Yes, Chess Grand Masters Are Still Being Randomly Drug-Tested For Doping

Aside from the boring/kick-ass/boring nature of chessboxing, as well as the occasional airing of Searching for Bobby Fischer on Starz, we can't say chess comes across our radar very often, but the 2012 World Chess Olympiad is underway in Istanbul. Tipster Jay L. brought to our attention that Grand Master Hikaru Nakamura, who's ranked fifth in the world and is the top US player on the professional circuit, is getting a little extra scrutiny, specifically to see if he's winning with any added assistance.

Mike Klein, reporting for the US Chess Federation, has more:

After five hours of play in the ninth round of the 40th Chess Olympiad, three of the four boards in the U.S. – Russia match were still being fought, and two were still very much in doubt. Almost all at once, the Americans won both of the games that were still in limbo, clinching victory 2.5-1.5. Nakamura had only one way to beat GM Vladimir Kramnik, and he found it right away.

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After a placid draw on board three by GM Alexander Onischuk and GM Sergey Karjakin, the other three games stretched several more hours into the endgame. The crowd swelled to watch the board one action – even Garry Kasparov hovered around the roped-off area to see the compelling drama.

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After the win, handshakes were offered all around. Nakamura could not immediately join the celebration or answer questions. Right after signing his scoresheet, he was approached by officials (he had barely risen from his chair) who had paperwork in front of them and asked for a sample, presumably urine, for drug testing. Nakamura then exited the playing hall with two officials and Captain John Donaldson.

This win also slides Nakamura ahead of Kramnik in the live chess ratings to #4, a new high for him.

There doesn't appear to be any scandal this time around, the way there was back in 2008, but chess officials must still be convinced that some top performers are still doping because they're still trying to catch them—though they seem especially inclined to test whenever Americans start winning matches.

U.S. Wins Dramatic Match Over Russia to Tie For Lead [US Chess Federation]