Chess Boxing

What is chess boxing?

Chess boxing is an interesting sport which combines chess and boxing. It is the combination of brain and brawn.

  • A chess boxing fight consists of 11 rounds, 6 rounds of chess and 5 rounds of boxing, and a victory in either chess or boxing decides the result.
  • There are alternate chess and boxing rounds, and a full-distance contest begins and ends with a round of chess. Each round lasts for three minutes, regardless of whether it involves chess or boxing.
  • A single chess game is played over the six rounds. That is a total of 18 minutes, each player has of 9 minutes with no increment to make all their moves.
  • There is a one minute break in between the rounds where the chess equipment is removed and the boxers wear their gloves.

Who can participate? Requirements?

In order to be permitted to compete in a professional chess boxing fight, a chess boxer must have strong skills in both chess and boxing. The person should have an Elo rating of 1600 and a record of at least 50 amateur bouts fought in boxing or another similar martial art in order to participate in the Chess Boxing Global Event.

Chess boxing is a way to train oneself to quickly shift mindset from action to calm. It tests the mental and physical capabilities to deal with the continuous change of pace.

How a winner is declared in a chess boxing match?

  1. Victory by knockout or technical knockout in boxing.
  2. Victory by checkmate in chess.
  3. Loss by resignation in either chess or boxing round.
  4. Loss due to exceeding the time control in chess.
  5. Victory due to disqualification of his or her opponent by the referee e.g. due to inactivity due to overextended playing time. (This rule prevents a player who is in an obviously lost position in one arena from stalling in order to attempt to win in the other.)
  6. If neither of the chess boxers win on time and the chess game ends in a draw, the fighter who is ahead on boxing points wins the overall bout.
  7. In case the scoreboard is also tied, the fighter that used the black chess pieces will be declared the winner, due to the first-move advantage in chess.

The fighter playing the black pieces decides on which side of the board the clock is placed. The chess boxers are given headphones in case of the ongoing commentary and audience while playing chess.

Who invented it?

It was invented by Dutchman Iepe Rubingh. His idea was to create a new sport fusing the two contradictory disciplines. The point was to find the smartest and toughest person on the planet. It originated from the 1992 French comic- Froid Équateur by cartoonist Enki Bilal, that portrayed a chess boxing world championship. However in the comic book, the opponents fight an entire boxing match before they face each other in a game of chess. Finding this to be impractical, Rubingh developed the idea with alternating rounds of chess and boxing and a detailed set of rules and regulations. Rubingh later became the first world champion.

Froid Équateur by Enki Bilal

The first chess boxing competition took place in Berlin in 2003. However, it was only in 2008 when FIDE president Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, took part in a chess boxing demo fight in Elista, that the sport was credited internationally and began to grow.

Unlike a normal game of chess, chess boxing is more spectator friendly. Slowly the sport is getting popular and we might hear a lot about it in the coming years, just like the popular WWE.

One thought on “Chess Boxing

  1. Chessboxing is a dualistic form of sport, such as the Nordic biathlon, which combine cross country skiing and sharp shooting – where one need to utilise strength and speed, but also the ability to focus and to be calm. In my experience, as a chessboxer, I find the chess to be the dominant area, i.e. in most cases the bout will end in either check mate or running out of time. The in between boxing is, more or less, an opportunity to scramble the opponent’s ability to play focused and relaxed chess. However, an experienced boxer can win the opponent, regardless of personal chess ELO-rating, by going “all in” in the boxing round.

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