Li Chao, China’s second-highest-rated chess player and 15th on the live rating list, has accepted an invitation to play in the Norway Chess tournament that starts next week in Stavanger. Li will replace Sergey Karjakin, the Ukrainian-Russia player who announced he was dropping out on Wednsday.
Organizers of the major Norwegian tournament in Stavanger were furious that Karjakin withdrew, claiming he needed to prepare instead for his upcoming World Championship match against Norway’s own Magnus Carlsen in November. While Norway Chess is evaluating whether to file legal or financial claims against Karjakin, they needed to find a last-minute replacement.
Li was willing to postpone his own wedding in order to participate in Norway Chess, with organizers careful to point out that Li’s decision came “after thorough discussions with his family.”
Li, born in 1989, has earlier won the Graz Open and the European Club Cup. The Norway Chess board stated they were “very happy that Li Chao accepted participation” on such short notice, and that they look forward to a “spectacular tournament.”