What is Chess Boxing?

A.E. Jaquith

Chess boxing is a modern sport that combines the strategic game of chess with the martial sport of boxing. The sport was first depicted in the comic Le Froid Eqateur, which translates to Cold Equator, by Enki Bilal. Dutch artist IEPE is credited with the concept.

A chess boxer can win either via knockout or checkmate.
A chess boxer can win either via knockout or checkmate.

The type of chess that has been incorporated into chess boxing is speed chess. In speed chess, each player receives a specific amount of time to make a move. A timer begins at the start of each player's turn. After the player makes a move, his timer stops and the opponent's begins. Each player has a predetermined amount of time to win the match, and if they exceed the time limit, they lose.

Opponents in a chess boxing fight alternate between rounds of chess and boxing.
Opponents in a chess boxing fight alternate between rounds of chess and boxing.

In a fight, opponents alternate between a four minute round of chess and a three minute round of boxing. The fight begins with a round of chess, and then a round of boxing. There are 11 total rounds in a match, with six rounds of chess and five rounds of boxing. After each round of boxing, the opponents receive one minute to change their gear. Each player receives 12 total minutes of chess time. If a player does not make a move in a round of chess, he or she receives a warning and must make a move in ten seconds.

The match can be won in a variety of ways. A boxer can win either via knockout or checkmate. If a boxer exceeds the 12 minute limit for chess, then he or she loses. If the chess game is a draw at the end of the match, the boxer with the most points wins. If both the boxing and chess aspects are a draw, the fighter with the black chess pieces wins the match.

In November of 2003, the World Chess Boxing Organization (WCBO) was formed. The WCBO is primarily concerned with promoting chess boxing as a legitimate, internationally recognized sport. The WCBO also started the first club, called the Chess Boxing Club of Berlin.

Some believe that to succeed in this sport, you need only to be a superb boxer, but this is not the case. To prevent this problem, the WCBO requires that each contender have a minimum Elo rating of 1,800. The Elo system determines the statistical skill level of a chess player. A player with an Elo rating of 1,000 is considered a skilled beginner, with established chess masters rating over 2,400. Requiring a boxer to have a minimum rating of 1,800 prevents professional circuit boxers from wreaking havoc in the chess boxing world.

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chess boxing is a good game.

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