus"] [Black "Li, Chao B"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D70"] [WhiteElo "2834"] [BlackElo "2750"] [Annotator "Sagar Shah"] [PlyCount "71"] [EventDate "2015.12.20"] {If there was a competition for the most entertaining game of the Qatar Masters 2015 until round five, it has to be this duel between the World Champion and Li Chao. Let us dive in to this beautiful game.} 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. f3 d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. e4 Nb6 6. Nc3 Bg7 7. Be3 O-O 8. Qd2 Nc6 9. O-O-O f5 10. e5 Nb4 11. Nh3 {In this position Be6 is the main move, but Li Chao played a novelty with Qe8. However it doesn't really alter the nature of the position and hence the impact of the new move is not so great.} Qe8 (11... Be6 12. Kb1 Qd7 13. Nf4 {is how play usually proceeds.}) 12. Kb1 {With this move starts some sort of a tempo war. White would like to play Nf4 but only when Black goes Be6. Hence both sides keep making improving moves and not committing to Nf4/Be6.} (12. Nf4 Qf7 13. Kb1 g5 $5) 12... a5 13. Be2 c6 {In the post game interview Magnus said that c6 was a good move but he was happy to see it because now the queen on e8 cannot really go to a4 and there will be no mate!} 14. Rc1 Kh8 15. Ka1 {All the useful moves have been made and Black has to play Be6 finally.} (15. a3 {is possible but Magnus didn't really want to create a target on the queenside.}) 15... Be6 16. Nf4 Qf7 {[#]} 17. h4 $1 {Once you see how interesting this move is you really go for it, although the consequences are not at all easy to calculate.} (17. Nxe6 Qxe6 18. h4 Rfd8 19. h5 g5 $11 { With Bxe5 coming up Black should be alright here.}) 17... Bxa2 (17... Rfd8 { could have been a much more safe way for Li Chao to play.} 18. h5 g5 $1 19. Nxe6 Qxe6 20. f4 (20. Bxg5 $2 Bxe5 $17) 20... gxf4 21. Bxf4 c5 $132) 18. h5 $1 Kg8 (18... g5 19. Ng6+ $1 {Of course this is the point. If the rook was not on f8 this was not possible and hence Rfd8 instead of Bxa2 could have been better. }) 19. hxg6 hxg6 20. g4 $1 {As Magnus rightly said, "It clearly feels that White should be the one coming first." Although for a normal player a4-a3 looks just as threatening.} Bb3 {Black now has the deadly threat of a4-a3. How do you deal with it?} (20... a4 21. gxf5 a3 22. b3 $1 {Closing things down.} Qxb3 23. Nxg6 $18) 21. Bd1 $1 {A great move that was missed by Li Chao. Well, truth be told it has only one purpose: to clear the second rank for the white queen to go to h2 and mate the black king. So Bf1 would also have worked but on d1 the bishop stays in the thick of things.} a4 22. Qh2 Rfd8 23. Qh7+ Kf8 24. d5 $1 {The idea of this move is to sever the connection of the queen on f7 and the bishop on b3, and also to open an attack on the knight on b6. But the main thing is the interference. So now if a3 then the bishop on b3 is hanging. Also the move e5-e6 becomes a killer move.} (24. Nxg6+ Ke8 {is not at all clear because how do you continue your attack? And at the same time a3 looks pretty strong.}) (24. e6 $2 Bxe6 $19) 24... Nc4 {A very interesting move by Li Chao. He is ready to even give up his queen if he can get in the move a3.} ( 24... a3 25. Bxb3 $1 {That was the point of 24.d5: to cut the communication between the bishop on b3 and the queen on f7.}) (24... N6xd5 25. e6 $1 Qf6 26. Nxg6+ Ke8 27. Qg8+ Bf8 28. Rh8 $18) (24... Bxd5 25. Bxb6 $18) (24... Bxd1 25. Ne6+ (25. e6 $6 a3 $1 26. exf7 axb2+ 27. Kxb2 Nc4+ 28. Kb1 Na3+ 29. Kb2 Nc4+ $11) 25... Ke8 26. Nxg7+ Kf8 27. Qh8+ $18) 25. Nxg6+ $1 Ke8 26. e6 $1 a3 27. exf7+ {A queen falling with check must be taken. Later other things can be thought about!} Kd7 28. Ne5+ $1 (28. f8=N+ $4 {looks cute but truth be told it loses to Ke8 as avoiding mate on the queenside is impossible. But also Magnus didn't want to get up from the board and ask for another knight!} Ke8 29. bxa3 Rxa3+ 30. Kb1 Rda8 $1 $19) 28... Bxe5 (28... Kc7 29. Nxc4 $18) 29. Qxf5+ Kc7 30. Qxe5+ $1 Nxe5 31. Bxb3 axb2+ 32. Kxb2 Nbd3+ 33. Kb1 Nxc1 (33... Ra3 34. Nb5+ $18) 34. Rxc1 {White is now completely winning.} Kc8 35. dxc6 bxc6 36. f4 {A beautiful game with lot of unusual moves. But when you think deeply about it, each and every move had a clear purpose behind it. Computer engines might give White a clear edge since the 17th move, but in a practical game when your king is under such an attack it is not so simple.} 1-0

