When the organisers of the Istanbul Chess Olympiad refused to conduct drug tests on the players, the World Chess Federation, FIDE, should have been eating humble pie.
For months FIDE had been trumpeting chess' credentials as a potential Olympic sport with drug testing a key part of the changes they were willing to implement in their efforts to be accepted by the IOC.
However when the Istanbul organisers discovered that testing 100 players for illicit substances would blow a $US30,000 hole in their Olympiad budget, they refused to play along unless FIDE paid - the world body declined.
In Istanbul FIDE regulations were changed so that organisers of future Olympiads and World Championship events would have to include the cost of testing in their budgets and the IOC's list of banned drugs was accepted in full, with the exception of alcohol and cannabis.
A senior FIDE official accepted that the consequences of the changes could be oppressive. All players would have to register with their national sports drug agency all prescribed drugs which they might be taking; a list which could be very extensive for older players.
The official admitted, for the first time, that given the extensive nature of the IOC list players would soon be banned for testing positive to substances such as steroids which could not possibly aid their chess strength.
For the Australian Chess Federation the new rules create many difficulties.
Apart from the refusal of the Australian Sports Drug Agency to register chessplayers, the cost of implementing drug tests will be prohibitive.
The Oceania World Championship zonal is to be held in Australia in early 2001 but the cost of drug testing - around $US300 per test - will exceed, and possibly eliminate, any prize fund. Whether any zonal will be financially viable if FIDE insists on its new drug testing regime being followed is a moot point.
The best game played by an Australian at the recent Istanbul Olympiad was the following.
Instanbul Olympiad 2000
White: Zhao Zong Yuan
Opening: Sicilian Defence
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 6.Bc4 Qb6!? 7.Nb3 e6 8.Bf4 Ne5 9.Be2 Be7 10.Qd2 0-0 11.0-0-0!?
Bluff - Black could now safely have taken the f2 pawn.
11...a6 12.Rhg1 Qc7 13.g4 b5 14.g5 Nfd7 15.Be3 Nc4?!
15...Nb6 was probably stronger.
16.Bxc4 Qxc4?! 17.Qe1! Re8 18.f4 Bf8?! 19.Qh4! a5 20.Rg3 g6 21.Rh3 h5 22.gxh6 b4
22...Kh7 loses to 23.Nd2 Qc6 24.Nf3.
23.Nd2! Qa6?! 24.Bd4! e5 25.Nd5! Qc6
If 25...Qb7 26.fxe5 dxe5 27.Nf6+ Nxf6 28.h7+ Kh8 29.Qxf6+ Bg7 30.Bxe5!! Rxe5 31.Qd8+ is decisive. Now, however, White's second knight enters the game with decisive effect.
(Diagram) 26.Nf3! exd4 27.Ng5 Ne5 28.fxe5 Be6 29.Nxf7! Bxf7 30.Qf6 1-0
The 2000 Tuggeranong Vikings Weekender, a Grand Prix event, will be held on December 9-10 at the Chisholm Sports Club, Benham St, Chisholm. Details Lee Forace 02 9556 3960 or 02 6231 8314.