Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Sports Builds Character 2.0.

It stood to reason that competitors seeking unfair advantage would go from using illegal enhancements to simply replacing themselves. The sport where this breakthrough took place, however, may surprise some.

The game in question is chess. The New York Times reported today a pair of players were bounced from a recent tournament on suspicion of using wireless communications to let computer programs dictate their moves instead of employing their own brains. Note to any chess hustlers out there: NEVER, EVER play against a rival with a hearing aid.

Now that's cheating on the grand scale. Whatever drugs Floyd Landis and Barry Bonds used to enhance their muscles, at least their muscles were part of the process. The chess scam is the equiivalent of Bonds' sending a cyborg wearing number 25 to the plate, a ruse that would doubtless be detected by at least 45 percent of current major league umpires.

The culprit, of course, is filthy lucre, as the tournament in question offered a prize of $45,000, not bad for a board game. Then again, since this was chess, odds are some player would've done it for nothing.

In a fit of naivete, the Times said the miscreants had shocked the "gentlemanly" world of chess. Whoa, is that exactly wrong! The greatest grandmasters of history have been as viciously sociopathic a set of sickos as any sport has ever produced, or does the name Bobby Fischer not ring a bell?

The chess scandal re-inforces the truth about artificially enhanced athletic performance. It has always been with us and always will. Where there's a prize, there's a will to win it by any means necessary. Competition being the mother and father of innovation, the cheaters will always be one and a half steps ahead of those trying to catch them.

Watch for brisk sales of jamming devices at the next chess tourney in your town, however.

Maybe this futile duel between Wile E. Tester and the Road Running User should simply be abandoned. As the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday, back at the turn of the 21st century, the use of artificial performance enhancers was seen as a sign of mankind's scientific prowess, not our moral degeneracy.


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