Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Chess Boxing

It's chess! It's boxing! It's chess boxing! It is also ajedrez-boxeo (español), Schachboxen (Deutsch), and шахбокса (Русский).

For the uninitiated, professional chess boxing consists of alternating rounds of chess and boxing. Victory can be claimed in either type of round with either a knockout or a checkmate. The first round is chess, and there are a maximum of eleven rounds.

Each chess round is 4 minutes long and each boxer is on a cumulative 12 minute clock for the bout. A little math shows that should the match make it to the eleventh round (the sixth round of chess) one of the boxers will almost certainly time out. Each boxing round is three minutes long, and there is a one minute break between each round to don or remove gloves.

There is also a shortened set of amateur rules, akin to the way amateur boxing matches are shortened.

The first chess boxing world championship took place in Amsterdam in 2003, won by Iepe the Joker when Luis the Lawyer exceeded his time limit in the 11th round.

In order to become a member of the World Chess Boxing Organisation you must have been in at least 20 boxing matches, and you must have an ELO rating of 1800 which would be a Class A player under the United States Chess Federation rating system.

The best chess boxer to come out of the United States is David "Double-D" Depto, who grew up in West Virginia's Ohio Valley, and once beat the daylights out of the NFL's Tom Brady when he was at school in Michigan.

The idea for chess boxing was inspired by the graphic novel Froid Équateur by Enki Bilal.

If you are interested in becoming a professional chess boxer you can submit your application here.


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