A new type of fighting has started to come to the forefront and gain some attention. No, I’m not talking about the UFC. I’m talking about a sport that is just as physical but a lot more mentally challenging. In order to win you must use your feet, your hands, and most importantly, your brain. I’m talking about chess boxing.
What is chess boxing you ask? Chess boxing is a sport that combines chess with boxing. Two competitors will take each other on in an eleven round match. The two opponents will start by sitting at a chessboard and matching wits. They will do battle for four minutes and then they will have one minute to change into their boxing gear. Once the one-minute break is up the two opponents will combat each other in a two-minute round of boxing.
The winner of the match can win one of five ways: you can knock out your opponent in the ring, get a checkmate in the chess match, judge’s decision, throw in the towel, or if one player’s chess moves take more than twelve minutes. A player is allowed to throw in a towel either during the boxing portion or the chess portion. I know that sounds crazy but I once witnessed a chess-boxing match where one of the opponents took a few clean shots to the head during the boxing round. He then went to the chess table and his head was so jumbled and hurting from being punched around that he grabbed his head like he had just gotten a brain freeze. He then quit and the other fighter was awarded the win via brain fart.
The governing body behind chess boxing is the World Chess Boxing Organisation (WCBO). In 2003 the WCBO held the first world championship in Berlin where Lepe “The Joker” Rubingh was victorious. Recently Zoran “The Priest” Mijatovic and “Anti-Terror” Frank Stoldt butted heads in front of what was probably the largest crowd in chess boxing history, 400 people.
Unfortunately there is some controversy with the rules. It is believed that superior boxers with no chess skills could easily win matches just by waiting out the first couple of chess rounds and then punishing their opponent in a boxing match. You would think if all they cared about was boxing then they would just be boxing but who knows, maybe they see this as an opportunity to get some easy wins beating up chess nerds. If that is the case, maybe they are the smarter fighters after all.