I don’t know about you, but I have always been a big Wu-Tang Clan fan. As such, I was awestruck about a year ago when I saw a story on tv about a new sport called chess boxing (Wu-Tang has a track on their first album called Da Mystery of Chessboxin. The title is a reference to an old kung fu film where a student learns the strategic correlation between chess and kung fu.)
True to its name, chess boxing is an interesting mix of chess and boxing; a match consists of eleven rounds, alternating between chess and boxing. The chess rounds are four minutes long and the boxing rounds are two minutes long. During the 1 minute break between rounds, competitors change their gear. A win may be declared either by knock out (my personal favorite), checkmate or judges’ decision. The sport has been growing in Europe at a fairly rapid rate since its inception about 5 years ago, when a dutch artist named Iepe Rubingh held and competed in the first event.
Though the sport is fairly new, the concept was actually conceived in 1992 in a comic book titled “The Nikopol Trilogy.” The comic took place in the future and competitors would box on a floor which resembled a chessboard.
Chess boxing is sanctioned by the World Chess Boxing Organization. Though it has yet to make a serious impact in America, there are some serious American competitors, one of whom knocked out New England Patriots QB Tom Brady in a boxing match before he began playing in the NFL. Talk about bragging rights!