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Meet the New Chess Boxing Champion of the World 235

Attila Dimedici writes "A Russian man has just been crowned world champion in the sport of chess boxing. Apparently the idea originated in a French comic strip from the early '90s. In 2003 a Dutch artist decided to bring the 'sport' to life. The 'sport' is played by starting a chess match in the middle of a boxing ring. After four minutes, the chess board is cleared and the opponents box for three minutes. A match consists of six rounds of chess and five rounds of boxing. A match is decided by knockout, checkmate, or points."
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Meet the New Chess Boxing Champion of the World

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  • by oodaloop ( 1229816 ) on Monday July 07, 2008 @04:10AM (#24081197)
    and I can't wait to watch it.
    • Once I started RTFAing the repeated comments about concentration and ability to shift modes starting getting my attention. Modern pentathalon [] started out as a way to simulate certain kinds of combat, and, for its time, made quite a bit of sense. I'm willing to bet that we'll see some very serious people start to get into this as a way to hone skills used for activities that aren't cheesy at all. A way to test one's ability to think strategically and tactically while out of breath and in pain is a damn good thing for anybody who is expected to function in combat. Even first responders in non-violent professions might gain from this.

      Gotta say, not for me, to say the least, but I'll be very curious to see how this evolves and what kinds of people end up getting into it.
      • by CastrTroy ( 595695 ) on Monday July 07, 2008 @08:42AM (#24082343) Homepage
        Looking at the pentathlon, it seems interesting, but kind of a downer that they put shooting, and fencing as the first two events. I am of course assuming that they listed the events in the order in which they are usually done. It would be much more challenging to try and steady a gun after running and biking, than at the beginning of the competition. Which is why I find the biathlon kind of interesting. I have enough trouble aiming a gun that accurately (although I've only ever shot pellet guns, which are notorious for bad aim). I can't imagine having good aim after cross country skiing for any length of time.
        • by ShieldW0lf ( 601553 ) on Monday July 07, 2008 @09:32AM (#24082887) Journal
          It's not as hard as you would think. You can't hold a rifle pointed at a target anyways, no one can. You hold it so it traces a predictable pattern that intersects your target, then time your squeeze so everything comes together. Personally, my muscles tend to move my sight in a squashed figure 8 pattern. When you're tired and out of breath, the pattern will get larger, but it will remain the same shape, and be just as predictable.
          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by lowflying ( 252232 )

            Trying to time your squeeze is part of the problem. It is the wrong approach and certainly not the one taught in the military or police forces.

            Aim, breathe steady, keep aiming, exhale while aiming, gently squeeze the trigger. The exact moment of the loud bang should be a surprise.

      • Forget all that shit. Once the ice age comes, you're not going to need anything but the biathlon. Ski and shoot!
    • by Chrisje ( 471362 ) on Monday July 07, 2008 @05:56AM (#24081557)

      They can't televise it!

      The First Rule of Chess Club is You Do Not Talk about Chess Club!

    • by Tom ( 822 ) on Monday July 07, 2008 @06:29AM (#24081671) Homepage Journal

      I don't think it's ridiculous at all. Anyone trained in any martial art (not just eastern, count boxing, fencing, etc. as well) will probably agree.

      Keeping your senses and your ability to think during a fight is anything but trivial, and requires a lot of training.

      Most regular people would probably have trouble just remembering how the pieces move after a few minutes of fighting, with all the adrenaline pumping and your whole body in "I have no time for thinking" mode.

      • by hey! ( 33014 ) on Monday July 07, 2008 @10:15AM (#24083383) Homepage Journal

        I don't think it's ridiculous at all. Anyone trained in any martial art (not just eastern, count boxing, fencing, etc. as well) will probably agree.

        Keeping your senses and your ability to think during a fight is anything but trivial, and requires a lot of training.

        Most regular people would probably have trouble just remembering how the pieces move after a few minutes of fighting, with all the adrenaline pumping and your whole body in "I have no time for thinking" mode.

        Perhaps ironically for a geek, I don't know what it's like to be good at chess, but I do know what it's like to be good at fighting.

