Dear Dr. Stephen J. Press ( email@example.com ),
As you will recall, I attended the meeting of the FIDE Medical Commission
##First question on my part is WHY, and in what capacity ? Whom do you represent ?
where the issue of drug testing was debated and discussed, plus I attended all of the meetings of the FIDE General Assembly in Istanbul. However, it is only today that I got around to reading the large pile of papers I collected from these meetings. As a result, I now have some questions about dope testing for chess players. Just about everyone agrees that drug testing is a good thing, just as long as someone else does it and pays for it. However, what has been presented is that there will be drug testing during all FIDE chess competitions.
What does this mean exactly? We think of FIDE competitions as being Olympiads and matches for the world championship? It would appear that, for example, the US Chess Championship in years in which it constitutes a zonal tournament for the world championship would clearly be included. I know all of the players who regularly participate in the US Championship and none of them use drugs except for an occasional drink of alcohol.
## Then we will find this out, and can use that information to develop a unique profile for Chess with the Anti-Dopping authorities. At the moment we can't prove this by saying "Sam said so...".
However, I can think of several chess players who will object to the personal humiliation of peeing into a cup provided by FIDE. What will happen if they refuse to pee in the presence of inspectors?
## Then they will be disqualified... simple!
Must they be disqualified from participating in a US Chess Championship to which they have qualified? What if they file suit? What if they win a money judgment, as I believe they will?
## The World has already dealt with this issue in the Courts, and in any event they will have to sign a waiver allowing the testing if they wish to participate in FIDE events. This waiver also accepts the authority of the CAS, the World Court for Sport in Lausanne, and this is under authority of a treaty with every Nation on Earth's Court system must accept their verdicts. So much for that idea !
Another question concerns cost: At the meeting of the FIDE Medical Commission it was stated that there is an IOC Certified drug testing lab in Moscow which will perform the tests for $150 only each, whereas the normal cost is $300 each.
## The costs will be borne by the National Olympic Committee's in the respective Nations, unless the National Chess Federation chooses not to affiliate, in which case they WILL have to find a way to pay for this.... and there are no guarantees that Moscow will continue forever to extend this price, to everyone that they quoted me.
While the US Chess Federation can probably afford this, there are many poorer countries which cannot. Will the Botswana Chess Federation be required to have drug testing done on all players who participate in their national chess championship? Who will pay for this?
##- Frankly, this is good incentive for Botswana to join or affiliate with the Botswana Olympic Committee, which gets money for this from Olympic Solidarity.
Next, does "all FIDE Competitions" extend to tournaments which are merely FIDE rated. Will the New York Open Championship, which is primarily a grandmaster event, be required to have drug testing done, simply in order to be FIDE rated?
## Remains to be seen.... this is up to the IOC/WADA and we are asking that it not be so... but no guarantees... if they tell us that ALL competitions under our jurisdiction must test, then ALL competitions under our jurisdiction must test.
The entire concept is questionable. This idea has been proposed as a way to bring big money into chess by making chess into an Olympic Sport. However, I doubt that even if chess becomes an Olympic sport it will bring more money into chess. For example, shot put and discus are purely Olympic events. Were they not so recognized, nobody would put the shot or throw a discus. I suspect, but do not know, that the shot putters finance themselves, spend their own money for years getting ready for the Olympic Games and never get any money back out of it, even if they win. I wonder why some chess players think that they will get rich if only chess can be recognized as an Olympic Sport. Will there really be a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow?
## Out of my area of expertise.... frankly, however, the best reasons to participate in the Olympic Games are not for money, but for Citius, Altius, Fortius.... the same altruistic reasons that govern the sports you named. That idea would have De Coubertin turning over in his grave.
One of the strongest opponents of drug testing of chess players is Grandmaster Jan Timman of Holland. Because of his objections, I understand that he is repeatedly asked by journalists if he himself is a drug user. I hope that no other prominent chess players will be subjected to constant questions about their personal habits just because they come out in opposition to the testing of drugs in chess players.
## Good example ! Can't comment, except that under US Law, we are innocent until proven guilty! So the comments are very wrong. Only to say that each player must decide if his/her moral outrage at being asked to test, exceeds his/her desire to play.... ? Because that's going to be the test and the choice!
I can use myself as a safe example, because there is no chance that I will ever be invited to the US Closed Championship. I never ever smoke either tobacco or marijuana and I never ever drink alcohol.
## Good for you ! If you compete, we'll know if that's true.... and if so, then you'll have no trouble with those substances.... there's no problem anyway, as we are not testing for those substances, since they decrease performance not increase it.
