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 Post subject: Bridge player banned for using steroids and fertility drugs
Post #1 Posted: Sat Mar 02, 2019 6:42 am 
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Crazy world: https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/2 ... 038216002/


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 Post subject: Re: Bridge player banned for using steroids and fertility dr
Post #2 Posted: Sat Mar 02, 2019 7:45 am 
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And not just any bridge player, but current world no 1, Geir Helgemo.

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 Post subject: Re: Bridge player banned for using steroids and fertility dr
Post #3 Posted: Sat Mar 02, 2019 8:54 am 
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The Norwegian Bridge Federation -- Norway is his home country, but he now plays for Monaco -- said that the drugs were not performance enhancing for bridge. Moi, IMO the drug rules for mind sports should be different than for other sports, but one of the drugs was synthetic testosterone, and it is quite likely that testosterone is a performance booster for mind sports, as well.

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 Post subject: Re: Bridge player banned for using steroids and fertility dr
Post #4 Posted: Sat Mar 02, 2019 10:19 am 
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From the linked story:

"The World Bridge Federation says the world’s No. 1 bridge player has been suspended after failing a drug test...
...After accepting he had breached anti-doping rules, Helgemo was suspended by the WBF until Nov. 20. He also had all titles, medals and points from the 2018 World Bridge Series revoked.

"Kari-Anne Opsal, president of the Norwegian Bridge Federation, said the drugs were “not performance enhancing.”

"The federation said on its website Friday that Geir Helgemo, who is Norwegian but represents Monaco in bridge events, tested positive for synthetic testosterone and female fertility drug clomifene..."

So he was just trying to get pregnant, I guess. :shock:

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 Post subject: Re: Bridge player banned for using steroids and fertility dr
Post #5 Posted: Sat Mar 02, 2019 12:04 pm 
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Bill Spight wrote:
it is quite likely that testosterone is a performance booster for mind sports


What kind of mental functions does testosterone improve?

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 Post subject: Re: Bridge player banned for using steroids and fertility dr
Post #6 Posted: Sat Mar 02, 2019 12:35 pm 
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Joaz Banbeck wrote:
So he was just trying to get pregnant, I guess. :shock:


This is a fairly standard combination for men who want to raise their testosterone levels. Clomephine increases a hormone in men that stimulates testosterone production.

jlt wrote:
What kind of mental functions does testosterone improve?


Not sure if one can improve performance with higher than normal levels, but having below normal levels can significantly impair cognition in men. Although if that were the issue, presumably he could have obtained a medical exemption. In the US, there is a small industry of clinics that prescribe this kind of regimen to older men. Google "Low T" and see what pops up ;-)

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 Post subject: Re: Bridge player banned for using steroids and fertility dr
Post #7 Posted: Sat Mar 02, 2019 1:27 pm 
Honinbo

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jlt wrote:
Bill Spight wrote:
it is quite likely that testosterone is a performance booster for mind sports


What kind of mental functions does testosterone improve?


Unclear -- to me. anyway. But it should increase competitiveness. My bridge partner in the 1980s -- we won a national charity event -- used to say, "Let's go out and kick some ass." ;)

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 Post subject: Re: Bridge player banned for using steroids and fertility dr
Post #8 Posted: Sat Mar 02, 2019 2:14 pm 
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Bill Spight wrote:
jlt wrote:
Bill Spight wrote:
it is quite likely that testosterone is a performance booster for mind sports


What kind of mental functions does testosterone improve?


Unclear -- to me. anyway. But it should increase competitiveness. My bridge partner in the 1980s -- we won a national charity event -- used to say, "Let's go out and kick some ass." ;)


Would love to see the go version of “roid-rage”! Plus, it might make moving those huge floor gobans easier ;-)

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 Post subject: Re: Bridge player banned for using steroids and fertility dr
Post #9 Posted: Sun Mar 03, 2019 5:34 am 
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 Post subject: Re: Bridge player banned for using steroids and fertility dr
Post #10 Posted: Sun Mar 03, 2019 9:54 am 
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Bill Spight wrote:
jlt wrote:
Bill Spight wrote:
it is quite likely that testosterone is a performance booster for mind sports


What kind of mental functions does testosterone improve?


Unclear -- to me. anyway. But it should increase competitiveness. My bridge partner in the 1980s -- we won a national charity event -- used to say, "Let's go out and kick some ass." ;)
It's not clear to me that this would be a benefit. There's fun research that CEOs who drive really fast cars have slightly worse results than peers, theory being that they take too many risks. However, I suspect that from the perspective of anti-doping agencies, it wouldn't matter. If a drug has mixed upsides and downsidesit would probably be banned (consider a stimulant that could increase focus or make you jittery and worse off).

