Checkmate By Knockout: The Sport of Chessboxing

Chessboxers use brains and braun to win the match.

Chessboxing is for real. Chessboxing photo via Paul Precott/Shutterstock.

Chessboxing is for real. Chessboxing photo via Paul Prescott/Shutterstock.

In what can only be described as the ultimate test of brains and braun, chessboxing is a “sport”.

It’s actually a fairly popular sport in London and Berlin. The game is exactly what it sounds like; fighters play chess, and then they box. There is even a Boston Chessboxing club. Maybe after a round of chess, you need to get your aggression out so it’s good to punch something? I like chess, but I’ve never wanted to punch my opponent.

According to the Boston Chessboxing Club, this is how you play:

A contest consists of 11 rounds, 6 rounds of chess, 5 rounds of boxing. A round of chess takes 4 minutes. Each competitor has 12 minutes on the chess timer. A round of boxing takes 3 minutes.

Between the rounds there is a 1 minute pause, during which competitors change their gear. The contest is decided by: checkmate (chess round), exceeding the time limit (chess round), retirement of an opponent (chess or boxing round), KO (boxing round), or referee decision (boxing round). If the chess game ends in a stalemate, the opponent with the higher score in boxing wins. If there is an equal score, the opponent with the black pieces wins.

The “sport” was invented by French artist and filmmaker Enki Bilal, based on a comic book he published in 1992. The first real chessboxing event was organized by Dutch artist Iepe Rubingh in 2003. You can win the fight either by the chess or the boxing element, so if you are more Mensa candidate than Muhammad Ali you have just as good of a chance of winning as the other guy.

For more information on chessboxing in our area, visit Boston Chessboxing’s Facebook page.

  • Ethan

    Can I ask who I can contact about attending a Chess Boxing event in the Boston area? The facebook page has not been updated recently and just trying to find more information about this sport.