Chessboxing is quite literally what it sounds like. Chessboxing takes both the cerebral game of chess, and the physical event of boxing and merges them into one game known as chessboxing. The game consists of eleven alternating rounds: six of chess, and five of boxing.
Chessboxing originated from a comic written back in 1992 from French artist Enki Bilal. The comic consisted of two men boxing full rounds. At the very end, the men agree to play a game of chess. This sparked the idea of chessboxing, and the first match was held in Berlin, Germany in 2003. Even before this, however, there was a Dutch performer by the name of Lepe Rubingh who performed an artistic performance of chessboxing.
Lynne Roberts is a senior at Helix High School who is one of the few people that have heard about chessboxing. She is an ameatur when it comes to the rules, but she has a name figured out already if she should ever enter the ring, “My name? I thought about this for a long time, and I wanted to add a bit of chess, and of course, a bit of boxing. For boxing, I chose Queen-- because you know--chess, but it's a two-part name. For boxing I chose: Bonecruncher. ‘Queen Bonecruncher.’”
Another student in Bonecruncher school is Elizabeth Ward, a GHS junior. She states that her name would be “White Shadow,” as it would be another play on the chess name. The two have already devised strategies on how to play chessboxing--or what they think would help them win if they ever got the chance.
“I think that you would want to be better at boxing because that seems like a harder way to win,” said White Shadow .
In a match both opponents sit down and play a game of chess for a full three minutes. An official watches the moves keeps track of the clock to determine when the next round begins. When the bell rings, the chessboxers go to their boxing corners and prepare for the boxing round.
During this time, the chessboxing crew grabs the chessboard from the middle of the boxing ring and moves the chess table out of the ring. These breaks or transitions usually last a full sixty seconds before moving onto the next round.
After the transition from chess, the opponents simply go into a three-minute boxing match. The official now is working to watch the physical fight. For three minutes the opponents box and when the bell rings--they go back to their corners, the crew gets the table back in (the way it was setup) and continue to a match of chess.
“I would definitely enjoy the boxing more than the chess. The boxing just seems like a lot more fun,” Queen Bonecruncher states.
A player can win chessboxing by many ways. One of these ways is from a knockout. This is in boxing when the opponent simply knocks out his challenger. There are also technical knockouts as well--or when the official claims the opponent is no longer able to defend him/herself properly.
A player can win by checkmate in chess or from their opponent exceeding the chess time during their turn.
Disqualification from the official is another way to win. For example, a player may just be inactive from overextended playing time, or they may receive too many warnings from chess or boxing from the official. These miscues hand their opponent the win.
The final way to win a chessboxing match is from their opponent simply surrendering or resigning from the match. “I think the most impressive way to win is knocking out your opponent, but surrendering sure sounds like an easy win!,” Ward explained.
If there is a tie in both chess and boxing, the winner is determined by a coin toss which is executed at the beginning of the match.
A match in chessboxing begins with a coin toss. The opponents agree on heads or tails from a coin. The winner of the coin toss receives the choice of either chess or boxing to start off the game, and the other determines whether or not they want to be black or white in chess. When there is a tie, the win goes to the chessboxer who played as black in the game of chess.
Ashby’s strategy for a future match is losing the coin toss for that reason . She couldn’t care whether chess or boxing would be first, “You would want to lose the coin toss! If there is a tie, the win goes to the person who played the game as black!”.
Despite the new sports growing popularity, it is questionable whether chessboxing will ever become popular in America. Only the future will tell, but the U.S. is currently gathering a team to represent the country.
As for Bonecruncher and White Shadow, they both have a lead on the win for the sport--but that glory will have to wait. After all, right now they’re just high school students.