Tuesday, December 6, 2005

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George Carlin probably wouldn't call this a sport

God bless the trend reporters at the Los Angeles Times -- particularly Jeffrey Fleishman, who has a story on a brand new sport -- chess boxing:

Martin "Amok" Thomas is jabbing a right, but Frank "so-cool-he-doesn't-need-a-nickname" Stoldt is as elusive as a ribbon in the wind. He can't be hit.


The gloves come off, and the men hurry across the canvas to the chessboard. (You heard it right.) Amok took a couple of body shots, and he's breathing hard, but he had better focus. That Stoldt, though, everyone in the gym knows he's this warrior-thinker, slamming the speed clock, cunningly moving his queen amid unraveling bandages and dripping sweat, daring Amok to leave him a sliver of opportunity.


Velcro rips. Amok slides back into his Everlast gloves, bites down on his mouthpiece, dances around the ropes. His king's in trouble, and his punches couldn't knock lint off a jacket. Stoldt floats toward him like a cloud of big hurt.

Such is the bewildering beauty of chessboxing. That's one word, as in alternating rounds of four minutes of chess followed by two minutes of boxing.

The World Chess Boxing Organization provides more detailed rules:
In a chessboxing fight two opponents play alternating rounds of chess and boxing. The contest starts with a round of chess, followed by a boxing round, followed by another round of chess and so on. In every round of chess the FIDE rules for a ´Blitz game´ apply, in every boxing round the AIBA rules apply with the following extensions and modifications: In a contest there shall be 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. As soon as the time runs out the game is over.

A round of boxing takes 2 minutes. Between 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 stalement, the opponent with the higher score in boxing wins. If there is an equal score, the opponent with the black pieces wins.

And, of course, there is a chess boxing blog. If you're interested in participating in a sanctioned chess boxing match, click here!

[I detect some mild mockery in this post;you really want to piss off the chessboxers?--ed. On the contrary, this could sell. Thirty years ago no one took beach volleyball seriously, and now it's a professional sport.... that advertises on blogs. So would you ever watch chess boxing?--ed. Er, probably not -- but I could be tempted to watch celebrity chessboxing. Just think of Naomi Watts vs. Salma Hayek. Yes, just think......]

posted by Dan on 12.06.05 at 09:57 AM


Anything that involves actuall boxing is unequivocally a sport.

posted by: MBMc on 12.06.05 at 09:57 AM [permalink]

To register you need to be under the age of 34? What kind of requirement is that? How many people under the age of 34 even know how to play chess?

posted by: Jay on 12.06.05 at 09:57 AM [permalink]

I assume they have different refs for each leg of the match? The one pictured here seems to be more of a "chess guy" than a "boxing guy."

posted by: flipper on 12.06.05 at 09:57 AM [permalink]

That is sooo cool! I love boxing and I used to enjoy playing chess. What a great combo! Get this on ESPN tonight.

posted by: Thomas the Wraith on 12.06.05 at 09:57 AM [permalink]

Little known fact: many models are good chess players since they're constantly on the road and have to keep themselves amused and occupied somehow.

The most famous chess playing model is probably Carmen Kass, who also happens to be the president of the Estonian chess federation!

posted by: Jüri Saar on 12.06.05 at 09:57 AM [permalink]

Other combos just as feasable:
Water Polo and synchronized swimming.
Wrestling and Twister
Basketball and Jacks
and my favorite
Iron Chef and hotdog eating championship

posted by: Alex on 12.06.05 at 09:57 AM [permalink]

Dear God! Don't tell Pejman. I don't know if his heart could take the excitement...

posted by: Omnibus Driver on 12.06.05 at 09:57 AM [permalink]

Count me out. I hate chess. It's like an algebra contest. Yuck.

posted by: scott on 12.06.05 at 09:57 AM [permalink]

Given the rules (6 chess rounds, 5 boxing rounds), any chess master can be chess-boxing champion, simply by surrendering at the beginning of each boxing round.

posted by: Manolis on 12.06.05 at 09:57 AM [permalink]

...but I could be tempted to watch celebrity chessboxing. Just think of Naomi Watts vs. Salma Hayek. Yes, just think...

Soon to follow: Stripchessboxing. (Why not make that all one word too?)

posted by: KaneCitizen on 12.06.05 at 09:57 AM [permalink]

Want to see some more pictures? Go & see my photoreport on chessboxing in Berlin here:
Enjoy! Cheers, Cyril

posted by: Cyril on 12.06.05 at 09:57 AM [permalink]

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