In December 2008, the German magazine Der Spiegel reported on Vassily Ivanchuk's refusal to provide a urine sample for a doping test. This type of refusal is "treated as a positive test result" (according to the article), but FIDE decided that there was no need for a penalty.

I am not aware of other similar stories in chess. So has any professional player ever been temporarily banned from playing because of a positive doping test?

  • Seem to recall Hübner retiring rather than undergo testing. Oct 4, 2019 at 1:03
  • who asked for the test and why ? Feb 11, 2020 at 23:39

1 Answer 1


The short answer is "No". The long answer is "Don't be silly!"

About a year ago I asked elsewhere if the English GM Mickey Adams (the only English player at the time comfortably over 2700) had to go through the WADA style rigmarole of informing the chess anti-doping officials of a time and exact location for every day of the year where he could be found if they wanted to test him as required by FIDE's anti-doping policy.

A prominent member of the FIDE Qualification Committee replied "I'm not saying you're wrong, but that's news to be. Where can I find it?"

This 73-page FIDE document - FIDE Anti-Doping Rules based on Wada’s Models of Best Practice for International Federations and the World Anti-Doping Code - from 2015 spells out in painful detail what FIDE's "intentions" are.

When I sent him the link this was his response - "I think the International-Level part refers only to things that FIDE Anti-Doping can do if they want to and in practice don't, but still worth knowing."

So, at the moment FIDE has a suitable IOC-friendly policy on the books but they are only likely to actually implement it if the vast Olympic money bags are opened for chess.

  • So, Brian, if I understand you correctly, on the one hand FIDE (or "the world of chess" if we prefer that expression) claims that -despite its appearance- chess is a physically intensive -not to mention mentally- sport, but on the other hand it does nothing to prevent its players to use whatever substances that could help them to improve their endurance, stress redction, etc.
    – emdio
    Oct 4, 2019 at 8:39
  • @emdio Where do you see claims that chess is physically intensive? Sports like clay pigeon shooting are in the Olympics (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clay_pigeon_shooting#Olympic_trap). That is also a sport which is not physically intensive but is still an Olympic sport. At least chess players play their sport sitting up and not lying down.
    – Brian Towers
    Oct 4, 2019 at 9:15
  • I've heard it since I started playing chess, some 20 years ago. I recently read somewhere (I just can't find the source) about how current chess elite players prepare physically, and how -for example- during a match they lose weight. For example, about this topic: chess.stackexchange.com/questions/16521/… On the other hand, if FIDE has never made such a claim, then I'm ok with FIDE not impulsing doping controls.
    – emdio
    Oct 4, 2019 at 9:35
  • It happened in Spain some years ago in a National championship
    – David
    Oct 4, 2019 at 11:16
  • the olympics did not allow chess so why worry about their style of doping concerns. nobody has shown that any drug really helps play chess better. coffee might help if you are playing late in a new time zone that messes with your homezone time for bed. Feb 11, 2020 at 23:40

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