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The price of headaches is, he said...

Not a poll question, but by way of introduction: should Lance Armstrong have been stripped of his victories in the Tour de France? If so, why?

If you did not answer "yes" and "because he took drugs and used methods on the banned list", then read no further.

If you did, hear me out for a while before voting.

It seems to me that the definition of a sporting contest is that participants compete as far as possible on equal terms. The innate, or natural, abilities of one contestant are pitted against the natural abilities of the other. That is why drugs and blood doping and the like are banned in cycling and other sports - they interfere with competition based purely on talent, training and experience.

If that's true of cycling, it should be true of bridge unless bridge is actually regarded as no more than a parlour game, not a game in which competition at the highest level should be rigorous.

In the ongoing debate on the case of Geir Helgemo I was struck by two contributions in particular: one from Michael Rosenberg who said "End all anti-doping regulations" and one from Marty Seligman who said "I tried modafinil at the bridge table and yes, for me, better bridge. What I got was focus and concentration in addition to more stamina."

It is generally acknowledged that if there is to be a banned list for bridge, it should not be imported wholesale from the banned list for cycling or anything else. It is also generally acknowledged that some drugs can provide a temporary improvement to focus, concentration and stamina.

Assume for the time being that there really are drugs that improve one's ability to play bridge. Assume also that these can reliably be identified and placed on the banned list by a competent authority. Yes, I know, but suspend disbelief for a few moments. Then:

There should be a banned list for high-level bridge
There should not be a banned list for high-level bridge

Sorry, to answer polls. Registered users can vote in polls, and can also browse other users' public votes! and participate in the discussion.

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