Canton, Ohio – The professional chess world was rocked today when 13 year old chess prodigy, Bobby Baines, was disqualified from play for testing positive for steroids.
Clayton Groman, Director of the United States Chess Federation announced during a press conference from his office in Crossville, Tennessee that Baines was one of 17 professional chess players ranging in ages from 8 to 97 years old that are under suspicion for taking performance enhancing drugs on the USCF list of banned substances.
“We’ve had Mr. Baines in our crosshairs for quite some time,” said Groman. “We first became suspicious when we noticed that he was becoming much more violent during matches and began exhibiting impaired judgment stemming from feelings of invincibility.” During one recent chess match, Baines became upset over his opponent’s delay in play, so he leaped over the table, hoisted him up into an Airplane Spin and threw him into the audience.
“He’s just a boy,” pleaded Bobby’s mother and manager, Agatha Baines. “Like all boys his age, he’s bound to make mistakes.” When asked if she noticed any other recent changes in Bobby, Agatha confessed that she had noticed some small, yet noticeable physical changes in her son over the past six months. “For one thing, he started to grow more hair – a lot of hair.” she said. “I’m well aware that boys entering puberty are likely to experience changes in their bodies, but I saw Bobby in the shower one afternoon and his back was absolutely covered with hair. He looked just like my brother, Leo and he’s 67 years old. But what really alarmed me was when I saw Bobby trimming the hair in his ears. He’s only 13 for God’s sake.” She also confessed to witnessing some rather rapid weight gain in Bobby. “He gained over 35 pounds of muscle in one week,” she said. “We had to stop buying his clothes at Oshkosh B’Gosh and start shopping at Eagleson’s Big and Tall Shop for Men.”
After hours of fierce interrogation by USCF investigators, Baines refused to reveal the source of the illegal steroids at Our Lady of Hubert Junior High School. Even depriving him of his Nintendo after school and making him eat the Mac &Cheese in the student cafeteria failed to yield any worthwhile information. When questioned about the bottles of Androstenedione, Primobolan, Tetrahydrogestrinone, Clenbuterol and DHA police found in his backpack, Baines finally caved in and said, “I got them from a vending machine outside the boys’ locker room. Originally, I thought they were Mentos, but they tasted awful and made me feel funny. Later, when I saw what they were doing for my chess game, I got hooked.”
“Parents and coaches just don’t understand how much pressure we’re under to perform,” said Baines. “All of the young chess players are just so big and powerful, these days. I have to take steroids just to stay competitive.” Groman confirmed Baines’ comments. “Five years ago, a normal 13 year old boy would be around 5 foot 4 and weigh about 100 pounds. Today, that’s all changed. Bobby routinely has matches against other boys his age who are 6 foot 2 and weight over 235.”
“I need these drugs to compete,” cried Baines.
Drug abuse and doping is nothing new in the world of professional chess. In 1973, Grand Master Valery Solov was suspended for 14 games after blood tests confirmed a hematocrit of over 67%. After months of deliberation, Solov finally confessed to blood doping as part of a plea deal that resulted in the restoration of his tournament privileges. “I was scheduled to play a particularly brutal tournament in Denver, Colorado,” said Solov. “They call Denver ‘the Mile High City’ and I needed to do whatever I could to be at my best at that altitude. I admit I was wrong. But everybody’s doing it.”
“Part of Bobby’s problem is the lousy role models that teens have these days,” said Jessie Stagg, Bobby’s third period physical education teacher. “They see professional athletes like Barry Bonds and Jose Canseco doing steroids to pump up their batting averages and ask themselves, ‘Why shouldn’t I?”
“Even though they’re only in 8th grade, the competition for full chess scholarships to the Ivy League colleges is incredible. Kids gotta do what they gotta do,” said Stagg.
And it’s not only athletics that are being impacted by performance enhancing drugs. “Steroids have absolutely destroyed our boys’ voices,” complained Lois Prum, Director of the St. Anthony’s Boys’ Choir at the Junior High School. “They used to sound so angelic. But their voices were cracking left and right at last year’s Christmas Pageant. They absolutely annihilated ‘Good King Wenceslas’.”
The next step in the investigation is to request a Sample B of Bobby’s blood from the Olympic Analytical Laboratory at the University of California, Los Angeles. “The problem with analyzing Bobby’s Sample B, is the fact that a 13 year old boy’s hormones are all over the place,” said Donald H. Catlin, Director of the lab. “If he’s been within ten miles of a copy of Penthouse or Hustler, his testosterone readings will be way, way off. It’s just impossible to get accurate measurements.”
Fortunately for Bobby, a chess competitor’s career is much longer than, say a professional gymnast. “With the proper guidance and substance abuse counseling, even if he’s suspended from tournament play for a year, it shouldn’t really make much of an impact in Bobby’s career,” said Stagg. “He could get disqualified five or six times and still remain competitive. After all, Garry Kasparov was 47 when he retired and he didn’t even know about steroids.”