World #7 Alexander Morozevich has dropped out of Corus Wijk aan Zee with the flu. He will be replaced by #6, Veselin Topalov. If Morozevich dropping out of supertournament sounds familiar, you have a good memory. The Russian star was hotter than hot in 1998 and everyone was looking forward to seeing how his dynamic, unorthodox style would do in a supertournament. He was scheduled to play in Dos Hermanas in 1999, but bowed out at the last second.
As I wrote in Mig on Chess #114 way back then: "World number five Alexander Morozevich of Russia has bowed out of the Dos Hermanas tournament at the last minute due to illness and will be replaced by Belorussian Boris Gelfand. This is a great disappointment to all of us who were eager to see the young Russian tested against the world's best after a year of amazing results. Expectations had been high so maybe nerves had an effect on the wispy lad's immune system? Whatever it is it seemed to come on fast because Morozevich had already arrived in Dos Hermanas!"
Moro is one of many top players to claim retirement in the past few years, while playing just as many games. Mostly they seem to do this to protest the decline in big-money invitations and the loss of the FIDE KO in the past two years. That's it, guys. When the going gets tough, the tough, umm, whine and say they're going to retire.
Topalov has stronger claims on inactivity. He played in many rapid events in 2003, but his only classical games of the last year were back in the last edition of Corus in January.