Chessboxing is a hybrid sport that combines the physical discipline of boxing and the game of chess in alternating rounds. According to the World Chessboxing Association, the first known chessboxing club was set up in London in 1978 by amateur boxer and club chess player James Robinson. Widespread interest in the sport began after the conception of the sport at Greenich’s Mantagu Boys Club. Chessboxing was brought to a wider audience with the release of the Chinese kung-fu movie “The Mystery of Chessboxing,” and by 2008 independent chessboxing clubs began sprining up internationally in London, Berlin, and LA. Here’s how the sport is played:
The World Chessboxing Association organizes competitors into standard boxing weight class categories from strawweight to heavyweight. Competitors are graded and ranked by Elo points (devised by Hungarian chess master Arpad Elo) into an 8-tier system that ranks them against opponents of equal chess-playing ability. A full match consists of eleven rounds: six rounds of chess and five rounds of boxing. The match begins with a chess round and is followed by a boxing round alternating to the end of the match. During the chess rounds of the bout, the players wear closed-back headphones to avoid being distracted by the live commentary or any advice shouted from the audience.
There are several ways to win a chessboxing bout:
2- Time Penalty (your opponent runs out of time on his or her clock)
4-Disqualification– (if a competitor is guilty of cheating)
5- Points decision. In the event of a drawn game (by stalemate or repetition of the position) the decision is made on boxing points scored. If a draw occurs at any point prior to the final round, there will be one more round of boxing to conclude the bout.
The rules of the WCBA state that stalling by making chess moves very slowly (or not at all) is discouraged by an arbiter who constantly monitors the position on the chessboard. If the arbiter judges that a player is time-wasting, he has the ability to impose a ten-second time limit in which a player must move or be disqualified from the match. Similarly, if a position comes to a complete draw and the arbiter believes a player quickly moves their pieces to only win on time, the arbiter can declare the game a draw.
The combination sport is structured to be the perfect balance between mental and physical competition with an equal chance of winning in either chess or boxing. Check out WCA.com to learn more about the sport.