Chess Boxing (Or, How Kasparov Met Tyson)
January 4, 2010 2:52 PM   Subscribe

Chess Boxing, a hybrid sport which combines boxing with chess in alternating rounds, is growing in popularity. Inspired by fictional depictions of the sport in French comic book artist Enki Bilal's graphic novel, Froid Équateur, Dutch artist Iepe Rubingh brought the concept to life in 2001. Governed by the World Chess Boxing Organisation, whose motto is "Fighting is done in the ring and wars are waged on the board", matches consist of up to eleven alternating rounds of boxing and chess with a one minute break between rounds. A photographic account of the sport. Further reading. Further viewing. Previously.
posted by Effigy2000 (54 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite

 
Wow, great to see some photos of the sport! It looks like victory is generally by checkmate, though. Perhaps if the someone perfected a crypto-Nimzo hypermodern punch to the clavicle it would change the balance of the sport a bit...
posted by kaibutsu at 2:59 PM on January 4, 2010


it's awesome, but it's no secret agent laser obstacle chess
posted by nadawi at 3:10 PM on January 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


Here's some hypermodern boxing for you, kaibutsu. (go to 5 min)
posted by StickyCarpet at 3:22 PM on January 4, 2010


Sounds like your chess performance might start to suffer after an extended career.
posted by dunkadunc at 3:23 PM on January 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


Raw! I'ma give it to ya, straight wit' no trivia, raw like cocaine straight from Bolivia.
posted by klangklangston at 3:25 PM on January 4, 2010 [24 favorites]


Silly sport.
With technology you could make the moves by vox. And I would think those guys need helmets...if they could punch.
In any case, you could throw up a big board on all four sides if they can't move by visualizing the pieces. Run it on a clock timed with the rounds. 'x' amount of moves per round. It would offset the odds against someone who knows how to box.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:30 PM on January 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's a good thing I got this extra arm fitted just beneath my right one. My ski-boxing skills have improved astronomically!
posted by Afroblanco at 3:33 PM on January 4, 2010


I have to admit that i don't get this.

I tried to explain it to my girlfriend and she just said "why?" and that made a lot of sense to me.
posted by djduckie at 3:37 PM on January 4, 2010 [3 favorites]


We've already had club rap- next up: Rap Clubbing. Contestants fight with clubs, followed by freestyle rapping.
posted by dunkadunc at 3:40 PM on January 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


I dunno, you could ask "why?" about most sports, no? I think this would be pretty fun to watch.

But judging by some of those photos, this works only because it's not big enough for very skilled boxers to care about it.
posted by roll truck roll at 3:41 PM on January 4, 2010


It's just a round of one, then a round of the other, alternating? That's kind of boring. It'd be much more fun if you played chess until you capture one of the opponent's pieces, then you'd get up and box to see if the capture was successful or not.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 3:44 PM on January 4, 2010 [4 favorites]


Bobby Fischer: OK: Any historic figure.
Narrator: I'd fight Spassky.
Bobby Fischer: Good answer.
Narrator: How about you?
Bobby Fischer: Kramnik.
Narrator: Kramnik?
Bobby Fischer: Big guy, big reach. Skinny guys fight 'til they're burger.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:46 PM on January 4, 2010 [5 favorites]


In other chess news: Magnus Carlsen of Norway, 19, is now the youngest person to become the highest rated chess player in the world. He takes the age record from his new coach - former World Champion and flying dong victim Garry Kasparov.
posted by Joe Beese at 3:56 PM on January 4, 2010


No word yet on Carlsen's left hook.
posted by Joe Beese at 4:01 PM on January 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


Wish this had been around when I was playing chess as a kid at the Y. Might have stayed around a bit longer.
posted by shoesfullofdust at 4:16 PM on January 4, 2010


I tried to explain it to my girlfriend and she just said "why?" and that made a lot of sense to me.

Why not?
posted by empath at 4:17 PM on January 4, 2010


Well, seeing as we're talking about chess, you all might enjoy this spectacular win with knight and four passed pawns against two rooks played by Arty Timofeev during the Russian championship a couple weeks ago.
posted by shadow vector at 4:24 PM on January 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


Then there's the World Chess Beauty Contest, where female chess players are judged on their looks.