        A lot of intelligent people aren't good at fighting because they overanalyze a fight. It's helpful to watch other people fight and analyze, but in a fight you have to be in the moment. I knew an architect who was very physically powerful, but never able to fight well because he tried to think strategically during a fight. He was always thinking, if I do this, then he'll do that, then I'll do this etc. A cunning fighter is one who reacts in the moment, in a way that is both appropriate and unpredictable.

        "Thinking" in a fight -- if it can be called that -- is not sequential, nor is it analytical. It's more wholistic and intuitive. Even a swift reasoner cannot project future scenarios fast enough to keep up with the present, and being in the moment is critical. The reason the average person can't remember the details of a fight is that he isn't paying attention. He's thinking about the past ("that punch hurt") or the future ("I'm going to get murdered.") An experienced fighter is aware of every detail without being stuck on any one.

        Although I can't say from experience, I wonder if this means being good at chess isn't a little like being good at sparring. My faults as a chess player are like the faults of my architect friend as a fighter; although I have formidable analytical skills, they aren't a match for somebody who moves with the swift assurance of being familiar with the scenario. I spend too much time dealing with the shambles of my "strategy" to take advantage of the opportunities my opponent's moves create.

        As far as silliness is concerned, all sports are silly if you look at them the right way. Chess and barehand fighting are individual sports pared down to the minimally interesting essentials: two individuals striving to gain advantage over each other. Perhaps arm wresting is more basic, but not sufficiently complex to invite tactical analysis.

        In any case, Chess Boxing is clearly a sport tailor made for Russia.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by zstlaw ( 910185 )

          Well I was once competing pretty seriously in martial artist and chess tournaments (During the same several years oddly enough) I think there is more commonality to the approach than you would expect. (Ignoring the fact that I would have loved to lay the smack down on a few of my more obnoxious chess opponents)

          In both chess and martial arts you memorize a large number of moves and counters and execute the basic opening with no need for thought. My favorite chess opening I had anywhere from the first 12 t

    • Yeah, but does this tournament allows ancient Egyptians Gods [] cheating and helping their favourite participants ?

      • Re:Nikopol Trilogy (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Zhe Mappel ( 607548 ) on Monday July 07, 2008 @07:11AM (#24081835)
        FYI to anyone who hasn't read it: the trilogy is good science fiction. Bilal's art is easily among the most memorable in comics, but I like his writing as well -- a rich, ironic feast.
        • Other Media (Score:3, Informative)

          by DrYak ( 748999 )

          There's also the movie Immortel (ad vitam) [], also written and directed by Bilal himself, roughly based on the same story as the Nikopol trilogy.

          And Benoit Sokal's Whit Birds Productions [] have a point'n'click adventure game called Nikopol, based on this series in their pipeline.

        • by Nasajin ( 967925 )
          True, but he's a pretty bad film director. They converted the Nikopol trilogy into the film Immortal [], which was singularly memorable as a piece of terrible scripting and bad CG. What's worse is that they converted the three comics into the one film essentially by overlaying the plots simultaneously... which naturally ruined any sense of coherent narrative progression that occurs in the comic series.
      • Yeah, but does this tournament allows ancient Egyptians Gods, cheating and helping their favourite participants ?

        What do you think this is, Yu-Gi-Oh?

      • Kinda like Discworld with boxing? Is there an Egyption God/dess of Fate?

  • new sport.. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Rixel ( 131146 ) on Monday July 07, 2008 @04:17AM (#24081207)


    I have come up with a new sport come April


    You sit in the middle of the Kitchen and agonize over deductions for 10 minutes, then do it doggy style on them thar reciepts.

  • by piltdownman84 ( 853358 ) <> on Monday July 07, 2008 @04:18AM (#24081213)
    Wouldn't this heavily favour brawn over brains? I mean any half decent bruiser could just avoid getting checkmated right away and then knock the nerd out in the first round.
    • All you need then, is someone who can stand a single round in the ring and isn't a complete moron. Your pure bruiser fails the knockout, then gets suckered into a scholars mate.
      • by dnwq ( 910646 )
        but a bruiser can punch you and keep punching, while in chess you'd have to wait for him to move before enacting your Master Plan
        • What has that got to do with anything? It isn't like the boxing and chess are simultaneous.
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          From TFA: "The match began over a chess board set up on a low table in the middle of a boxing ring." So it starts with chess. A complete bruiser is unlikely to survive this one. Another quote: "Alternatively one of the players can be disqualified for taking too long to make his move in the chess rounds or breaking the boxing rules". If you take too long, you will be disqualified.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 07, 2008 @04:32AM (#24081273)

      I don't see a problem. Fighers don't fight outside their class, so why would they do it when chess-boxing. Bruiser vs. nerd would be a very odd matchup. This is a game for intellectual pugilists.

