Obscure Sports Weekly: Chess Boxing

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If you think boxing and chess do not go hand-in-hand, think again. The sport of chess boxing is indeed an actual thing.

The sport combines playing chess and boxing, although the two are not done simultaneously. The sport tests both the brains and brawn of athletes. The sport originates from the French comic strip “Froid Equater.” The comic featured a scene including a world chess boxing championship in 1992. During the 1970s a different and informal version of chess boxing existed at a boxing club in London, although there is no link between this and the official sport.

A fight in chess boxing consists of alternating between six rounds of chess and five rounds of boxing. Both of the individual events follow the same essential rules that are followed normally. There are weight classes in to which competitors fall, just like in normal boxing. There are also time limits during the chess rounds, as is typical of chess tournaments.

There are some rules unique to this sport. If there is a tie, whichever opponent has the most points in the boxing rounds is declared the winner. If there is still a tie after that, the competitor who used the black chess pieces is the winner. This rule has not been used in practice yet at a large tournament, and not much information is available as to why it is the rule.

A winner is declared during regulation time if any of the following occurs: knockout, technical knockout, checkmate, exceeding the time limit during a chess round, disqualification by the referee or competitor resignation. If none of these happen the winner is determined using the rules for tie-breaking.

The chess boxing world championship was organized by the World Chess Boxing Organization from 2003 until 2013 and is now run by Chess Boxing Global. Both of these organizations aim to unite chess boxing clubs from around the world and promote the sport.

There are chess boxing clubs globally and in the United States. The sport is particularly popular in Europe. Unfortunately, there is no club here in the Kansas City area. The closest club is the Los Angeles Chess Boxing Club.

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