Have you ever heard of Chess Boxing? Yes, it does exist and it’s serious. This post is all about how Chess Boxing works, the history, who invented it, and everything in between.
What is Chess Boxing?
Chess is one of the world’s most famed games of strategy while boxing is one of the world’s oldest forms of competitive unarmed combat. Though most people think of boxing as an intense sport that involves two combatants standing across from one another and trading blows in an attempt to knock their opponent out or to win a decision on the judge’s scorecards, it is also a sport that involves plenty of strategy in its own right.
When these two activities come together, you get a fascinating hybrid sport known as chess boxing. When hearing this term, one might be tempted to think that this sport is a pure novelty. In reality, it is much more than that. This raises a simple question. What is chess boxing and how does it work?
Chess boxing combines the game of chess with the sport of boxing. The two participants alternate between a round of speed chess and a round of boxing until a winner emerges.
A win in chess boxing is achieved either by checkmate or by knocking one’s opponent out. The other way that victory can occur is by time penalty just like in a regular chess game or by a boxing decision in the case that the chess portion of the competition ends in a stalemate. This set of rules comes together to create a sport that is truly unique. It is also a sport that has a significant underground following of fans who enjoy it tremendously.
Who Invented the Sport of Chess Boxing?
The sport of chess boxing started out as a form of performance art. Its creator is Enki Bilal, a well-known comic book artist from France. Chess boxing was later adapted by Lepe Rubingh. Though the activity started out as a type of performance art, it has become a legitimate, competitive sport that enjoys a surprising level of popularity in certain parts of the world.
What Was the Inspiration for Creating Chess Boxing?
What might be considered the precursor to today’s sport of chess boxing occurred in London of the late 1970s. A pair of brothers, the Robinsons, made a habit of playing a game of chess immediately following their training sessions at their boxing club. The actual term chess boxing, or chessboxing, seems to have been minted in the film Mystery of Chessboxing. This is a Kung Fu-themed film from 1979 that was created by Joseph Kuo. In the early 1990s, the popular hip-hop group Wu-Tang Clan (known to be huge fans of martial arts movies) released a song that was titled Da Mystery of Chessboxin’. This song is the first time that the term itself came into popular culture on a more widespread level.
Are There Governing Bodies for the Sport of Chess Boxing?
The sport of chess boxing is governed by two primary organizing bodies. These are the World Chessboxing Association (WCBA) and the World Chess Boxing Organisation (WCBO). The former has been around since 2013 and is headquartered in London, U.K. while the latter was founded in 2003 and is headquartered in Berlin, Germany. Both of these organizations focus on promoting and popularizing the sport of chess boxing on an international level.
How Does Chess Boxing Work?
Chess boxing events are generally conducted inside a boxing ring. The two participants wear amateur boxing equipment and they follow the rules of amateur boxing matches. The chess rounds of this competition also take place inside the boxing ring. The chessboard, pieces, table, and chairs are removed from the ring each time the contest switches back to boxing.
A chess boxing match can include up to eleven rounds of combined chess and boxing. The usual breakdown is six rounds of chess and five rounds of boxing. There is a one-minute break between each of these intervals.
In terms of chess boxing regulations, the contest begins with a chess round. Each of these chess rounds lasts for four minutes. Every round of chess is followed by a round of boxing that lasts for three minutes.
How Do the Rounds in Chess Boxing Get Decided?
The chess rounds in chess boxing get decided by either checkmate or a penalty for exceeding the time limit. Boxing rounds are decided by a knockout or a referee decision. A match can also be decided by the retirement of an opponent whether it occurs in the boxing round or the chess round.
Are There Any Requirements to Participate in Chess Boxing?
There are some key requirements that participants must meet to be allowed to compete in a chess boxing match. Each participant has to demonstrate that they have a thorough understanding of the game of chess. They also have to demonstrate that they have a thorough understanding of the sport of boxing. It is generally expected that a chess boxing competitor will have a minimum chess rating of 1800 to be allowed to test their skills in a chess boxing match.
What Qualities Make for a Good Chess Boxer?
One of the biggest debates within the world of chess boxing is what qualities in an individual will lead to success. There are those who claim that the best attribute for success in chess boxing is to be a good chess player who can also throw a punch. Others claim that the most important attribute is to be a trained boxer who has the ability to think strategically. Given the fact that strategy is also a key part of the sport of boxing, this makes a lot of sense. The majority of the world’s top boxers are those who excel in the mental side of the sport as much as the physical side of it.
The truth is that it is probably a combination of both of these characteristics that will tend to make the best chess boxer. Those who can successfully put together both sides of this unique competition are the most likely to have success in it. This certainly seems to be the case in terms of those who have achieved the most success as chess boxers.
Where Is Chess Boxing Popular?
It comes as a surprise to many people, but the sport of chess boxing has a strong following in certain parts of the world. It is particularly popular in the United Kingdom as well as in Russia, Finland, Germany, France, Japan, the Netherlands, and India. Chess boxing contests are routinely held in these countries and they are attended by a large underground following of devoted fans who love to watch this fascinating hybrid sport.
Who Are Some Well-Known Chess Boxers?
Though the athletes of chess boxing might not be household names, they are certainly known well to those who follow the sport. At the current time, the world’s top chess boxers are Frank ‘Anti Terror’ Stoldt, Leo ‘Granit’ Kraft, and Nikolay ‘the Chairman’ Sazhin. These individuals have put together the qualities that are required to succeed in the sport of chess boxing and they have ascended to its greatest heights.
Chess Boxing in the United Kingdom
The United Kingdom is one of the most popular regions of the world for the sport of chess boxing. Given this fact, the chess boxing scene of the U.K. is worth looking into in its own right. London Chessboxing is a major promoter of all things chess boxing-related in the greater London, and U.K. region. The promotion is an affiliate organization of the World Chessboxing Association which is also based in the United Kingdom. The official website for London Chessboxing is a great place to head to find out about upcoming events and to purchase tickets.
London Chessboxing also puts on chess boxing classes that are held at the Islington Boxing Club. These classes take place on Saturdays from 10 to 11:30 am. The promotion also has its own podcast which routinely features some of the world’s top competitors in the sport as its guests.
Chess boxing is a truly unique competition within the world of sports. It takes two competitive activities that are often considered to be polar opposites of one another and combines them into a hybrid sport that is a lot of fun to watch. Another interesting fact about chess boxing is the fact that the more you watch it, the more that you realize that chess and boxing are not as much polar opposites of one another as you might have initially thought.
Both of these activities require a tremendous amount of strategy and determination. This might be a key reason why they seem to work so well together. Beyond this, there are many boxers who find that playing chess helps them in their boxing exploits due to the assistance it provides them on the mental side of things. With these points in mind, it certainly seems that chess boxing has a bright future ahead of it. It is a sport that has a loyal fanbase that continues to grow and it has governing bodies that are devoted to spreading its popularity.
That wraps up everything about Chess boxing, would you take up the sport?