Wednesday, January 7, 2009

International chess makes drug testing a controversy; is it necessary?

International chess has made the mainstream news again. On Wednesday Jan. 7, David R. Sands of The Washington Times wrote a front-page article “Chess masters defy drug test for Olympic bid,” link here. A Chess News page (about American Chess) has a page about motions related to drug testing here; the newsletter is edited by Bill Goichberg (who directed a lot of tournaments that I played in myself three decades ago; he would remember me, I think). Of course, it seems to be stretching things to imagine that drugs would really “improve” tournament performance, in a sport where you have to sit 5 hours at a table and concentrate and calculate (especially in the endgames) in over the board play. It’s interesting that even in 2009 chess hardly seems played out.

There is a new book by Daniel Johnson “How the Cold War Was Fought on the Chessboard” from Houghton-Mifflin, reviewed by Doug Bandow in the Washington Times Sunday January 4 here. I plan to order the book and review it myself later, but Bandow gives a very detailed account of the politics of chess in his review. Those of us who played in tournaments for decades and followed the world championship matches starting in the 60s remember (remember Spassky-Fischer) all this well.

I don’t know whether chess is a paradigm for war specifically as a paradigm for life, and “karma”.

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