Chessboxing may sound like a strange combination, but not to these guys.
Chessboxing may sound like a strange combination, but not to these guys.

FROM THE GRANDSTAND: Bizarre sport makes ‘chess look sexy’

WELL you cannot say that this column doesn't introduce you to some new sports.

Earlier this year I told you all about 'pickleball', which is now being played in earnest by the U3a members in Yamba.

Last year I told you about underwater hockey which had an international flavour at the time.

Now I want to tell you all about chessboxing, which is a freak show in some people's mind but in reality, it is on pay TV and just recently London hosted the first paid event.

It is exactly what you think and believe it or not it is almost twenty years old.

Of course, it is a combination of brains and brawn. Chess, which originated in India in the sixth century while boxing goes back to the ancient Olympics BC.

Believe it or not the match goes for some 11 rounds (each of three minutes), alternating between one and the other sport. Victory is achieved by either checkmate or knockout.

Chessboxing has taken off in London.
Chessboxing has taken off in London.

Now I have an affinity and appreciation of both sports. I actually introduced boxing as a sport to my old school until such time as parents objected, which was a shame because it is well-respected at amateur level particularly.

Chess was always considered an activity for nerds, but it is really quite cerebral and will only improve your mental capacity whereas the other sport is likely to diminish it.

I play chess (live games) daily, mostly online since the COVID lockdown. It is a particularly good alternative because when I lose, I do not know whether it is some ten-year old kid from Peru or a wise old man from India.

I spar with my wife on a regular basis, but I don't think that counts as it's too one sided and I generally lose and finish in the doghouse at best.

It has been claimed by the Dutch people who 'invented' such contests and by the current promoters that "chessboxing makes chess look sexy". I did ask Nigel did he agree but he only responded with wanting to play the role of the Queen and then walk around the ring holding up what round it was. Typical.

Opponents of the game say that it drags everything down to the lowest shared denominator. That is, it combines bad chess and worse boxing.



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