A look into chess boxing

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The eye of the tiger. Wikipedia Commons

All about making moves

What’s something that you’ve been looking for? An intellectually and physically challenging game? Look no further! Welcome to the world of chess boxing. You heard that right folks: chess boxing. This overall challenging sport has been going strong since 1992 when it originated in Germany. You can now find individuals taking part in competitions in various countries such as England, Netherlands, France, Russia and Japan. To compete on this international scale, you need to be extremely skilled in both chess and boxing.

 What is the overall objective of something that combines two very different activities? Both are played in alternating rounds and it is important to do well at both of them to help increase your chances of winning. To win the chess rounds you must either gain checkmate over your opponent or get them to withdraw from the game, and to win the boxing rounds you must either knock out your opponents or receive more points. The purpose of these points is to ensure victory if the chess game ends in a draw.

Sounds complicated, but hang in there, the limited amount of rules this sport has will reassure you that this is something to consider trying out. One of the most important things is that the players must have an understanding of both the disciplines being performed. If you do not have a background in both then you will not be able to compete. So far, it doesn’t seem too crazy. Players will participate in six rounds of chess and five rounds of boxing that must be completed in their entirety before moving on to the next round. The only time that all 11 rounds are not completed is if a winner is determined during one of the earlier rounds. As mentioned beforehand, you can win from either chess or boxing rounds as it is dependent on either knocking out your opponent in the boxing round or getting checkmate during the chess round. The standard to the amount of experience you have in chess, in order to compete, is a rating of at least 1800. If not, you are considered ineligible to compete in the sport. Finally, you cannot deliberately waste time during the chess rounds when choosing your moves. If the referees decide that you are purposefully wasting everyone’s time then they are permitted to penalize you. This penalty consists of losing 10 seconds in your chess game play. 10 seconds does not seem like a lot, but it could make or break whether or not you make a poor move due to a lack of time and an added feeling of pressure as a result of this lost time.

You are probably wondering how much time you actually have to accomplish all of this. You definitely do not have forever let me tell you. Chess rounds are performed in 4 minute intervals while boxing rounds are performed in 3 minute rounds. The participants are provided 1 minute between each round to switch equipment and go to where they need to be located for the next round. As you can see this is where the stalling in the chess rounds becomes very important to monitor. If you end up pressuring your opponent into a poor move by running down the clock that is viewed poorly in the chess boxing community and is where you will be penalized for wasting time.

 The equipment that is required to participate in this intense sport is very minimal. If you are looking for a cheap, but challenging sport you should see this as your perfect option. Surprisingly, for the boxing rounds you are required to wear boxing gloves. The rest of your outfit does not matter, but gloves are mandatory. When you switch to the chess rounds you must remove your gloves and put on noise cancelling headphones. This may seem like a strange piece of equipment for an athlete to wear. The purpose of the headphones is to prevent the players from hearing all the advice that the crowd is yelling at them and to allow them to concentrate on the moves that they think are most appropriate for the match.

This is a sport that will continue to be difficult no matter how long you participate. Not only is it physically demanding like most other sports but it is also very mentally demanding. These demands are presented in two very unique ways which only increases the challenge at hand. If this is something that is of interest to you then you should be applauded for enduring such a difficult activity. Remember to train hard and not to dawdle in your decision making. Good luck athletes.

Sarah Nakonechny

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