Chess Boxing – An Intellectual Fight Club

September 6, 2010 at 7:33 pm (life!)

alright, enough people have asked me about chess boxing to warrant a post.

yes, i did play chess (briefly for the national team, but that was a long time ago), and no, i do not do boxing. at least not yet. i’m just following it keenly at the moment, with a view of taking it up next year; possibly setting it up as a new sport at my college.

anyway, i shall attempt to have a go at explaining it.

before you go, “what next, monopoly gongfu?”, chess boxing is an actual sport which began when Dutch artist Iepe Rubingh, inspired by fictional depictions by French comic book artist and filmmaker Enki Bilal, organized actual bouts.


the basic idea in chess boxing is to combine the #1 thinking sport and the #1 fighting sport into a hybrid that demands the most of its competitors – both mentally and physically. in it’s simplest form, it’s a game where players play chess for a little while, then box the crap out of each other, then try to continue their game of chess. repeat as per necessary. now just how awesome does that sound?

i’m going to follow up next with an elaboration of the rules, a tad more complicated, so take some time to get your head around it.

a typical chess boxing bout consists of 11 rounds – 6 rounds of chess, and 5 rounds of boxing. a round of chess takes 4 minutes, and a round of boxing takes 3 minutes. each competitor has 12 minutes on the chess timer, and the players put on headphones so that they do not hear any shouted assistance from the audience.

between the rounds there is a 1 minute pause, during which competitors change their gear. the contest is decided by:

1. checkmate (chess round)
2. exceeding the time limit (chess round)
3. retirement of an opponent (chess or boxing round)
4. KO (boxing round)
5. or referee decision (boxing round)

world-class chess-boxers must not only be experienced boxers, but must also be chess masters. for example, Nikolai Sazhin has an Elo rating of around 1900, while European chess boxing champion Tihomir Atanassov Dovramadjiev is a FIDE Master with a rating over 2300 and has won multiple chess competitions.

the sport is currently governed by the World Chess Boxing Organisation (WCBO), whose motto is “fighting is done in the ring and wars are waged on the board.”

so….anyone wants to challenge me to a bout anytime soon? i’m sure we could get a match going, by hook or by rook!

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