Li Chao with his wife to be (centre) at the Qatar Masters 2015.
Li Chao has postponed his marriage in order to take part in the Norway Chess Challenge 2016.


Karjakin withdraws from Norway Chess

Our article on 7th of April 2016 

On 28th of March 2016, Sergey Karjakin won the Candidates 2016 and earned the right to challenge Magnus Carlsen for the World Championship Match, that would be held later this year. Chess fans were excited that Magnus and Sergey were going to meet each other over the board at the Altibox Norway Chess 2016.

The impressive line up of Norway Chess 2016. The qualifier (third from left) is Nils Grandelius

The participants for the event are:

1 Magnus Carlsen 2851
2 Vladimir Kramnik 2801
3 Anish Giri 2790
4 Maxime Vachier Lagrave 2788
5 Levon Aronian 2784
6 Sergey Karjakin 2779
7 Pavel Eljanov 2765
8 Pentala Harikrishna 2763
9 Veselin Topalov 2754
10 Nils Grandelius 2649

The Altibox Norway Chess 2016 is going to be held from the 18th to the 30th of April 2016 in Stavanger, Norway. Just twelve days before the tournament began Sergey Karjakin has withdrawn his entry from the tournament.

The statement of Karjakin's manager

This is what Karjakin's manager Kirill Zangalis said in a telephonic conversation with R sport:

"Karjakin won’t play in the prestigious tournament in Stavanger. It was with great pleasure that Sergey accepted the invitation from the organisers of the Norway Chess, after being the winner in 2013 and 2014. But the explanation for withdrawal put quite simply is: no-one in advance could have guaranteed Karjakin's victory at the Candidates Tournament. Now Sergei has a different status and has decided to concentrate fully on preparing for the match for the world crown. Also the Candidates Tournament cost him almost all his energy."

Manager Kirill Zangalis with Sergey Karjakin after he won the Candidates 2016 [photo by Amruta Mokal]

Press release by Norway Chess

Karjakin's decision to withdraw from the tournament didn't go so well with the Norway Chess organizers who issued a press release entitled "Direspectful of Karjakin". This is what they wrote:

Disrespectful of Karjakin

"The hosts behind the Altibox Norway Chess tournament are surprised that Sergey Karjakin withdraws from the upcoming tournament in Stavanger. Karjakin has a signed contract with us and it does not state that he can withdraw from the tournament if he qualifies for the World Championship in November, states Jøran Aulin-Jansson. – This action feels disrespectful to us as the organizers of the event as well as the other players in the tournament, not to mention the entire chess world that were looking forward to the dress rehearsal for the World Championship match between Karjakin and Magnus Carlsen, says Aulin-Jansson. The message that Karjakin is withdrawing from Altibox Norway Chess was received from the Russian Chess Federation only 12 days before the start of the tournament. Aulin-Jansson makes it clear that the last words in this matter have not been spoken. – Sergey Karjakin is a great chess player and he is still welcome as a participant in Altibox Norway Chess 2016. He has, after all, won both times he has participated, says Aulin-Jansson. – Karjakin obviously has a lot of nerves before his first World Championship match, however, we truly wish Karjakin and his advisors understand that one can not just run away from agreements because it suddenly does not fit in preparation for a match that does not start until about half a year later."

