Family Duties

Chao Li. Foto: Tarjei J. SvensenChao Li. Foto: Tarjei J. Svensen

Magnus Carlsen has stolen the headlines in Stavanger with his two early victories. On Thursday he impressed with an exquisite attacking victory over Nils Grandelius, sacrificing a piece in the opening.

by Jonathan Tisdall/Tarjei J. Svensen

The Swede’s position was lost after just 14 moves, but it took some careful work to ensure the win. Black’s position was in ruins when he lost on time on the 39th move.

With 2.5/3 this year’s Altibox Norway Chess is the best start ever for the world champion in Stavanger.

«I’ve only done what I’m supposed to do. I’ve had a relatively easy start so far,» Carlsen told Norwegian newspaper VG.

Carlsen in the interview zone after his second round game with Topalov.

«I don’t think about it much. I just try to play. I am most satisfied with having won a few games,» Carlsen said. «I have had two games with the white pieces where I should have chances to press. I have made the most of this. So I am very satisfied.»

Chinese GM Chao Li faces Magnus Carlsen in the fourth round in Stavanger. They have met one time before, in the Qatar Masters Open last December where the world champion scored a crushing win with white.

«What kind of a game do you expect against Chao Li?»
«I don’t know. It will be exciting to see. It isn’t always so easy to know what to expect in the opening from him,» Carlsen said.

Family planning for Chao Li

The Chinese grandmaster drew his third game in a row at Stavanger, splitting the point on his 27th birthday while playing black against Levon Aronian.

In an interview with TV 2 reporter Kaja Snare, Chao Li was asked if he was satisfied with his birthday.

«No, on this day in China we have a tradition that one should start a family and conceive a child. So I am not sure if the age of 27 is good for me,» he said.

When Chao was revealed by Altibox Norway Chess as the replacement for Sergei Karjakin, he told Matt & Patt that he had to postpone his wedding. To be accurate, he had to reschedule the final part of his wedding ceremony. His wife had no problem agreeing to that, as long as there was a new addition to the family after the tournament was over.

Chao Li and Vladimir Kramnik with Jan Gustafsson and Peter Svidler on the tournament’s international broadcast show.

«Yes, but it is OK. She said that chess is more important. But that after the tournament I would have to think about us having a baby,» the 27-year-old said.

On the last rating list Chao Li is ranked 14th in the world, but has only moved up into the world elite in the past few years. His wife completely sympathized with how important this event is for him.

«Before our wedding on the 13th someone told me that I could play in this tournament, and this is a good opportunity for me. I was in Germany and told my wife about it on Skype and she understood that this was important. She doesn’t play chess, but she understands everything,» Chao said. «Sometimes, when I lose a bad game, she cries.»

About his expectations before his game with Carlsen he said yesterday: «I don’t know, I will just do my best. Isn’t there a rest day tomorrow?»

No, Saturday is a rest day.

«OK, I will just try to do my best.»