There's A Sport Where You Play Chess And Then Punch Someone In The Face

Image: chess.com

Forget the World Chess Championship: we're here to talk about Chessboxing.

Invented in 1992 by Dutch performance artist, Iepe Rubingh, the idea came from a French comic that depicted the fictional sport. Thinking that this was an awesome idea, he decided to make it a thing.

It didn't take long for it to become a legitimate sport with its own rules, weight classes and regulations. The baseline is pretty simple though -- two competitors face off in 11 alternating rounds of chess and boxing.

Victory can occur via knockout, technical knockout, checkmate, winning by points in boxing or by time-out in chess. Disqualification and resignation can also occur.

It may sound like a joke, but it's serious business. Its popularity has spread all over the world and there are official organisations that represent the sport on most continents. Sadly, we don't have one in Australia yet.

It even has its own World Championship.

As an added milestone, 2015 saw Terry Marsh compete in Chessboxing -- making him the first professional boxer to officially get involved.

This is probably because there are strict regulations to enter official Chessboxing fights. Competitors need an Elo rating (the skill level calculator for both chess and other competitive games and sports) of 1600, a record of 50+ amateur bouts in either boxing or martial arts and speed chess training.

More people seem to be taking up the sport as its popularity grows. Would you give it a crack?


Comments

    First off, here's a link to more info about the comic.

    Competitors need an Elo rating (the skill level calculator for both chess and other competitive games and sports) of 1600, a record of 50+ amateur bouts in either boxing or martial arts and speed chess training.

    Wait a minute. If I'm reading this correctly, you're saying that you need to have boxing qualifications (50+ matches) but on the chess side you only need to have "speed chess training"? So any meathead can do an online course to tick the "chess training" box and then rely on the strategy of beating the crap out of opponents without any focus on the chess part?

      I actually really like it because it benefits people who already have practice being punched while playing chess, so I feel like there'd be like...a resilience stat for your brainier chess players who have faced prejudice

      You'd need the 1600+ Elo rating for chess too.

      It seems the rules also start the match with a chess round too, so if you're terrible at chess you might not get to the first boxing round.

        I think I'd need more information. I mean, 1600 isn't very high for chess. I feel like it'd be worthwhile dragging out the chess match as long as possible, just so you could beat your opponent into submission.
        I'm probably misunderstanding a key facet of this though as, if there's a way to rig the game, I'm sure someone's already tried it.

      @deathduck At least for official matches I highly doubt it. There's definitely dual importance placed on both aspects of the game.

    Damn I was waiting for the wu tang reference

      I was sure there'd be a 36 chambers mention

        I only opened this article to make comment that the author obviously hasn't heard of wutang before.

    This seems like a sport where you get worse (by brain damage) the more you play it.

    Funnily enough, around 2002 - 2003 I considered myself a reasonable prospect to become one of Australia's early chessboxers. I had a mid 1600s rating in chess and a bit of MMA training.

    But I was too lazy to do anything about it that involved travelling overseas (well, to be honest anything at all really) and I went and joined the army instead.

      @beavwa That's so fascinating! Have you thought about taking it up since then?

        Not seriously, no.
        I'm happy to see that it's still around and wasn't just a short lived silly concept.

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