A FINAL BLOW TO CHESS DRUG TESTING?
The idea that chessplayers should be subjected to drug testing in order for the game to become part of the Olympics appears to be fading fast. Earlier this year, the U.S. Olympic Committee rejected chess as a sport, delivering a blow to support for drug testing in the United States. Now the International Olympic Committee has likewise refused to accept chess and other "mind sports" as part of the Olympics. The IOC is reducing rather than increasing the number of Olympic sports, and even popular sports of a physical nature such as bowling, racquetball, water skiing and squash have now been rejected.
It should now be clear to even the drug testing diehards that the chances for chess to become part of the Olympics any time in the foreseeable future are nil. It is time to stop the debate and give up on FIDE's ridiculous idea that mandating drug testing now in various tournaments will lead to eventual recognition of chess as an Olympic sport.
Congratulations to Executive Director Frank Niro for being the first USCF representative to openly challenge FIDE's ridiculous drug testing policy. Hopefully our Executive Board and FIDE representatives will follow Niro's lead. It is long overdue for USCF to stand up for what is right at FIDE meetings, and I believe that the result is likely to be the end of the idea that drug testing is needed in chess.
The following article by IM Malcolm Pein will appear in tomorrow's London Daily Telegraph.
Chess from Malcolm Pein
Chess for Thursday 5th September
Fide's sycophantic flirtation with the IOC must surely now be reconsidered following the rejection of Mindsports by the International Olympic Committee's Executive Board. The board agreed with the conclusions of a report submitted at a meeting last week at the organisation's headquarters in Lausanne that Chess and Bridge are ineligible for inclusion in the Olympic Games even though they are recognised by the IOC, because they entail no physical exertion.
The general feeling is that the Olympics are getting too big and expensive and if anything the number of sports should be reduced rather than increased. A request to reinstate polo in 2008 was rejected and thirteen other sports were turned down, including ballroom dancing, surfing, bowling, billiards, squash, water skiing and racquetball
Hopefully now the ridiculous and expensive idea of drug testing chess players to see if they have traces of substances that enhance physical performance will be canned forever. As reported in Monday's Daily Telegraph, a similar initiative by the World Bridge Federation, also in a failed attempt to ingratiate itself with the Olympic movement led to an American bridge player being denied a medal at the World Bridge Championships in Montreal because she was on medication for a bad back.
A crisis is looming at the forthcoming Chess Olympiad which starts on October 25th at the Slovenian resort of Bled. Fide intends to test for more than hundred substances and demand written consent from all the players. A huge body of opinion amongst the ranks of chess professionals is against this including players from the Netherlands and the USA. Some American GMs intend to refuse to be tested and the Executive Director of the United States Chess Federation, Frank Niro, is going to support them.
Mr Niro has a unique perspective. A former athlete, he was the youngest ever American to run a Marathon in under 3hrs, a feat he achieved in October 1966 aged 18 years and one month. Speaking from the USCF's headquarters in New York State, Mr Niro said: " I will advise my players to refuse to be tested if they so wish", "it is up to the individual". Additionally Mr Steve Doyle an American serving on Fide's Policy Board will be asked to raise the issue at the Fide meetings to be held during the USSR v Rest of the World Match in Moscow next week with a view to having testing scrapped.