Anti Doping Madness
Chess as an Olympic sport sounded awful to me when I heard it 10 years back and that idea hasn’t aged well. First of all, chess has its own, once in 2 years, Olympiad with a rich tradition and history. It does not make sense to include chess in a setting where the motto is Citius, Altius, Fortius – Swifter, Higher, Stronger. Olympics is fundamentally an athletic endevor, after all. But, FIDE has been pushing for inclusion of chess and IOC has been rejecting it for a while now. That has not stopped the overlords at FIDE from insisting on the insanity that it is – drug testing in chess, which apparently is an IOC requirement for a sport to be included in Olympics. Now, it looks like this madness is going to have its first high profile victim – Vassily Ivanchuk. In the frustration of losing his board one game against Kamsky in the last round of the Olympiad, Ivanchuk, the person designated in the Ukraine team to take the drug test, left the venue without taking the test. Of course, in the world of drug testing one is guilty until proven otherwise. So missing the test is equivalent to being tested positive under the rules and this could result in a 2 year ban for Ivanchuk. That is right – a two year ban, for one of the finest characters among the top pros in chess, for not participating in something whose value no one can adequately explain, anyway. Shirov thinks FIDE should be banned. It should atleast be cleansed of the likes of Kirsan Ilyumzhinov. It is a disgrace that top quality professional chess players have to dance to the tunes of this millionaire autocrat, but I still think FIDE will find some excuse to bury the matter rather than solve this problem once and for all by removing the dumb doping regulation. For a nice compendium on what the leading chess players in US think of this doping regime read this.