Chess Oscar winner Carlsen to be tested for doping

by ChessBase
11/6/2012 – There is no connection: Norwegian GM Magnus Carlsen has just been awarded the Chess Oscar for 2011 – and FIDE has just announced that he will be involved in a pilot project to test players for drug abuse. The World Chess Federation has been trying to get chess recognised as an Olympic sport, and the IOC insists on drug testing as a condition. Oscar results and report on the drug testing.

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First: the Chess Oscar for 2011

The Russian magazine 64-Chess Review has announced the results of the Chess Oscar of the year 2011. Grandmasters, coaches, arbiters, chess journalists and other experts from all over the world took part in the voting. The winner was the Norwegian grandmaster Magnus Carlsen. It is his third Oscar so far – all three were won in consecutive years (2009-2011).

Chess Oscar for 2011: voting stats

Magnus Carlsen  
Boris Gelfand  
Levon Aronian  
Peter Svidler  
Vladimir Kramnik  
Alexander Grischuk  
Vasily Ivanchuk  
Viswanathan Anand  
Alexander Morozevich  
Hikaru Nakamura  

History: all Chess Oscars so far

The Chess Oscar is an international award given to the best chess player every year. The winner is selected by a poll of chess experts across the world, including grandmasters. The award comprises a bronze statuette titled "The Fascinated Wanderer". The award had its genesis in 1967 with journalists accredited at chess events voting for the best grandmaster. The awards were given away uninterrupted until the year 1988. The award resumed in 1995. Since then, it has been coordinated by the Russian chess magazine 64. The Chess Oscar is highly regarded in the chess community, as it indicates a premier degree of peer recognition. Here are the winners so far:

Year Player   Year Player
1967 Larsen, Bent   1987 Kasparov, Garry
1968 Spassky, Boris   1988 Kasparov, Garry
1969 Spassky, Boris   1989-94 no awards
1970 Fischer, Bobby   1995 Kasparov, Garry
1971 Fischer, Bobby   1996 Kasparov, Garry
1972 Fischer, Bobby   1997 Anand, Viswanathan
1973 Karpov, Anatoly   1998 Anand, Viswanathan
1974 Karpov, Anatoly   1999 Kasparov, Garry
1975 Karpov, Anatoly   2000 Kramnik, Vladimir
1976 Karpov, Anatoly   2001 Kasparov, Garry
1977 Karpov, Anatoly   2002 Kasparov, Garry
1978 Korchnoi, Viktor   2003 Anand, Viswanathan
1979 Karpov, Anatoly   2004 Anand, Viswanathan
1980 Karpov, Anatoly   2005 Topalov, Veselin
1981 Karpov, Anatoly   2006 Kramnik, Vladimir
1982 Kasparov, Garry   2007 Anand, Viswanathan
1983 Kasparov, Garry   2008 Anand, Viswanathan
1984 Karpov, Anatoly   2009 Carlsen, Magnus
1985 Kasparov, Garry   2010 Carlsen, Magnus
1986 Kasparov, Garry   2011 Carlsen, Magnus

Most wins

Kasparov, Garry
Karpov, Anatoly
Anand, Viswanathan
Carlsen, Magnus
Fischer, Bobby
Spassky, Boris
Kramnik, Vladimir
Larsen, Bent
Korchnoi, Viktor
Topalov, Veselin

Source: Wikipedia

Chess Champion Carlsen to be tested for doping

World number one Magnus Carlsen, 21, has never been drug tested in his career. But that will soon end. The International Chess Federation FIDE recently sent Carlsen a letter stating that he will be involved in a pilot project of drug testting. "I think it's not so much about drug testing in chess," said Carlsen. "However, I submit to it. The Norwegian GM is on track to break Garry Kasparov's record in the world rankings. FIDE would like chess to be considered an Olympic sport by the IOC in the future, and for that an anti-doping program is a prerequisite.

Carlsen met AP for an interview and answered some questions about drug use in chess, something he has never considered: "For me it is unthinkable to do such a thing." It appears he will in the future have to submit urine or blood samples, in or out of competition. Carlsen is at a loss to say what he thinks about these measures. He thinks about it for a while, looking at his manager Espen Agdestein as he answers questions on the subject – and finally says that this is not a big deal for him. "If I have to report where I am all the time, I'll have to think more about it. I could get used to it, but it seems quite unnecessary."

But does he think it is possible to take restorative pills to enhance one's performance? "I suppose that is possible. But in order to perform well you would have to take things during the game. For my own part I need no hocus pocus in order to perform."

Does he think that some players are using doping? "In the end I simply trust my opponents. In addition, it is so incredibly damaging for people to be taking drugs. Maybe some are doing it. But I think I can beat them anyway." Carlsen believes cheating with computer programs on smartphones is a far greater potential problem in chess, compared to traditional doping. In the big tournaments, where the Norwegian takes part, it is almost impossible to cheat in this way, as many spectators and judges follow all the games at any given time.

Chess as a sport has had one doping scandal. In 2008, grandmaster Vassily Ivanchuk refused to take the test after a missed game, but he was exonerated by FIDE because he had not understood that he had to take the test. "It was unfortunate that this happened after he had lost Ukraine medal in the final round," commenting Carlsen. "On the other hand he obviously should have been professional enough to handle it."

Does he sympathize with Lance Armstrong? The cyclist who ended seven times Tour de France winner gets little sympathy from the sports-minded 21-year-old, who has followed the doping case closely. "He not only cheated, but also pushed others into doping, using extortion to keep everything under wraps for many years. I think it's possible to forgive people who cheat and get caught, but the way he kept on with it means he deserves the hard fall."

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