The thought of this game being a sport is exhilarating. Mind games and physical games have always been kept separate for several years. Whatever the reason was, no one bothered because it works.
Up until chess, boxing was invented. It dared to break the old regime and won excellently. Chess Boxing is a dual-sport that combines the great mind game, Chess, and the physical game, Boxing, altogether. Amazing right?
In this article, you will understand what chess boxing is, how it became a sport, and how popular it is worldwide. You will be surprised to know the ins-and-outs of this fine game.
What Is Chess Boxing?
Let us consider this as an actual thing (because it is) and dive into what it entails for a moment. As it is clearly stating, it is a combination of Chess and Boxing, so players must have chess and boxing skills.
To win, a player will have to gain a checkmate in chess, or knock-out in boxing, an opponent to resign in either game or get disqualified. In the case of a tie on either or both sides of the game, the player with the highest point on both games wins.
A typical Chess Boxing match consists of 11 rounds of alternating chess and boxing rounds, all happening inside the ring. It starts with a 4-minute round of chess, followed by a 3-minute round of boxing.
The cycle continues with a 1-minute break between each round. More emphasis is placed on boxing, though, because except a player wins five of six rounds in chess, which is unlikely, most times, points are gained from the boxing round.
The game’s boxing aspect is divided into classes, called weight classes, as chess boxers are grouped based on how much they weigh.
There are the lightweight, middleweight, light heavyweight, and heavyweight of maximum weight per class of 154.324 lbs, 176.37 lbs, 198.416 lbs, and 188.416+ lbs.
How Was Chess Boxing Invented?
What genius is behind this masterpiece? How did it come about? How did these two totally different games end up becoming a thing? The genius behind chess boxing is (drumrolls) Iepe Rubingh (deceased), a Dutchman inspired by a novel.
The novel titles “Froid Equator,” written by Enki Bilal, a cartoonist, of which the front cover of the novel shows a man wearing a chessboard motif glove. Some narrations argue that Chess Boxing was mentioned earlier in a 1979 Kung Fu film, Mystery of Chessboxing produced by Joseph Kuo.
Rubingh invented Chess Boxing in 2003, and the first-ever Chess Boxing competition was held in the same year. He is the founder of the World Chess Boxing Organization (WCBO), created in 2003, and he was the president till he passed.
The World Chess Boxing Organization has a beautiful motto explaining in brief what Chess Boxing entails. It goes, “Fighting is done in the ring, and wars are waged on the board.”
Iepe Rubingh himself became the first World Chess Boxing Champion in 2003. Two years later, another Chess Boxing took place in Berlin on the 1st of October, 2005.
Between 2005-2014, Chess Boxing expanded in several countries like Berlin and London, and various clubs were formed. Thereafter in 2014, the WCBO became the umbrella organization for Chess Boxing worldwide.
The Popularity Of Chess Boxing
With the increasing awareness since 2014, Chess Boxing has been acknowledged as an actual sport, and the idea of the weirdness in combining both games has been widely overlooked.
Although it has not been included in the Olympics Games, the WCBO holds a yearly competition, and players from all over the world compete to claim the world champion title.
Currently, the sport has gained attention and is actively growing with several officially registered federations in countries like China, South Africa, Spain, Britain, Germany, India, Czech Republic, Madagascar, USA, Philippines, among several other countries.
With this recognition worldwide, it is only a matter of time before the sport is added to renowned championships like the Olympics.
The awkward harmony in this game is still surprising and quite funny. It is like mixing oil and water, except that they do not form separate layers and are both played on the same ring.
The fun part can be observed when an incredibly gentle-looking, focused chess player puts on gloves and rages hell on his opponent. Then he becomes a meek lamb minutes later, and the cycle of skill and fury continues.