What is chessboxing?
Chessboxing is a dualistic sport, combining two traditional and well established sports, chess and boxing. In short words, two competitors fight in alternating rounds of chess and boxing. Each round last three minutes with one minute brake in between.
The idea of chessboxing originates from a science fiction comic (1992) by French artist Enki Bilal, where two opponents use chess and boxing contests to find out which of them is the toughest guy in the post- apocalyptic world. Over a decade later, a Dutch performance artist Iepe Rubingh made chessboxing into a real sport. He developed the idea further by making the chess rounds and boxing rounds alternating and organised the first bout in Berlin 2003.
Here is a YouTube introduction to the sport
[ you may want to skip the first 30 sec ]
The Rules in a nutshell
A chessboxing fight consists of 11 rounds, 6 rounds of chess and 5 rounds of boxing. Chess and boxing rounds alternate, beginning and ending with a round of chess. Each round lasts three minutes, regardless of whether it involves chess or boxing.
As a direct result of the rules, the total amount of chess playing time is 18 minutes (6 x 3 min), making it 9 minutes each player. Since both players have 9 minutes in their chess clock to start with, the only possibility to “go the distance” in chessboxing is to spend exactly as much time as your opponent for each chess move. Otherwise, one of the contenders will run out of time, which will end the fight.
After each chess round, the exact setup is digitally recorded and then repositioned before the following chess round. The breaks in between the chess and boxing rounds last 60 seconds.
A competitor may win in regulation time by any of the following:
Knockout / technical knockout
Opponent exceed the chess time limit
Opponent disqualification by the referee
Inactivity or ignoring the rules
Opponent resigns (in chess or boxing)
In chessboxing, the weight difference between categories is five kilograms up to 90kg, above which level is the heavyweight division.
Level of experience
A professional chessboxer must have strong skills in both chess and boxing in order to be permitted to compete in a chessboxing fight. The current minimum requirements to fight in a Chess Boxing Global event include an Elo-rating in chess of 1600 and a record of at least 50 amateur bouts fought in boxing or another similar martial arts.
However, in amateur level there are no formal requirements and typically a fighter is stronger in either boxing or chess, and relativery weaker in the other.
One deciding factor in chessboxing is that the fighters have to train in speed chess, where the requirements in are different than those in a classical game of chess. However the high level of chessboxing is not only the ability to master both sports but above all, being able to withstand the constant switch from a full contact sport to a thinking sport, and back.
In short, a successful chessboxer need to think fast and hit hard!
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