      • by joaommp ( 685612 ) on Monday July 07, 2008 @05:34AM (#24081467) Homepage Journal

        Mike Tyson would bite the other player's pawns heads off.

      • by crossmr ( 957846 )

        I don't know if you've looked around lately but not all "nerds" are the svelte skinny nerds of "Revenge of the Nerds"
        Nor are punishing boxers necessarily huge. Many of the light weights are not that heavy and would absolutely pulverize someone who was not in good boxing form. They could very easily hold off a good chess player for 2 rounds of chess which would be enough time to destroy them.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          Yeah. My Linux and programming teacher in college was also competing for finnish championship on heavy weight boxing, he taught Krav Maga and free wrestling (not with shows and faking but the real thing) on evening and had been years to israel to study Krav Maga. Needless to say, he had a decent authority at keeping the class quiet. Anyways, the said teacher would propably have exceled at this sport. I don't think that my 9th grade math teacher who was a basketball player and over 7 feet tall would have
          • by hey! ( 33014 )

            One of the things it takes to be good at anything non-trivial is attention to detail -- lots of it, over a long time.

            You don't find nerds becoming bar fighters because that's a pasttime for the mentally impulsive and physically gifted. Studying footwork, tactics, achieving physical conditioning you need to box or grapple takes dedication.

      • When you talk about a fighter's "class", you're talking about his weight, nothing else. Trust me, any good bantamweight will handily disassemble the geeky nerd in his weight class. And the big fat nerds...oohh, that isn't gonna be pretty.

    • by techsoldaten ( 309296 ) on Monday July 07, 2008 @04:37AM (#24081285) Journal

      The chess part is speed chess, which can be quite difficult and heavily favors those who are well practiced in strategy and able to make decisions faster.

      Players are given 1 - 5 minutes each to win a game, which generally does not result in a checkmate outcome. Rather, the person whose time expires first loses. The best strategy is to set up complex positions on the board that require ample thought on the part of your opponent and watch his or her time expire.

      I would put my money on the chess player who can roll with the punches and make effective 1 second moves on the board. You can do rope a dope sometimes by letting other players move very quickly and eating up their major pieces when they make a mistake.


      • by Anonymous Coward

        It's stated that there are 6 rounds of chess with 4 minutes per round. That works out to more than 20 minutes of chess, not "1 - 5 minutes to win."

        I've played competitive Lightning (5 mins) and Speed (15 mins) chess before. Ample time to win a game in both modes.

        Most difficult part here is probably trying to remember your plan after the boxing.

      • by 7 digits ( 986730 ) on Monday July 07, 2008 @06:53AM (#24081761)

        > Players are given 1 - 5 minutes each to win a game, which generally does not result in a checkmate outcome
        Do you actually play chess ? Blitz games often ends in checkmate, because the player with the biggest time pressure will blunder.

        I have seen my son give otb (=over the board) checkmate in rapid chess to someone 300 ELO higher than him with 3 seconds vs 5 seconds left and 8 moves.

        Of course, the player with worst position can choose not to move and lose on time, but it is the stupidest thing to do, because in chess, you can think on the opponent time

        Just look at the tie-break in US women championship []. 11 seconds vs 2 seconds. Wanna bet who won ?

        Lurk around You'll see 1 minute bullets games (ie: 1 minute for each opponents). The average rate of play is higher than 1 move per second, and they generally finish in checkmate.

        PS: slashdot formatting is borken for me. Can' do proper paragraphs. Such is life

        • because in chess, you can think on the opponent time

          Aw hell, why didn't anyone tell me this before?