The History

Only three editions of the Norway Chess have taken place in the past. Out of these three Sergey Karjakin has won twice in 2013 and 2014. This is how final standings looked for both the years in which Karjakin won:

Final standings for Norway Chess 2013

Final standings for the No Logo Norway Chess 2014

It was obvious that the two-time winner Sergey Karjakin would be invited to the third edition in 2015. The organizers did invite him but there was no formal contract signed between the organzers and Karjakin. A few months before the tournament Sergey's name was removed from the players list because Norway Chess had become a part of the Grand Chess Tour. Karjakin had not qualified for the Grand Chess Tour and hence could not be a part of the 2015 edition. The organizers asked Sergey to play in the qualifier tournament as there was one spot that was yet to be filled. But Karjakin, of course, found it humiliating that being the two-time winner he was asked to participate in the qualifier event. You can find Karjakin's Facebook post from May 11, 2015 over here.

By withdrawing his name from the 2016 edition is Karjakin going for a "tit-for-tat" approach? Here is what ACP President Emil Sutovsky had to say in his facebook post which is followed and commented upon by many of the leading grandmasters all over the world.

Sergey Karjakin's decision to withdraw from the Altibox Norway Chess in Stavanger just 12 days prior to start of the...

Posted by Emil Sutovsky on Wednesday, April 6, 2016

 

Who will replace Karjakin?

From Magnus' tweet it seems as if the man who will replace Karjakin will be Jon Ludvig Hammer.

But Hammer is of the opinion that it would be fair to have another qualifier event:

Who do you think will replace Sergey Karjakin as one of the participants in the event?

 

 

 

Playchess commentary schedule for the Norway Chess 2016

 

Date

Day

Round No.

English

Deutsch

19.04.2016

Tuesday

Round 1

Simon Williams

Klaus Bischoff

20.04.2016

Wednesday

Round 2

Daniel King

Klaus Bischoff

21.04.2016

Thursday

Round 3

Yannick Pelletier

Klaus Bischoff

22.04.2016

Friday

Round 4

Daniel King

Oliver Reeh

23.04.2016

Saturday

Free

 

 

24.04.2016

Sunday

Round 5

Simon Williams

Thomas Luther

25.04.2016

Monday

Round 6

Yannick Pelletier

Thomas Luther

26.04.2016

Tuesday

Free

 

 

27.04.2016

Wednesday

Round 7

Simon Williams

Klaus Bischoff

28.04.2016

Thursday

Round 8

Yannick Pelletier

Klaus Bischoff

29.04.2016

Friday

Round 9

Daniel King

Klaus Bischoff   

Links

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tom_robinson tom_robinson 11/4/2016 03:50
Er du økonomisk presset. Dette er en mulighet for deg. Benytt denne muligheten og gjøre en endring av situasjonen. Hvis du har behov for å låne kort og lang sikt, er vi til tjeneste. Alle lån er underlagt helsesjekk, kreditt tilgjengelighet og forhåndsgodkjenning i henhold til kriteriene for Benjamin lån fast. Nødvendig dokumentasjon og søknaden kan bli forsinket hvis identitet eller tilstanden krever ytterligere bekreftelse.
E-post: benjaminloans00@gmail.com
tom_robinson tom_robinson 11/4/2016 03:49
Er du økonomisk presset. Dette er en mulighet for deg. Benytt denne muligheten og gjøre en endring av situasjonen. Hvis du har behov for å låne kort og lang sikt, er vi til tjeneste. Alle lån er underlagt helsesjekk, kreditt tilgjengelighet og forhåndsgodkjenning i henhold til kriteriene for Benjamin lån fast. Nødvendig dokumentasjon og søknaden kan bli forsinket hvis identitet eller tilstanden krever ytterligere bekreftelse.
E-post: benjaminloans00@gmail.com
michaelriber michaelriber 4/11/2016 09:16
I didn't mean any disrespect to Li Chao, of course. But Hammer still seems the obvious choice to me - and since he took part in the qualifier, he must have been prepared to play in the main event had he qualified. So I guess he chickened out - or was paid off by the organizers...
fightingchess fightingchess 4/10/2016 04:44
lol some random chinese player?! i think Li chao deserved this chance. he has been playing successfully in open tournaments for a long time and now his efforts paid off and he is invited to a great top tournament and finally will be recognized as a top player and earns some money. this chance meant so much to him that he postponed his wedding. i am happy for him.
Behemoth2016 Behemoth2016 4/10/2016 02:35
michaelriber,

I totally agree with your statement regarding Karjakin's ungentlemanly and unprofessional behaviour.

