This Week in Obscure Sports – Chess Boxing


I had to go to the doctor the other day. While I was there, I learned two very interesting facts:

  • Who Wants to Be a Millionaire is still a show.
  • Chess Boxing is a real sport.

  • Don’t believe me?

    I could hardly believe it myself. How can you combine 2 extremely different sports into one sport that not only tests your mind but also your physical prowess?

    Apparently, very easily.

    It was actually inspired by a comic book in 1992. Enki Bilal, a French comic book artist, developed the sport for his futuristic story, “Froid Équateur“ (Cold Equator). In the comic book, though, they finished the entire boxing match before moving on to chess. As if that wasn’t hard enough (you know, getting your head bashed by another person isn’t easy), Iepe Rubingh, current president and founder of the World Chess Boxing Organization, took this idea and made chess-boxing what it is today; highly competitive sport that is played worldwide.

    The rules for both sports remain much the same. They are integrated into 11 separate rounds, alternating between 6 rounds of chess and 5 rounds of boxing. The player that wins the most points from the matches is declared the winner. Decisions can also be made in the following ways:

    ·         Knockout (boxing rounds)

    ·         Technical Knockout (boxing rounds)

    ·         Checkmate (chess rounds)

    ·         Exceeding of the time limit by the opponent (chess rounds)

    ·         Disqualification of his opponent by the referee e.g. due to inactivity due to overextended playing time (chess or boxing rounds following multiple warnings)

    ·         Opponent resigns (chess or boxing rounds)

    In 2003, the first exhibition match in the sport took place in Berlin. Iepe Rubingh and Jean Louis Veenstra faced each other in the ring. After his opponent exceeded the chess time limit, Rubingh won the fight in the 11th round after Veenstra received a time penalty.

    I’ll admit that I had no idea this was a real thing and I refused to believe it was real until I did some research. It turns out that this sports is covered by ESPN and they hold matches in London, Berlin, and Kolkata.

    Cool, right?

    Do you want to be a chess boxer?

    If you have strong skills in both then this sport might be for you. Being able to move back and forth from a high contact sport to a sport that uses utilizes speed chess tactics gets increasingly difficult as the match moves on as players get drained from the blows they are taking in the ring and on the board.

    In September of this year, the World Series Intellectual Fight Night will be held in London.

    For more information about this crazy sport, visit

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