Kramnik Withdraws From Sinquefield Cup, Cites Back Problems
Due to health issues, GM Vladimir Kramnik has withdrawn from the Sinquefield Cup, which starts next week in St. Louis. GM Peter Svidler will replace Kramnik. Update: Svidler's visa has been granted so he's set and ready to play in St. Louis.
Vladimir Kramnik is a regular Grand Chess Tour participant and was listed as one of the 10 players for this year's Sinquefield Cup, scheduled for August 5-15. However, the tournament sadly has to do without the world number-three.
Kramnik, who was going to make his debut in St. Louis, told Chess.com: “I have had back problems for quite some time already. Since it is getting worse, I just want to use this month to cure it.”
It's not the first time that Kramnik had to withdraw from a tournament for health reasons. Ten years ago, he canceled his participation in the 2006 Wijk aan Zee tournament as he was suffering from a severe form of arthritis. He fears that he is dealing with the same problem.
“It's less severe but still unpleasant and requires treatment,” said Kramnik. “I have been playing 'under pills' since Stavanger, but somehow I am tired already of it. Besides, I am sleeping badly due to pain. Dortmund was the same. So I decided to start taking care of it seriously.”
This might explain why Kramnik played so horribly on the last day in Paris.
The 14th world champion hopes to recover soon. He played in both Paris and Leuven, the first two legs of the Grand Chess Tour, and he intends to play the final leg as well, scheduled for December in London. His deadline for recovery will be September 1, the day when the Baku Olympiad starts. He is part of the Russian team together with GMs Sergey Karjakin, Alexander Grischuk, Evgeny Tomashevsky, and Ian Nepomniachtchi.
A source has told Chess.com that Kramnik will most likely be replaced by another Russian grandmaster: GM Peter Svidler. Grand Chess Tour Spokesman, Michael Khodarkovsky, confirmed that Svidler has been invited, but uncertainties with the process of acquiring a visa are preventing the organizers from officially announcing the change. [Update: now confirmed.]
Peter Svidler will replace Kramnik in St. Louis.
Kramnik has played chess in the United States before, winning the New York leg of the 1994 Intel/PCA Rapid Grand Prix, and being the top seed at the 1999 FIDE World Championship in Las Vegas.
The Sinquefield Cup is the third leg of the 2016 Grand Chess Tour. The participants will be GMs Viswanathan Anand, Levon Aronian, Fabiano Caruana, Anish Giri, Hikaru Nakamura, Wesley So, Veselin Topalov, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Ding Liren (the wild card), and Peter Svidler (yet to be confirmed).
Early next week, Chess.com will preview the Sinquefield Cup extensively. Below are the current Grand Chess Tour standings: