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Chess-boxing explained: What you need to know about this underground sport

Yes, chess boxing is a thing. It is a hybrid sport where participants alternate between playing chess and then boxing in the ring. We’ll get to that in a bit.

Chess-boxing is not a really a new kid on the block, it dates back all the way to 2003.  According to Wikipedia, chess-boxing was invented by Dutch performance artist Iepe Rubingh.

The first chess-boxing competition ever was held in Berlin, followed by the first world championship fight in Amsterdam. The sport gradually garnered attention and spread all over Europe, the USA and Russia; and we have plenty of professional chess-boxers around.

So how on earth does this sport work? What do they do and how do they win?

We break it down for you:

-The tournament is fought over 11 rounds; 6 rounds of chess and 5 rounds of boxing. Each round lasts only 3-4 minutes, whether you win or not.

Photo: Web Chutney
Photo: Web Chutney

-The match starts with a 4-minute chess round, where the contestants face-off each other. They will also be wearing noise-cancelling headphones to mute the commentary, so they can better focus on the game.

-After the bell sounds, they immediately move to the ring for a 3-minute boxing round. They contestants will try to go for a knock-out so they can win.

Photo: Hypeness
Photo: Hypeness

-At the end of 3 minutes, they go back to chess, with no rest on between. This process repeats until there is either a knock-out in the ring, or a check mate on the board.

-If the result of the chess game is a draw, the winner will be decided by points in the ring.

Some find this sport fascinating, others find it baffling. Nevertheless, it’s a game that stretches you to your limits, it requires contestants to switch from a physical sport to a mind sport in seconds with no time to rest and think.

Would you give this a go?

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