“Fighting is done in the ring and wars are waged on the board.” That’s the slogan of the World Chess Boxing Organization, which represents exactly what it sounds like: a sport that combines chess and boxing. Dutch artist Iepe Rubingh, inspired by a comic book in which boxing occurs on a giant chessboard, organized the first match in 2003. The game of brutal intelligence took off in Europe, and there are now chess boxing training centers in Berlin, London and Bulgaria.
Chess boxers compete in alternating rounds of speed chess (four minutes) and boxing (three minutes). A knockout or checkmate determines the winner. Competitors must be ranked chess players — this is supposedly to prevent a professional boxer from suffering through a few poor chess moves and then knocking the opponent out in the first round. There are about 50 competitive chess boxers worldwide, and only one is American. His name is David Depto and he holds a degree in mechanical engineering.
Russia’s Nikolay Sazhin won the 2008 World Chess Boxing Championship title on the chessboard. He was scheduled to defend his title against Depto in Hamburg, but the fight has been postponed due to an unnamed injury suffered by Sazhin.
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