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 Post subject: Re: Bridge player banned for using steroids and fertility dr
Post #11 Posted: Sun Mar 03, 2019 11:56 am 
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The story in the UK press had this snippet:

Quote:
The WBF said Helgemo had “provided details of how the prohibited substances may have come to be present in his system”, though an extract of the panel’s ruling did not elaborate.


Which hints at a non-bridge reason, perhaps.

Not being a bridge player (lucky me), I had never heard of Helgemo, so I was not previously aware that Norway, with a tiny population of about 5 million, has two world champions in mind sports. Maybe they put something in the water there...

At school we were taught that one reason Britain led the world in the Industrial Revolution was that tea was being imported from the Empire and was cheap enough for the masses. This led to a huge improvement in workers' health, apparently. At least that's how I remember it.

Now it seems some people believe that if you put Te in the water...

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 Post subject: Re: Bridge player banned for using steroids and fertility dr
Post #12 Posted: Sun Mar 03, 2019 12:34 pm 
Honinbo

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Bill Spight wrote:
jlt wrote:
Bill Spight wrote:
it is quite likely that testosterone is a performance booster for mind sports


What kind of mental functions does testosterone improve?


Unclear -- to me. anyway. But it should increase competitiveness. My bridge partner in the 1980s -- we won a national charity event -- used to say, "Let's go out and kick some ass." ;)


hyperpape wrote:
It's not clear to me that this would be a benefit. There's fun research that CEOs who drive really fast cars have slightly worse results than peers, theory being that they take too many risks. However, I suspect that from the perspective of anti-doping agencies, it wouldn't matter. If a drug has mixed upsides and downsidesit would probably be banned (consider a stimulant that could increase focus or make you jittery and worse off).


Yeah, my partner was a risk taker. So was I, but not as much. IMHO, risk taking pays off more at bridge than go, because bridge is a game of hidden information. If you act like you got it, your opponents may believe that you got it. :) My go style is fairly placid. Too placid, according to the bots, it seems. There is some research that suggests that, at investing, being a moderate risk taker yields the best return.

BTW, my guess is that CEOs take too many risks, in general. It has to do with selection bias. Big winners are usually risk takers who get lucky. Neither they nor their peers are likely to attribute their success to luck.

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 Post subject: Re: Bridge player banned for using steroids and fertility dr
Post #13 Posted: Sun Mar 03, 2019 12:35 pm 
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The New York Times picked this up over here: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/02/spor ... oping.html

A few interesting points from the article:

1. He claimed not to know how the substances got into his system. He later decided that they must have been part of supplements that a friend of his gave him to help him lose weight.

2. He is apparently currently in prison for tax evasion in Norway. The story linked to this other article from a Norwegian source: https://www.newsinenglish.no/2017/09/29 ... ail-terms/. Apparently, this guy and Norway's other world champion bridge player were recruited to play for a team from Monaco, and on advice from other friends in the international bridge community, they did not report their bridge winnings as income to Norway. Oops! Seems like he needs more qualified friends ;-) That said, the life of a high-level bridge player sounds pretty darn good! And who knew that being a mind sport champion could be so interestingly controversial.

3. To the question of enhancement, apparently the federation acknowledges that the drugs were not meant to enhance performance. There is an interesting short discussion about the importance of physical and mental stamina that would be applicable to go. However, the testing is done to preserve the sports reputation.

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 Post subject: Re: Bridge player banned for using steroids and fertility dr
Post #14 Posted: Sun Mar 03, 2019 3:50 pm 
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John Fairbairn wrote:

At school we were taught that one reason Britain led the world in the Industrial Revolution was that tea was being imported from the Empire and was cheap enough for the masses. This led to a huge improvement in workers' health, apparently. At least that's how I remember it.

Now it seems some people believe that if you put Te in the water...


Yeah, but maybe the tea itself had nothing to do with it. Maybe boiling the water before drinking it was what was making the difference. At the time of the Industrial Revolution Britain was still having epidemics of the water borne diseases.


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 Post subject: Re: Bridge player banned for using steroids and fertility dr
Post #15 Posted: Fri May 10, 2019 3:41 pm 
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lol. if you are taking roids, you have punished yourself enough anyway....

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 Post subject: Re: Bridge player banned for using steroids and fertility dr
Post #16 Posted: Sat May 11, 2019 1:08 pm 
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No, the female fertility drugs like clomid and arimidex and the like are taken by bodybuilders as an anti-aromatase substance (the process by which excess testosterone gets converted in the body to estrogen, which can give side effects like man boobs). He was obviously taking the steroids recreationally to build muscle and the female fertility drugs to reduce the side effects. I doubt he would have any advantage in mind sports.

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