What is Chess Boxing?

For those who have followed the sport of boxing for a long time you’ll make a quick connection between the two straight away.

Perhaps even a conclusion derived at a subconscious level straight off the bat.

While one is a sport and the other a board game many parallels can be drawn right away.

Tactics are everything both in the ring and on the chess board.

Both have been around for a long, long time.

Strategy, patience, timing, defense and offense all come into play in both respective fields.

The consequences in the sport of boxing being far more extreme obviously.

Being the hurt business and all.

Nonetheless though, many have likened the sweet science to a violent game of chess where like the board game, often the best practitioners of the noble art are deep thinking men.

Individuals with an ability to formulate thoughts at a remarkable speed and transfer these brain waves into physical actions with an opponent standing in front of them throwing leather.

American boxer Floyd Mayweather for example often spoke on how he felt he was always a number of moves ahead of his opponent.

How he never boxed in a rhythm to allow his adversary to get accustomed to what he was doing.

Always adapting. Always changing mid fight. Always being up-predictable.

Purposefully so — to thwart his enemy.

Just like a game of chess where when something goes wrong, one must be able to come up with a new strategy and implement it at the drop of a hat.

As for the new phenomenon itself of chess boxing, there are some basic principles at play one should consider.

Chess Boxing Explained and Chess Boxing Rules

Essentially, chess boxing combines the sport of boxing and the board game of chess in a unique but straightforward format.

Typically speaking, the event has 11 rounds in total (6 of chess and 5 of boxing). One minute in between.

3 minute rounds in boxing.

The first round of chess is for four minutes but the chess part is essentially speed chess where the chess side of things is limited to 12 minutes on the clock.

While switching between the boxing ring and chess board competitors are given earphones for the chess game for concentration.

There is a 10 second move rule on the chess side of the match.

Like a boxing match, the contest is scored on points with the competitor with the most points declared the victor at the end (knockout is also included to win).

The emphasis is on boxing for the most part as for someone to win the overall contest in the chess part of the match — he or she must do so within five rounds of chess.

This seldom happens in reality.

Chess Boxing Prize Money

There isn’t a whole lot of prize money in chess boxing just yet it should be noted.

However, as of 2019 chess boxing is continuing to gain traction more and more.

Particularly in Europe.

With boxing as a sport continuing to grow more and more perhaps the format could continue to gain more recognition.

Notable Chess Boxing Athletes

Popular chess boxing champions so far are mostly limited to two weight classes so far.

Middleweight and light-heavyweight.

Tim Woolgar of England and Andy Costello of India being two notable chess boxers in the UK.

On the world scene you also have the likes of Russian Nikolay Sazhin and German Leo Frakt at light-heavyweight.

At middleweight Canadian Sean Mooney is considered one of the leading chess boxing players.

Moreover, although famed heavyweight champions the Klitschko brothers of the Ukraine were not chess boxers — they were known to be very partial to games of chess during their heavyweight reins.

Overall, while chess boxing is a rather odd new sport and trend — it is one that seems to be gaining gradual momentum all the time.

Particularly when you consider the fact one of the most famous heavyweight fighters in the world, Anthony Joshua, posts regularly on his Instagram stories of himself playing chess during down time.

While boxing and chess might seem very different to some those that are passionate about both know otherwise.

Exercise for both the body and mind with many similarities that have stood the test of time.

Fine tuning the body is one thing, getting the mind there before competition is a totally different ball game entirely.

Chess boxing encapsulates this perhaps better than any format out there at the moment.