As for the replacement: most top players would not enter completely unprepared and in the last moment such a tournament. Usually they plan their commitments a long time in advance, and I guess a lot of players wouldn't play also because it would not fit in with other obligations or plans. We also don't know with whom the organizers negotiated and who was really ready to play. So let's be fair to Li Chao: he is for sure not "some random Chinese player" and got the organizers out of a lot of trouble caused by the irresponsible break of contract by an immature and ill-advised candidate who proved that he is not really a correct sportsman.
michaelriber michaelriber 4/10/2016 12:25
Karjakin should do the professional and gentlemanly thing and honour his commitment. Whether the agreement is written or oral, it still counts. And of course 6 months must be more than enough to prepare for the championship match.

But to comment on the actual topic of the article, I find it even more pathetic that the organizers choose to invite some random Chinese player instead, just to attract interest from the Chinese market. The way I see it, there are 2-3 logical choices in case of withdrawals, and Li Chao is none of them: 1) The runner-up in the qualifier; 2) The highest-rated player not already taking part; 3) The next best player from the "host nation". Obviously Hammer fulfills both 1) and 3) and should have been invited. But it seems maybe he was and chickened out...
bachma1 bachma1 4/10/2016 12:44
Let's make simple thing as simple as it can be: Karjakin doesn't want to play at this tournament due to whatever the reasons (personal reasons).
Lesson to learn from the organizer is always think ahead in case someone withdraw for any reason they should have a back up; that is simple thing!
Lesson for chess players: be yourself! Enjoy what you are doing is better than what people tell you or ask you to do.
LetoAtreides82 LetoAtreides82 4/9/2016 02:02
I find Norway's comments towards Karjakin very disrespectful and unprofessional. It is normal for chess players to cancel tournaments when they qualify or are set to have a world championship match. Kasparov for example did it all the time, did people disrespect him or call him chicken? As for the chicken remarks, if Karjakin was a chicken he would drop out of the championship match. All Karjakin is doing is giving himself the time he needs to focus and prepare for the match. Carlsen probably should do the same thing but that's up to Carlsen, perhaps he knows what would work for him, he does have the experience, but what works for one person wouldn't necessarily work for another.
Mr TambourineMan Mr TambourineMan 4/9/2016 01:14
I did wonder what Hammer had for excuse or whitewash
But this becomes quite uninteresting when one see this:
Chao postponing his own wedding in favor of a chesstournament!
Rational Rational 4/9/2016 12:32
Winning the candidates makes a huge change to the status and earning power of a chess player, in a way as great a jump in status as going on and actually winning the WC match itself. So it is perfectly understandable that Karjakin's plans would change.
firestorm firestorm 4/9/2016 11:44
Since Caruana's never been in the list of participants as far as I'm aware, its possible he had a bit more foresight and declined to play with it being fairly soon after the candidates- if he was invited when the event was being organised. He could have been invited after Karjakin's withdrawal- its not clear whether Li Chao was the first choice, but even so- good choice.

Hawkman Hawkman 4/9/2016 09:36
It should obviously have been #3 Caruana 2795
BeachBum2 BeachBum2 4/9/2016 04:30
I understand Karjakin. If there was a contract, there should have been a paragraph about canceling it. They should just follow it. If I was Karjakin, I would probably even have the contract made with an option to not play if winning qualifiers. In any case, strange to see any "disrespect" mentioned towards him. Though Karjakin should have notified them right after qualifying… I hope he was not celebrating all those days in a… Russian style :) and realized there is a tourney only now…
Grey Hiker Grey Hiker 4/8/2016 11:00
I think that if this was any tournament but Norway Chess, Karjakin would be playing. Sure he's tired and wants to prepare for the (distant) WC, but honoring his contracts is surely in his own long-term self-interest, so there's got to be more to it than that. And there is.

Last year the organizers invited the two-time defending champion, and he accepted, but the contract never arrived. Why? Because the organizers were secretly negotiating with the World Chess Tour, and Karjakin wasn't eligible. Such agreements don't happen overnight, and Karjakin surely feels the organizers strung him along, then dumped him as soon as it was convenient to do so. In case Karjakin missed the "we're now more important than you and we don't need you anymore" message, the insulting offer to play in the qualifier made it obvious.