One day I expect to see the World Chess Boxing Beauty Contest, where chess playing women beat each other senseless and are judging by how pretty they look afterward.
posted by twoleftfeet at 4:25 PM on January 4, 2010 [5 favorites]


When it's properly used, it's almost invincible
posted by fire&wings at 4:36 PM on January 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


I say send Kasparov against Deep Blue for a rematch. I think you will see a very different outcome.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 4:37 PM on January 4, 2010 [3 favorites]


djduckie: "I tried to explain it to my girlfriend and she just said "why?" and that made a lot of sense to me."

One might ask the same thing of skeet surfing, and the answer would be the same: because it is awesome.
posted by brundlefly at 4:40 PM on January 4, 2010


From wikipedia:
A match consists of up to eleven alternating rounds of boxing and chess. The match begins with a four-minute chess round. This is followed by three minutes of boxing, with rounds of chess and boxing alternating until the end.[2] There is a one minute break between rounds. Speed chess is used, a form in which each player has a total of only twelve minutes for the whole game.

So basically, Mike Tyson could sit and stare menacingly at you for the first three four-minute rounds, and he would therefore have only three rounds to knock you out or kill you or make you run from the ring crying. I think a takeover by jocks is in order.
posted by Humanzee at 4:44 PM on January 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


I really read the entire post thinking you were writing about 'cheese boxing' - such a crushing moment of disappointment followed.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 4:45 PM on January 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


We are trying too hard to be clever. This is silly. Let the game come to us folks.
posted by Senator at 4:56 PM on January 4, 2010


ricochet biscuit: "I say send Kasparov against Deep Blue for a rematch. I think you will see a very different outcome."

That outcome being Kasparov losing 6-0.

Rybka 3.0 - a commercial chess engine that retails for less than $60 - currently has an ELO rating of 3231 when run on a dual-processor Athlon 64 at 2.4 GHz. The aforementioned Carlsen has an ELO rating around 2800. Even at the height of his powers, Kasparov would have no chance whatsoever today.
posted by Joe Beese at 5:01 PM on January 4, 2010


The boxers make more convincing chess players than vice-versa.
posted by oddman at 5:07 PM on January 4, 2010


Rats, I'd hoped this would involve Ghost Faced Killer.
posted by fleacircus at 5:08 PM on January 4, 2010


Rybka 3.0 - a commercial chess engine that retails for less than $60 - currently has an ELO rating of 3231 when run on a dual-processor Athlon 64 at 2.4 GHz.

Yeah, but Kasparov could totally take out a dual-processor Athlon 64. Hell, he just needs to knock the power cable loose.
posted by mr_roboto at 5:15 PM on January 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


Yeah, but Kasparov could totally take out a dual-processor Athlon 64.

Rather my point.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:21 PM on January 4, 2010


This reminds me of that Piers Anthony sci fi book where champtionship competition involved *any* game, randomly chosen, from Go to no holds barred fights to musical competition to marathon running. It was a pretty cool book, and that sort of championship is much cooler than Olympics because there's no overspecialization and part of the excitement and surprise is whether the particular round favors one guy or the other.
posted by rainy at 5:27 PM on January 4, 2010 [4 favorites]


Let the wookie win.
posted by dirigibleman at 6:02 PM on January 4, 2010


Back in the 80s we had Battle Chess !
posted by rfs at 6:12 PM on January 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


My peoples are you with me? Where you AT?!? I can't believe I'm first with this link.
posted by matthewstopheles at 6:22 PM on January 4, 2010


@rainy --

That was the Adept series. I loved it when I was 12. I mean, sci-fi AND fantasy in one book? How could you not love it?

