Vladimir Kramnik has withdrawn from the inaugural Norway Chess 2013 super-tournament to be held from 7-18 May in Stavanger, Norway.
The RCF (Russian Chess Federation) approached the tournament organisers to request that Kramnik be released from his obligation so that he could play in the Tal Memorial instead.
This is slightly odd, since the dates for the two tournaments don't overlap - the Tal Memorial is scheduled for 12-24 June. However, Kramnik is also playing in the new Alekhine Memorial tournament starting soon (20 April - 1 May) and felt it was too strenuous to take on all 3 events.
Besides, Kramnik also reportedly has other promotional commitments during May, and keeping the Russian sponsors happy was clearly a major consideration for the RCF. From Kramnik's point of view, he may also have been happy to avoid playing Veselin Topalov in the Norway tournament.
Peter Svidler and Vladimir Kramnik at the recent Candidates tournament
The Norway organisers graciously agreed, accepting the RCF's offer of Peter Svidler as a replacement:
We are sad to inform you that Mr. Kramnik is not playing in Norway Chess, but very happy to inform that Peter Svidler is! We received a nice letter from the Russian chess Federation with polite request if we could let Mr. Kramnik cancel his contract due to his very busy schedule this spring. After receiving Mr. Svidler sporty acceptance, we found no good reason to be difficult. With Mr. Svidler on board, a 6-time winner of the Russian Championship, and he beat Magnus in their last game, we believe the tournament will be one of the best ever. We hope to see Mr. Kramnik in Norway at a later stage.
Peter Svidler is an excellent replacement, but it's still a great shame for Norway that their best laid plans have been disrupted. The revised Norway 2013 line-up and rankings look like this:
||Hammer, Jon Ludvig
The official Norway 2013 website is here. Photo by Ray Morris-Hill.