A year after drug testing began in European chess tournaments, the Dutch
anti-doping body, NeCeDo, has released the first list of drugs which might
be performance enhancing for participants in mind sports.
Until now, no attempt had been made to differentiate between physical and
mind sports, meaning that a chessplayer could have been banned for using
anabolic steroids, even though steroids could be of no conceivable benefit
in a chess competition.
The new list of forbidden substances is extremely limited, including only
beta-blockers, cocaine, ephedrine, amphetamines and EPO, but even NeCeDo
admits being unsure as to whether any of these materials would actually aid
Anecdotal evidence - there is no other - would suggest that the first three
substances on the list have far more downsides than benefits for a serious
chessplayer. Nonetheless, cold remedies such as Sudafed (containing
pseudo-ephedrine) are now be out of bounds for chessplayers within a week
of a drug-tested event such as the Istanbul Olympiad.
Karpov in his heyday was alleged to have used both amphetamines and oxygen
treatments but few (if any) other Grandmasters have felt it necessary or
beneficial to increase their stamina using these methods.
Nicotine was originally on the forbidden list but was removed for political
reasons. Although players are already banned from smoking in the playing
room, NeCeDo realised that trying to prevent smokers from having a puff
after the game as they waited in the queue to give their sample to the
testers would have led to a revolt.
Outspoken Dutch journalist and GM, Hans Ree, has already announced that he
will give up tournament chess rather than submit to drug tests and pointed
out the absurdity of preventing chessplayers from taking substances which
might make them more intelligent and thus aid their chess.
The Dutch Chess Federation, KNSB, is also not too keen on NeCeDo's list,
even though their continued government funding depends upon agreeing to a
drug testing regime beginning in 2001. While the bridge and draughts
federations have resigned themselves to their fate, the KNSB is still
"We are making a problem out of nothing," said KNSB President Herman
Hamers. "I have heard nothing to indicate that doping is a problem in the
2000 Australian Masters
Reserve Bank, Melbourne
Scores after 5 rounds:
3eq.West(V), Zhao(N), Teichmann(Eng) 3;
10eq.Chapman(SA), Hacche(V) 1.5;
Credit Suisse GM
Scores after 5 rounds:
2.Van Wely(Ned) 3;
3eq. Ponomariov(Rus), Gelfand(Isr), Milov(Swi) 2.5;