      • by Temtongkek ( 975742 ) on Monday July 07, 2008 @08:06AM (#24082105)
        "The chess part is speed chess, which can be quite difficult and heavily favors those who are well practiced in strategy and able to make decisions faster." Mistake. Huge mistake. Those who are able toplay blitz/bullet/speed/whatever-u-want-to-call-it Chess are excellent TACTICIANS. Strategy, the long-term plan in Chess, is almost always sacrificed in favor of shorter-term, more easily calculated variations designed to trap/x-ray/skewer/check/checkmate your opponent. There simply isn't time to formulate anything strategically. In speed Chess, it's tactics. On the other side of the coin, if you play a few rounds of speed Chess and then try your hand at a non-speed game, you'll find yourself being a lot more impulsive and blundering due to lack of foresight and proper calcuations to thwart your enemy's plans.
        • Drawing a line between strategy and tactics in this case is really just semantics.

          We've all ready the classic 'Chess Traps and Tricks' and come into most situations ready to spring out a knight in exchange for a castled rook, force an opponent into leaving hanging pawns scattered all over the place, or control the center through a complicated network or interdependent pieces.

          How much of that is a result of careful planning and how much is a result of tactical tricks sprung at opportune times really depends

    • by Propaganda13 ( 312548 ) on Monday July 07, 2008 @04:58AM (#24081355)

      I thought the same thing, and figured they must have rules against this type of play.

        But then couldn't a boxer like Mike Tyson immediately win the world champion title in the second round of the fight?

      No, the WCBO's statutes foresee a minimum ELO ranking of 1800 in chess. Each competitor has to fulfil this minimum standard in order to participate in an official chessboxing fight. Someone like Mike Tyson would need years of training to reach this standard...
      In addition, there's also the zugzwang rule. When a chessboxer doesn't make a move and the referee has good reason to believe that he or she is doing this deliberately, a warning is issued. When the chessboxer still fails to make a move, a second warning is issued whereupon he or she is forced to make a move. If no move is made upon the second warning, the player is immediately disqualified.

    • Yeah he might 'swell run into the wall and bang his head.

    • The real world isn't nicely divided into "brains" and "brawn". Intelligence is not inversely correlated with muscle-mass.

  • by damburger ( 981828 ) on Monday July 07, 2008 @04:18AM (#24081217)
    I have seen the future of sports and it says 'I took a lot of body-blows in the fourth round and that affected my concentration. That's why I made a big mistake in the fifth round: I did not see him coming for my king,'
  • by multipass666 ( 1213904 ) on Monday July 07, 2008 @04:23AM (#24081241)
    He goes head-to-head against the world champion of Kung-fu Go.
    • by Digestromath ( 1190577 ) on Monday July 07, 2008 @05:18AM (#24081413)
      Quite frankly I'm waiting for Mixed Martial Arts Scrabble.

      Post Fight Interview :

      "Yeah I came out throwing hard. I was pretty much gassed with only a minute left in the round. He got me in that guillotine choke and I only barely got out. But then at the start of the next round, I hit him with a "QUOITED" on a triple word score, pretty much sealed the deal, I really want to win with a knock out, but I'll take the win on points."

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Thanshin ( 1188877 )

      I would so play in the "Counter Strike / Kick Boxing" league...

      "Pwnwhat? Damn sniper. Come here! I'll tear your head off."

      • Kendo-snooker would be pretty good. Full kendo gear, using the shinai as a pool cue, and everybody smoking and drinking scotch. The commercial tie-ins would be invaluable: "You've entered Marlboro prefecture", or "Single malt for the discerning Samurai"
    • And the winner faces Bisu in Starcrwondo

  • Codeboxing (Score:5, Funny)

    by techsoldaten ( 309296 ) on Monday July 07, 2008 @04:30AM (#24081261) Journal

    Yeah, we have something like that at my company called codeboxing.

    Developers receive documentation and go off to work on something. The moment they run into an ambiguous or poorly defined requirement, they jump into the ring with the person who wrote it for up to 6 rounds of boxing. Between rounds, they refine the language of the requirement. The match is decided by a panel of managers, agreement between the two parties, or knock out.


