Chess Boxing

Ruthie WrightRuthie Wright / Photo Credit: Apex

Summary

Chess Boxing is a new “hybrid” sport which combines various elements of chess and Boxing into a challenging battle of wills. Though a relatively new sport, Chess Boxing is gradually gaining popularity throughout the world. What sets it apart from others sports in this category is how it requires physical strength and agility as well as strong mental capabilities. Introduced by Iepe Rubingh in its modern form, it was originally conceived by James and Stewart Robinson in Greenwich, England in 1973. In a dramatic display of brawn and brains, players go through alternate rounds of chess and boxing for a total of 11 rounds or until one player wins.(1)

History / Origins

ETYMOLOGY

The term Chess Boxing was first used for this hybrid sport in 1992 by Yugoslavia-born French author Enki Bilal, in his graphic novel “Froid Equateur”. As it combines two classic physical and mental sports, the name is just a combination of their two names into one. Today the term Chess Boxing is often used interchangeably with Chessboxing.

BEGINNINGS

The idea of combining a physical sport with one that requires you to use brain power is not a new one. Many fictional works have depicted the concept in one way or the other. Having said that, Chess Boxing was seen for the very first time in 1970’s at a Boxing club in Greenwich, England. It was conceived by two siblings James and Stewart Robinson. The two, being amateur Boxers and club chess players had a deep interest in both games.. However, it was Dutch artist Iepe Rubingh who introduced Chess Boxing into the modern world. The first Chess Boxing tournament was held in Amsterdam in 2003 which Rubingh won. This was followed by many other events in Europe. Among them the most well-known was the European Chess Boxing Championship in Berlin on October1, 2005. With each passing year, Chess Boxing gained popularity in the world of chess and Boxing. The fact became evident when the FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov played a friendly Chess Boxing match in 2008 to show his support.(1)(2)

PRESENT DAY

In recent years numerous Chess Boxing tournaments have been held in European countries, United States and Japan. There are Chess Boxing clubs and matches on local levels in many countries including India. The World Chess Boxing Organization (WCBO) is the governing body for the sport. The organization has a motto, “Fighting is done in the ring and wars are waged on the board.”(3)

More recently Iran has joined in with its Iranian Chess Boxing Organization, ICBO. Many well-known celebrities and famous people have started showing an interest in the sport. Among them is the television producer Timothy Woolgar, who participates actively in hosting Chess Boxing tournaments in London.
Today Chess Boxing competitions require players with extensive skills in both chess and Boxing. The bar for chess experience has been set at 1800, so that even those who are the weakest at playing chess can beset their opponents in Boxing. All world class Boxers have to demonstrate a well-rounded performance in both chess and Boxing. Famous Chess Boxer Sazhin has an ELO rating of 1900 while the European Chess Boxing champion Tihomir Atanassov Dovramadjiev has an outstanding rating of 2300, with multiple wins in chess competitions the world over.

FOLKLORE

With its origin in the world of comic books, people got their very first taste of this exotic sport in the pages of Enki Bilal’s comic book. In the comic, a bout of Boxing was followed by a match of chess. However, being a relatively new sport there is not much in terms of folklore associated with it. It just represents a balance between the physical and the mental abilities of a human being; any person who shows extraordinary skills in chess and Boxing can become a world class Chess Boxer.

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COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: England
TIME OF ORIGIN: 1973
PRACTISED: 46 years
FOUNDERS:

James Robinson, Stewart Robinson

FOCUS: 

Striking, Punching, Mental Strategy

ALSO KNOWN AS: -
PARENTHOOD:

Boxing, Chess

DESCENDANTS:

OLYMPIC SPORT: No

NOTABLE FEMALE PRATITIONERS

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NOTABLE MALE PRATITIONERS

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NATIONALITY: English
DATE OF BIRTH:
AGE: 46 years
BORN:

RESIDENCE: -
ALSO KNOWN AS: -
OCCUPATION:

Striking, Punching, Mental Strategy

JOB TITLE:

Boxing, Chess

RELATED FEMALE INDIVIDUALS

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RELATED MALE INDIVIDUALS

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COUNTRY: England
LOCATION: -
FOUNDED: 1973
OPERATIONAL: 46 years
FOUNDERS:

James Robinson, Stewart Robinson

ALSO KNOWN AS: -
SECTOR:

Striking, Punching, Mental Strategy

DESCRIPTION:

Boxing, Chess

WEBSITE: -

ACOSSIATED INDIVIDUALS

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ACOSSIATED ATHLETES

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Practices

PHILOSOPHY

Chess Boxing has a simple philosophy; to be a world class Chess Boxer you have to be a skilled chess player as well as an exceptional Boxer. This blend of physical and mental abilities in a person is what Chess Boxing is all about. To stretch your body to the limit on a physical level, while honing your brain power is a challenge that not many can undertake. However, that’s precisely the philosophy behind this unusual sport and it is what is making it popular across the globe. There are many physical sports out there, as are games that require a test of mental skill but there are hardly any sports that require both in this way, making Chess Boxing unique in every sense of the word.

TECHNIQUES

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TRAINING

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RANKS & GRADING

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WEIGHT CLASSES

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Rules / Rulesets

RULES / RULESETS

There are a total of 11 rounds in Chess Boxing. The game can end before that though, if one of the players wins at a round. The game consists of alternate rounds of chess and Boxing but starts with chess. In the chess round each player is given a four minute time for each move for a total of 12 minutes. The Boxing round is three minutes long and scoring is like all Boxing matches, using the “ten-point-must”. If the player knocks out his opponent, he wins the match. At the end of all 11 rounds, if the chess game has ended in a draw, the Boxing scores are used to determine the winner.

Organisations & Historical Places

ORGANISATIONS

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HISTORICAL PLACES

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Popular Culture

POPULAR CULTURE

The release of the 1979 martial arts film, “The Mystery of Chess Boxing”, (Shuang ma lian huan) was a turning point for Chess Boxing and sparked an interest in this unusual sport the world over. It has become part of popular culture and while some regard it as an absurd sport, it continues to grow in popularity among the youth in general and among boxing enthusiasts in particular.

Useful Links

USEFUL LINKS

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References

REFERENCES

  1. http://chess.about.com/od/chessvariants/a/Chessboxing.htm
  2. https://uk.eurosport.yahoo.com/blogs/world-of-sport/chess-boxing-yes-actual-thing-175224799.html
  3. https://www.andrew.cmu.edu/org/cmu-chess-club/chess_boxing.htm#History

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