Istanbul World Chess Olympiad, day seven: FIDE Committee meets on drug testing

ISTANBUL, November 3: Today is a free day for the chess players but is the first day of meetings for the FIDE Committees. Today was the first meeting in the Jupiter Room of the Hilton Hotel regarding one of the most controversial items on the FIDE agenda: The testing for drugs.

The question arises because FIDE wants for chess to be recognized as an Olympic Sport but some chess grandmasters are known to smoke a little grass every now and then, and this is absolutely prohibited by the International Olympic Committee.

Some grandmasters who are known to like their weed have protested vehemently.

Representatives of FIDE, the World Chess Federation, have been meeting with the President of the International Olympic Committee, Juan Antonio Samaranch of Spain, on this issue.

It was decided that drug testing would begin with this World Chess Olympiad in Istanbul. However, when informed of this, the Turkish organizers protested on the grounds of cost. It was estimated that the cost of drug testing would be between $15,000 and $30,000 and this amount had not been budgeted, nor had the Turks been informed of this cost and expense when they bid for this Olympiad several years ago.

Since there was no money for the drug testing, it will not take place this year but it is expected to take place at the 2002 Olympiad in Slovenia.

Several cities are preparing bids for the 2004 Olympiad and all will be told to provide for drug testing in their budget.

A presentation was made on this subject to the FIDE Committee by Dr. Pedro Barrera of El Salvador, who is the FIDE Continental President for the Americas and who has met with Juan Antonio Samaranch on this issue. At the meeting with Dr. Barrera was Dr. Stephen J. Press of Canada who has had similar dealings with the International Olympic Committee regarding the World Roller-Skating Association.

The kinds of substances which are banned by the IOC are alcohol, cannabis and Beta-Blockers. There are several famous incidents where sports athletes have been tested positive for these substances and banned.

Among the issues which arose are costs, confidentiality, punishment and litigation exposure. For example, Horst Metzing of the German Chess Federation asked what if one of his players tests positive for drugs. What then? Do they ban him? If so, for how long? What if he sues? They could all be bankrupt! Would not it be better for FIDE to ban him, because then the player could sue FIDE, but the German Chess Federation could not be sued.

There is an IOC certified testing lab in Moscow which offered to perform the tests for only $150 each, which is half price. But, what if their results are wrong and the player sues? This has happened before in other sports with devastating results.

The committee adjourned without reaching a conclusion on any of these issues, but will meet again on Sunday. Among those present at the committee meeting were David Jarrett of England, David Anderton of England, Toti Abundo of the Philippines, and Florencio Campomanes from some country the name of which I cannot recall.

I did not recognize a few of the persons present.

This World Chess Olympiad features almost all of the strongest players in the world, except that the top three are missing: Kasparov, Kramnik and Anand. After that, the players rated 7-10 are all present. These are: Michael Adams (ENG) (2754), Peter Leko (HUN) (2748), Alexei Shirov (ESP) (2746), Alexander Morozevich (RUS) (2734), Vassily Ivanchuk (UKR) (2716), Veselin Topalov (BUL) (2707) and Michal Krasenkow (POL) (2702).

Number 11, Karpov, is not here, but number 12, Svidler is present. Number 14 Bareev is missing, but number 15 to 21 are all present. These are Rustam Kasimdzhanov (UZB) (2690), Nigel Short (ENG) (2687), Boris Gelfand, (ISR) (2683), Ye Jiangchuan (CHN) (2682), Alexey Dreev (RUS) (2681), Zurab Azmaiparashvili (GEO) (2678) Kiril Georgiev (BUL) (2674), Ilia Smirin (ISR) (2674).

Although the bulletins and the web site are improved, they are still missing basic information. For example, the standings and the ratings of the players are not published. Therefore, it has been necessary for me to figure out the standings by hand. Here they are:

After six rounds and 24 games the top men's teams are:

Germany 18.5
Russia 17.5
Slovakia 17
Ukraine, Israel and Hungary 16.5
Armenia 16
England, China, Yugoslavia, India, Georgia, Denmark, Croatia, Philippines, USA, Bulgaria and the Netherlands all with 15.5
Kazakstan, Chile, Romania, Uzbekistan, Switzerland and Iceland all with 15.
Eleven teams are tied with 14.5

After six rounds and 18 games the top women's teams are:

China and Georgia 13.5
Netherlands and Moldova 13
Ukraine, Vietnam, Greece and England 12.5
Hungary and Russia 12
Armenia, Czech Republic, Yugoslavia and Israel 11.5
Germany, Estonia, Azerbaijan, Poland, Spain, India and Lithuania 11.

For all you sports fans in the USA, the US woman's team is tied for 35th place with 9.5. The USA women lost to Armenia by 2 1/2 to 1/2 in round 6.

I will post my reports to my web site in the following patten:

My round five report is posted at
and also at and at and so on.

One advantage in having five web sites is that if one does not work, the others might. I have not been able to post my round 6 report on or on , but I have been able to post it on , and

Sam Sloan

I am now in Istanbul, where the World Chess Olympiad is taking place. I am issuing daily press reports on the developments in the Olympiad. Here are my daily press reports so far:
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