However, I do drink a lot of coffee. It happens that one of your standard tests is a test for caffeine. In your report, it states that a person who has had eight cups of brewed coffee within two to three hours before the test could test positive for caffeine. I rarely drink that much coffee, but the possibility that I could test positive and be banned for life from playing chess causes concern.
## First of all, the lack of knowledge of the rules is scary.... no one is banned for life for an infraction involving caffeine or related substances unless it is a repeat infraction, which is highly unlikely... the first infraction is mush less severe, maximum two years! And we will publish guidelines so there should be no problems.... the only ones in potential for immediate trouble are very small people... who will have to watch more carefully their caffeine intake.
In weightlifting and other physical sports where it is a proven fact that drugs improve performance while shrinking brain size and shortening life expectancy, it is necessary that there be drug testing because otherwise every competitor would have to take drugs in order to remain competitive. However, there is no known drug that will improve performance at chess and therefore there is no incentive for chess players to take drugs. At the same time, some chess players claim the right in principle to drink alcohol or even to smoke marijuana, claiming that it is nobody's business but their own.
## Sorry, once again Sam doesn't get to manufacture his own science... there ARE substance which we all agree can influence cognitive function, and there are good moral and legal reasons to test for these in chess.... once again if we find that everyone is as clean as Sam says he is, then we will be able to go back to the IOC and ask for some further waivers.... but without hard proof that this is so, I doubt that I can ask on your word to change World accepted rules for Sport.
I must also raise the question, since it is clear that chess players as a whole will ultimately have to pay millions of dollars for all the drug tests proposed under the plan of the FIDE Medical Commission: Is there not some incentive for doctors such as yourself to insist upon these tests, because of the big bucks you will be making as these tests are done?
## Most of the doctors are unpaid volunteers, like myself.... if we get anything in general fro the federations we work for, it is perhaps our expenses and I we are lucky, a pittance towards what we lose when we take time from busy practices which suffer from the traveling away from them... that's really insulting!!
If every high school track meet were required to have mandatory drug testing, you can be sure that the parents would object to paying the fees. In physical sports, only the world class elite are required to submit to drug testing.
## So too here ! only National and up will have testing, and ONLY an average of 10% of competitor will be tested at any one meet.
In chess, everybody can play. In chess, there are now 35,000 FIDE rated players. This number is projected to increase to 350,000 under the FIDE Commerce Deal that was signed on November 10, 2000, which reduced the minimum FIDE rating from 2001 to 1001. Remembering that drug testing is to take place not just once every four years as in the Olympic Games but every time there is a FIDE chess event, we are talking about a large financial expenditure by the world chess community.
## See the above.... this is misinformation..... only Nationals, Zonals, Regionals and Worlds are subject to this. Not every meet !!!
Finally, I note that it seems to become mandatory that national chess federations join their national Olympic committees. I do not believe that the United States Chess Federation will be either willing or able to join the United States Olympic Committee. Will the USCF be kicked out of FIDE as a result?
## Asked and answered... it's their choice.... if so, then the USOC will pay for the testing, and help run it, if not, then they will have to pay for it themselves, and FIDE will supervise the testing at Nationals/Zonals. in short... it's their choice!!! .... no one will kick them out of FIDE unless they elect to rebel from the entire system, in which case, and hopefully it will not come to that, it will be a matter for the FIDE Presidential Board to resolve. But clearly, no one NGB can be allowed to dictate the terms of World anti-drug policy, and I expect that in such an event, General McCaffrey's office would help FIDE resolve the issues, I assume siding with FIDE .... but that's not for me to decide...
My conclusion is that we are going to have to tell President of the International Olympic Committee, Juan Antonio Samaranch, to shove it. If he is going to require that all chess players submit to expensive drug testing, we do not need to join his organization.
## We are already IN the IOC family, i.e. already "Recognized"..... we went to them... not they to us.... and are not likely to tell H.E., Mr. Samaranch such a thing in any event.... there is too much at stake for Countries which DO want to participate in the Olympic Games and bring home real Olympic medals in Chess ! Also it's not Mr. Samaranch who decides this.... the Governments of the World have authorized the WADA to enforce this policy.... for a big organization like FIDE, it's only a matter of time before governments stepped in anyway and forced regulations on us, even if we were not in the Olympic movement.... because its a moral duty to our children!
I would like for you to address these questions.
## Hope I answered this so for once and for all... so you don't go back to wherever you are publishing articles with such misinformation as I saw here..
## Bottom line.... let's stop trying to find ways to get around the inevitable, and accept that we have responsibilities as citizens of the World community.... if we are really that clean then it will quickly be recognized and we can get a waiver.... if not... well then we have our work really cut out for us. You're either a part of the solution, or you're a part of the problem, which are you ?
## Dr. Press
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