Sadly, it does not hold up :(
posted by bpm140 at 6:35 PM on January 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


I think the point is that it's built around two games that both require a constant need to outthink the opponent, while it is offset by the vast change in tactics between the two. There's also the fact that boxing's intent is to drain the opponents mental acuity which is the top requirement for chess is another factor in tactics.
posted by P.o.B. at 6:38 PM on January 4, 2010


*And vast changes in reality. Someone sitting and slowly moving a game piece to suddenly punching you in the face must be pretty startling.
posted by P.o.B. at 6:40 PM on January 4, 2010


Every time I play chess there's a point in the game when I'm overcome with the urge for violence (usually when I realize that my awesome opening skills have been hamstrung by the fact that I have no endgame). This development pleases me - LET THE GAMES BEGIN!!!!!!
posted by The Light Fantastic at 6:46 PM on January 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


I feel like I've been waiting my whole life for this.
posted by Vhanudux at 7:33 PM on January 4, 2010


This isn't a sport of men ... it is the sport of BATMEN!
posted by aeschenkarnos at 7:56 PM on January 4, 2010


bpm140: There's some stylistic weirdness in some Piers books that's very off-putting. He has tons of neat ideas, though.
posted by rainy at 8:03 PM on January 4, 2010


I have a whole new respect for Grand Master Flash.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 9:28 PM on January 4, 2010


you played chess until you capture one of the opponent's pieces, then you'd get up and box to see if the capture was successful or not.

You fight to see who wins the square, maybe with some sort of modifier so that higher pieces give that player an advantage.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 11:17 PM on January 4, 2010


Other jock/nerd combinations:

Mixed Martial Arts/Magic: The Gathering.
Figure Skating/Scrabble
Dodgeball/Starcraft
posted by empath at 12:52 AM on January 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


This sport would be much more entertaining if they had to play chess with boxing gloves on.
posted by ...possums at 1:53 AM on January 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


Watched a documentary on chess on the BBC over Christmas that featured a breif segment on chess-boxing.

Whilst watching I was reminded of something I read about the Biathlon (The winter Olympic sport that combines cross-country skiing and rifle shooting). That it's very challenging sport indeed in that you have to go from the hard physical heart-pounding exertion of the skiing to the shooting that requires getting your heart rate down to normal again as fast as possible then getting back up to speed in the skiing again. I'm not sure chess-boxing is quite the same but I think it's in a similar area.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:25 AM on January 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


You fight to see who wins the square, maybe with some sort of modifier so that higher pieces give that player an advantage.

There was a Klingon game like that, and while I'm not normally one to advocate living a life in *any* way based on Star Trek, it sounded hilarious. In the high end version of the game, it was played with living guys given gear based on what piece they were. The warriors had to duke it out when they ended up in the same square.

Led to a great line in some old Star Trek novel: "Do you play Klin Zha when you are not a piece?"
posted by mordax at 3:30 AM on January 5, 2010


I think Joakim Ziegler is on to something. If the idea had been implemented with some wit and originality it might have been salvageable. As it is, it seems like an unimaginative labouring of a fairly mild joke. Meh in three rounds.
posted by Phanx at 4:32 AM on January 5, 2010


I recently read a biography of Alan Turing, written by his mother in the 50s a few years after his death, and she recounted how Alan and one of his colleagues would play a game of chess where, after taking your move, you had to run around the square at the university so they could see how tiredness affected their decision making.

Although, as Alan Turing was an exceptional runner, it sounded mostly like it was designed just so he could win every game
posted by dng at 6:20 AM on January 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Weird, I think both chess and boxing are boring as sin but somehow this seems really cool to me.
posted by threeants at 7:53 AM on January 5, 2010


You know, when I happened to meet Iepe and first heard about this, I thought it would be a performance art piece in someone's garage. Then I went to an official bout. I'd never been to a boxing match or a chess tournament, and somehow the two played off each other in a way that was both playful and deadly serious. Also, ESPN Europe was there, there were sleek ladies in low-cut dresses like in the movies, and Iepe wore a white tuxedo.

It was fun.
posted by foxy_hedgehog at 9:29 AM on January 5, 2010


Based on Turing's additions to the world, I'm going to guess that he may not have needed a lot of legs up in the winning at chess department.
posted by Babblesort at 10:17 AM on January 5, 2010


It's the polar opposite of X Arm
posted by toekneebullard at 1:57 PM on January 5, 2010


I conspired with my friend Trevor to start Magic: The Gathering Kickboxing. Or Magic Mixed Martial Arts, to be more alliterative.

Turns out there is very little overlap between enthusiasts of the two.
posted by beardlace at 5:02 PM on January 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


I will admit I have been involved in karate backgammon, though to begin with I understood we were playing the regular version.
posted by Phanx at 4:12 AM on January 6, 2010


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