Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

Doping Scandal Threatens To Destroy The World Of ... Chess?

Illustration for article titled Doping Scandal Threatens To Destroy The World Of ... Chess?

Vassily Ivanchuk of the Ukraine is the third-ranked player in the world, but he faces a two-year ban from his game because he failed a drug test. A drug test. In chess.


Actually, to be precise, he didn't fail it—he refused to take it, which in the totally rational world of international drug testing, counts as a positive. Actually, to be more precise, he refused to take it, then "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." Which also counts as a positive, because if that's not roid rage, I don't know what is.

The reason he was even asked is because chess is trying to become an Olympic sport and therefore, must submit to all the all the rules of the IOC, including their anti-doping program. The only problem is that almost none of the world's top players give a crap about the Olympics and most consider any comparison between their beautiful intellectual pursuit and silly baby games like soccer and badminton to be an insult. Many in the community are furious that one of the world's top players—who clearly wasn't cheating—could be denied the right to compete because of some crazy pipe dream about Olympic medals. (It's unlikely that chess will ever be included in the Games.)


Besides ... how the hell do you dope in chess?

By the way, part of the explanation for Ivanchuk's hissy fit is that they asked him to pee in a cup just moments after he lost a match in the prestigious Chess Olympiad ... to an American! That's like losing in ice hockey to ... well ... an American!

The Great Chess Doping Scandal [Spiegel, via Cheating in Sports: Chess Grandmaster Guilty of Doping">Bob's Blitz]
Olympiad Dresden: The Ivanchuk Files [Chess Base]
The World Is Catching Up With Russia [NY Times]
Let's ban the FIDE [ChessBase]
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