The Great Chess Doping Scandal

by ChessBase
12/13/2008 – When the German weekly news magazine and biggest Online news Service, Spiegel, reports on any subject, the other European media are quick to follow suit. This week the Spiegel has published a full-page article on the failed attempt to get Vassily Ivanchuk to submit himself to a doping test after his final game at the Dresden Olympiad. Excerpt, links and other articles.

ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024 ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024

It is the program of choice for anyone who loves the game and wants to know more about it. Start your personal success story with ChessBase and enjoy the game even more.


The Great Chess Doping Scandal

By Maik Grossekathöfer

Grandmaster Vassily Ivanchuk refused to submit a urine sample for a drug test at the Chess Olympiad in Dresden and is now considered guilty of doping. The world of chess is outraged that he could face a two-year ban.

Professional chess player Vassily Ivanchuk, born in Berezhany, Ukraine in 1969, has been a grandmaster for the past 20 years and is currently ranked third in the world. The man with black hair and bedroom eyes is known as "Big Chucky" by his fellow chess players. Why? Because, after losing a game, he goes into the forest at night and howls at the moon to drive out the demons. Because he walks around in shorts in freezing temperatures. Because he likes to sit in dark rooms. Because he usually looks at the ceiling instead of the board during a chess match. Because he tries to fold the oversized winner's check handed out after a tournament down to pocket size. And because he, as World Champion Visvanathan Anand says, lives on "Planet Ivanchuk."

Who knows what was going through 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.


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

By Dashiell Bennett

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!

Sunday Mirror

Chess grandmaster banned in drug test row:
Plus the Top 10 doping scandals

By Chris Wilson, 12/12/2008

Chess, a sport usually associated with old, beady men, maverick Russians and super-computers, has hit the headlines this week after a top Ukrainian player got caught up in a doping scandal. Professional chess player and grandmaster Vassily Ivanchuk faces a two-year ban from the sport after refusing a drug test at Dresden's Chess Olympiad. He declined to provide a urine sample after losing to American Gata Kamsky. It’s an insult to his intelligence and honour, claims the chess community.

Ivanchuk may be the first chess player to be caught up in a doping row, but he's certainly not the first sports star to do so, as this rogue's gallery proves...

[Ten famous cases are listed, the last is the most interesting for chess players:]

10. Neil Foulds – Like chess, snooker isn’t really a sport where you’d think illegal substances could enhance a player’s performance, but during the early 1980s Neil Foulds was found to be taking beta blockers. The drugs are said to help steady the hand, which obviously helps with snooker. Foulds never recovered from the beta blockers scandal and dropped rapidly down the rankings.

The Hindu

Ivanchuk facing 2-year ban

After the Championship Cup being damaged and the diamond from its crown being stolen, world chess is in for another round of unsavoury controversies. Vasily Ivanchuk, Ukraine's leading player and World No. 3, could well be banned for two years for not taking a dope test after the final round of the Chess Olympiad last month at Dresden.

The FIDE president, Kirsan Ilyumshinov, himself has indicated that Ivanchuk could face a two-year ban. Also, all his games at the Olympiad could be annulled. That would not only put a big question mark on the career of one of the leading and talented chess players over the past decade and a half, but could also lead to a redistribution of medals won at Dresden.

Ukraine could also lose the prestigious Gaprindashvili Cup given to the team with the best combined score among men and women after the main championship. However, this was not the only controversy, which hit the chess Olympiad.

ChessBase report: Olympiad Dresden – the Ivanchuk Files
02.12.2008 – The events surrounding the failed attempt to get Vassily Ivanchuk to submit to a doping test have hit the broadsheets and news services. A number of chess players, most publicly Alexei Shirov, have expressed fears that Ivanchuk may be banned from competitive chess and the medals redistributed. Before you make up your mind where you stand, here are all the details of the case.

Reports about chess: tournaments, championships, portraits, interviews, World Championships, product launches and more.


Rules for reader comments


Not registered yet? Register