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Javier

Morozevich withdraws from Biel Festival. Some thoughts...

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As you probably know by now, GM Morozevich has withdrawn from the Biel Chess Festival.

 

Here's the organising committee.

 

 

 

Due to health issues, Alexander Morozevich retired from the Biel Grandmaster Tournament after Round 2. He has been this Wednesday with the organisers of the Festival to a hospital, where a doctor confirmed, with a medical certificate, his inability to go on to play the competition. Alexander Morozevich will travel back to Moscow as soon as possible to recover. The length of his healing process is unknown.

After the approval of the players, the organisers could secure a substitute. GM Victor Bologan (Moldova, World No 20, 2732 Elo) takes the place of Alexander Morozevich. He arrived already in Biel. He starts the tournament from Round 3. His game against Magnus Carlsen, scheduled for Wednesday July 25th, will be held on Sunday 29th. Victor Bologan will play his first game on Thursday July 26th against Hikaru Nakamura.

 

The 3 points of the victories of Anish Giri and Etienne Bacrot, achieved against Alexander Morozevich, are kept. Victor Bologan accepted to play with two games less.

 

Biel International Chess Festival

Organisation Committee

 

As you can probably imagine, there has been much speculation about the coincidence of this withdrawal and the 2-game losing streak of Morozevich in the first 2 rounds (His game against Bacrot, in quite dramatic circumstances, see the analysis of the game in the forum).

 

Although it is easy to label Morozevic as a "softie" I would like to point out 3 things:

 

- A quote from Kasparov: "Chess is the world's toughest sport, much tougher than boxing ..."

- The presumption of innocence in countries with a rule of law could be translated here as the "presumption that the reason to withdraw is genuine."

- Would it not be reasonable to argue that the 2 losses and the circumstances in which he lost have left him psychologically wounded? It hurts to lose at chess, you and I know how much. Why shouldn't the damage to our psychological state be a reasonable justification? psychological wounds can often be worse than physical ones...

 

True, at a professional level, this incident is not exactly something one would feel proud of. But do not forget that when Morozevic made that decision, he's aware of the consequences... and fortunately it seems that arranging a replacement (Bologan) was done in a quick and efficient manner.

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