Thursday, December 11, 2008

The gruelling, drug-scandal ridden world of chess competition

Unless someone can figure out how to put good positional judgment and sparkling combinational play into a pill, I don't think this should be an issue:
Who knows what was going through [Grandmaster Vassily] Ivanchuk's head when, on Nov. 25 in Dresden, the last day of the Chess Olympiad, he lost to Gata Kamsky? What we do know, however, is that when the game against the American ended, a judge asked Ivanchuk to submit to a drug test. Instead, he stormed out of the room in the conference center, kicked a concrete pillar in the lobby, pounded a countertop in the cafeteria with his fists and then vanished into the coatroom. Throughout this performance, he was followed by a handful of officials.

No one could convince Ivanchuk to provide a small amount of urine for the test. And because refusal is treated as a positive test result, he is now considered guilty of doping and could be barred from professional chess for two years.

The incident in Dresden and the possibility of a professional ban for Ivanchuk has caused outrage in the chess world. The players, who fraternize with one another, say that accusing one of them of doping is an insult to their honor and intelligence. Letters of protest were issued, and players are accusing bureaucrats in the world of championship chess of destroying the game, because, as they insist everyone should know, doping provides no benefits in chess. [...]
The author is not sure and thinks "Ritalin or Modafinil" might help with concentration. Unless there is some big danger of overdosing on this stuff, however, I still don't think this warrants drug-testing.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

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