It's surely not an accident that the withdrawal notice prominently states that Karjakin's "status has changed". Tit-for-tat. An "unprofessional" act by Karjakin? Maybe. A history of crass self-interest and player abuse on the part of the organizers? Certainly. An "unjustified" withdrawal? Maybe not.
cote104 cote104 4/8/2016 10:46
Kajarkin is now under extreme pressure to bring home the championship to the Mother Land............what a joke.............Caruana is a much better player.........what a shame.....ooh welllllllllllll
Raymond Labelle Raymond Labelle 4/8/2016 10:39
SK may have underestimated how exhausting is the Candidates before having accepted to participate in Norway Chess. MC is back from vacations.
ransith ransith 4/8/2016 09:30
In my opinion preparing for a world championship match is a fair reason to withdraw from a tournament. I am surprised that this is stated as "disrespectful" by the Norway chess. I would say "unprofessional" would be a better word. If you win a tournament in 2013 and 2014 and you are asked to play a qualifier to play in this in 2015 it can be termed as disrespectful.
Nostalgiac1972 Nostalgiac1972 4/8/2016 08:37
Hi firestorm
Definitely! :))
firestorm firestorm 4/8/2016 08:32
You could well be right, but regarding withdrawing from the tournament- I checked the Grand Chess Tour for participants, and Karjakin isn't one of the players (either as top 10 by rating or wild card invitation) for 2016, so I guess he really is going to spend the next 6 months training.

One thing I hope we can agree on- this one should be a great world championship! :)
Nostalgiac1972 Nostalgiac1972 4/8/2016 08:19
Hi Firestorm
Basically these things cannot be proved or disproved by discussion. All I am sure about is that Karjakin, now seeing he has made it, is having second thoughts and there can well be so many ulterior motives at the sideline too. And I feel he has made it judging by MC's tweet. :)
firestorm firestorm 4/8/2016 08:13
Hi Nostalgiac 1972 :)

Actually, I think you have a point- the possibility of mind games started after the celebrations of the candidates finishing died down. It does make sense for Karjakin to give as little material from now on for Carlsen to work on, whereas I'm guessing MC will play to all his commitments. But ... I still think that once Carlsen has the Norway tournament on his mind, and he does now, all other thoughts will be gone, particularly once he is sitting at the board.

Think it is worth having a look at his schedule up to the world ch ... do you (or anyone else) know it?

Just curious :)
qiqiangzhu qiqiangzhu 4/8/2016 07:51
Where is Nakamura?
glanmaster glanmaster 4/8/2016 07:27
A contract is a contract is a contract, period. I agree with GM Emil Sutovsky. If Sergey wants to break said contract he should compensate the Norway organizers. His backers have deep pockets so let them pay compensation. If Hammer can not play then let Hou Yifan play. Speaking of the ladies World Champion. Two years ago when Fide changed the World Championship date she refused to back out of an already committed event in Hawaii. She lost her standing as world champion and had to win the right to play again. That is the right thing to do. We all know that training for a world championship requires an incredible amount of work and planning. We also know that things don't always go as planned. Interestingly enough is the belief that by withdrawing from Norway this will help him come in at an optimal state for the match. Poppycock !! If he wins the World Championship against Carlsen then he will look like a genius, if not, his backing out of a contract can not be viewed in any light but a negative. His decision is one that will be considered by organizers throughout his playing life.
Nostalgiac1972 Nostalgiac1972 4/8/2016 07:16
"First, thanks for your nice comment :) Second, don't think Magnus has to an "emotionless engine" not to be bothered whether Karjakin plays or not- they'll be playing in November so one game more or less, its all the same to him :)"

You're most welcome! :) but I think you tend to see things on a very general basis. From now on, the gestures, words, tweets, wordings presences and absences are all politically meaningful and part of a psychological warfare. So I believe it works much much more than "one game more or less" on the ground.

"Bigger fish to fry at the moment; plus I would have said Karjakin withdrawing takes pressure off Carlsen, not puts it on- though frankly, if he lost to Karjakin in Norway then that would really make him work for the WC."

