Should chess be a sport in the 2012 Olympics?
The question of whether chess is a sport has been debated many times. The answer depends crucially on whether you regard games as needing a "physical" element to them in order to qualify as a sport. It is the lack of a physical element in chess that often causes it to be excluded from the category of sports.
Many, however, would disagree. Notable among these are the International Olympic Committee, the body responsible for organising the Olympic Games.
In fact, chess has already been at the Olympic Games. It was an exhibition event at Sydney in 2000 where Anand and Shirov played two rapid games. So should chess be included as a full event at the 2012 Olympics in London? (hideous logo pictured).
Many countries already recognize chess as a sport and just last year the UK was added to the list when it finally granted chess official recognition as a sport. This is not just a question of semantics. By being classed as a sport, chess clubs and other chess organisations can now apply for grants and lottery funding aimed at sports. It could be a vitally important distinction for any chess clubs struggling to survive.
One corollary of FIDE's ambition to make chess an Olympic sport is the need for drug testing of competitors. What drug could a chess player possibly take to improve performance and more importantly, where can I get it?!
More important for chess, of course, is the need to ensure that computer-assisted cheating is made impossible. Strict measures are necessary, since the taint of allegations is just as destructive as cheating itself.
My money's on Magnus Carlsen to beat them both!