This has been a VERY unfortunate situation. The Ivanchuk case is now taking center stage in the chess world. Ukraine was in the position to win the Gold medal if they could beat the U.S. in the final round. They were the heavy favorite by rating.

But the U.S. team pulled off one of the biggest upsets in Chess Olympiad history. Not only they defeated the mighty Ukrainian team, they were very close to score a 4-0 wipe out. The final score was 3.5 – 0.5, giving the U.S. the Bronze medal.

The problem is right after the game, Ivanchuk was “selected” to take a dope test. He refused and stormed off the playing hall in disgust for losing badly against Gata Kamsky. One can understand his disappointment and anger with his own performance.

However, according to FIDE rules, his refusal may lead to various types of sanctions. One sanction may lead to disqualification of Ivanchuk’s personal results obtained in this Olympiad and forfeiture of all medals, points and prizes. He may also face a two-year ban for the 1st violation and a lifetime ban for a 2nd violation.

The big problem now is if this indeed happens, Hungary will get the Bronze on tie-breaks and the U.S. will lose its Bronze medal! Here is what I wrote earlier: In my opinion, medals are to be settled on the board and not due to any technical reason outside of one’s control.

The U.S. and Hungarian teams had nothing to do with this episode. This very serious case is now pending. FIDE’s 5 person medical commission will have to make a decision within 3 months from the conclusion of the Olympiad.

What will FIDE do? Will FIDE penalize Ivanchuk with a 2-year ban and award the Bronze medal to Hungary or will they alienate the Doping Commission of the International Olympic Committee? The second option will probably mean the end of chess being a possible IOC sport (which is what FIDE is trying to do).

What a mess!

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Chess Daily News from Susan Polgar
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