That may be right, but this is just one side. You know, I think there is no concrete point in taking part or not taking part by Karjakin in the tournament beside the reasons he stated. As far as off-board politics go, his participation would have invoked its own psychological guessworks as his withdrawal might have. :)

Your Move! :))
firestorm firestorm 4/8/2016 06:42
Nostalgiac1972 7 hours ago
"firestorm 1 hour ago
Somehow I doubt Carlsen will feel any pressure whatsoever from Karjakin's withdrawal- he's there to play chess against whoever else turns up :-)"

Probably so; but Carlsen too is a human being and not an emotionless engine waiting to be turned on at the time of a game, dear! It seems like his tweet kind of suggests such pressure on him. :)

First, thanks for your nice comment :) Second, don't think Magnus has to an "emotionless engine" not to be bothered whether Karjakin plays or not- they'll be playing in November so one game more or less, its all the same to him :)

Bigger fish to fry at the moment; plus I would have said Karjakin withdrawing takes pressure off Carlsen, not puts it on- though frankly, if he lost to Karjakin in Norway then that would really make him work for the WC.

Your turn :)
ulyssesganesh ulyssesganesh 4/8/2016 06:08
what about caruana or vishy as replacement?????
geraldsky geraldsky 4/8/2016 05:38
Norway Chess organizers knew that SK was tired and cannot play well in their organized tournament, but SK made the right choice --To withdraw!
geraldsky geraldsky 4/8/2016 05:32
I still understand the side of the player in this situation. I think the organizers has no respect.
BelowZero BelowZero 4/8/2016 12:45
It's too bad, professional chess just got a boost from the Candidates Tournament, now this. Pro chess is such a tiny crumb in the cake of pro sports, any time it shoots itself in the foot the crumb just gets smaller. (This is a criticism of the tournament organizers and of Karjakin -- both could have handled the situation better.)
SILVER STEEL SILVER STEEL 4/8/2016 11:58
The right choice for Karjakin. I would do the same if I am in his place.

SILVER STEEL
digupagal digupagal 4/8/2016 11:44
My only view is, It would have been fair if he had withdrawn the day he won the candidates or a day after.
This shows that he is very indecisive in his approach.

The reason he has given "To prepare for final" was true, the day he won the candidates as well and he should have withdrawn much earlier than this.
Nostalgiac1972 Nostalgiac1972 4/8/2016 11:37
"firestorm 1 hour ago
Somehow I doubt Carlsen will feel any pressure whatsoever from Karjakin's withdrawal- he's there to play chess against whoever else turns up :-)"

Probably so; but Carlsen too is a human being and not an emotionless engine waiting to be turned on at the time of a game, dear! It seems like his tweet kind of suggests such pressure on him. :)
malfa malfa 4/8/2016 10:42
Definitely there are good reasons in favour of Hammer's participation, yet from the point of view of the overall tournament strength, hence of its prestige, replacing Karjakin wih a player who is rated about 100 points below would not be a great idea, so it is possibile that the organizers invite another over-2700 GM.
ku5htr1m ku5htr1m 4/8/2016 10:30
hope its sasha
firestorm firestorm 4/8/2016 10:25
Somehow I doubt Carlsen will feel any pressure whatsoever from Karjakin's withdrawal- he's there to play chess against whoever else turns up :-)
Pecas Pecas 4/8/2016 08:13
Correct and entirely respectable decision of Cheto Karjakin. Now that if you want a substitute worthy of that tournament. Because I am here.
Nostalgiac1972 Nostalgiac1972 4/8/2016 07:03
Watching the story from Carlsen's point of view, one can understand how smart and foxy Karjakin's decision could have been! This must have left a deep psychological impact on the World Champion who must psychologically be under some kind of pressure now and the fresh clash with Sergey could give him some confidence and an objective evaluation of their coming encounter. Good off- board game Karjakin has started! :)
Nostalgiac1972 Nostalgiac1972 4/8/2016 06:43
The organizers should respect Karjakin's decision. They cannot set too much expectation especially if they see how they have behaved the 2016 challenger in the past. Although to me, the tournament can be a great opportunity for Sergey, I'm sure there are ulterior motives to his withdrawal and he is considering not sacrificing his dignity.
MKT MKT 4/8/2016 06:19
Absolutely gutless, he needs to take Carlsen on, not shy away into the shadows so he can merely watch. While the world championship is obviously an important tournament, it is still a long time away, and he basically downgraded a tournament he has won twice with that managerial faux pas.
Blackacre Blackacre 4/8/2016 05:56
Agree with the organizers. Karjakin knew that the Candidates Tournament would be held shortly before this tournament and must have considered the possibility that he would win the Candidates. If he thought that was a reason to skip the Norway tournament, then he should have insisted on a contract that said so. The same goes for his plea of exhaustion. If he didn't think he could play the two tournaments so close together, then he shouldn't have contracted to play in the second.