  • by eennaarbrak ( 1089393 ) on Monday July 07, 2008 @04:34AM (#24081275)
    I was rather hoping for a BattleChess like game where the players box it out to decide which piece captures which. This just sounds ... weird.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by iwein ( 561027 )
      Well, battle chess was quite boring on the battle side. The outcome was only based on the chess rules. This at least gives you a fair chance. I would hate to sacrifice a pawn to Mike Tyson with battle chess rules.
    • BofferWarsChess, coming to a field near you.
  • by Ksempac ( 934247 ) on Monday July 07, 2008 @05:03AM (#24081371)
    I m a big fan of the trilogy (actually i m a big fan of the author), but it's kind of weird to think that chess-boxing is now real, given that in the book it is mainly used to show the violence of the distopian world.
    There is also a hockey game in the first book which ends with something like 3 goals and 5 kills for each team.
    BTW : In the book, the chess-boxing match ends with the main protagonist (possessed by a god) killing his opponent with some kind of laser shot from his eyes during a chess round.
  • Fucking Awesome (Score:4, Interesting)

    by EdIII ( 1114411 ) * on Monday July 07, 2008 @05:07AM (#24081385)

    I want to see No Holds Barred Halo Boxing. Then I get to beat the crap out of the guy who thinks hes so cool with the sniper rifle.

    Let's see you pwn me now!

    Seriously though, this is really awesome. I have never really been into boxing or UFC, but if that dude also had to beat the guy at Chess or some other game of skill, then that makes it very very interesting.

    Not just brute force.

    I can see some little nerd being undefeated in the ring since he could never lose the match within 4 minutes... but going to the hospital the day he does.

    • Don't forget to hump his face after the K.O.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Kintanon ( 65528 )

      The UFC is not "Just Brute Force" you ignorant jackass. If that were the case Brock Lesnar would be destroying everyone and Sean Sherk would have torn BJ Penn apart for the lightweight title. Skill, strategy, the ability to think and act under pressure are all more important that brute force.

      Please do not propagate ignorant stereotypes.

  • Article Logo (Score:3, Interesting)

    by two_stripe ( 584918 ) on Monday July 07, 2008 @06:25AM (#24081661)
    Whats up with the logo next to the article: []?
    Is this some new way of cashing in by directing links to websites?
    1. Sign advertising agreement with other news website
    2. Post article to (?????)
    3. Profit!
    • "Whats up with the logo next to the article"

      It would appear that Slashdot is just copying

    • by Xiroth ( 917768 )
      Yeah, it is a bit odd. I can only guess that it's a sponsorship ploy, as is News Corp's Australian portal.
  • I suddenly see a new way to conduct contract negotiations in pro sports.

    Don't just watch the sport, watch the agents and owners duke it out over who gets paid what. Who wouldn't want to see those thin-wristed weasels who pad their wallets by blackmailing the fans beat the crap out of each other?

    • by Zymergy ( 803632 ) *
      Somewhere there are nerdy American college students now trying to box between heated rounds of decent chess playing. New fight clubs are cropping up all over American cities... Right....

      Glad somewhere, at least, they are making efforts at balanced sports.

      I remember consciously feeling embarrassed that some (but certainly not all) of our American athletes possessed major skill imbalances to put it mildly.
      Someday leagues such as the NFL and HNL might add IQ and each player's individual chess handicap
      • Add me to your fan base. I'd LOVE to see your suggestions put into effect. Frankly, if they're going to dump sudden-death overtime in favour of those stupid hockey and soccer shootouts, I think some kind of intellectual challenge would be a better way to resolve to a tie.

  • by Lazypete ( 863757 ) on Monday July 07, 2008 @07:51AM (#24082007)
    The funny thing about this sports is that a champion is bound to loose its title quickly, the more the champion boxe, the worst he must be getting at chess. Since after a year or two having your face punched turn your brain into molasses...
    • I would think the best player would be a mediocre chess player (on a scale of "allowed to enter" to "grand master") and a devastating boxer. Survive the chess, put the other guy's head out. Counting on your chess game to save you is not a good plan. Concussion + chess = lose, lose.
  • by belthize ( 990217 ) on Monday July 07, 2008 @08:27AM (#24082241)

          Sort of. 20 some odd years ago my room mate considered combining rugby and chess and called it "full contact chess".

          We played beer chess instead. Somebody had a 4'x4' chess board. Pawns were Mickey's, rooks were Fosters, queens were a bottle of wine etc. Every time a chess piece was taken you had to drink it. We rarely lost; against the beer drinker types we just out played them, against the chess player types we'd trade down pieces early and out drink them.

          Simpler times ...


  • That's all very nice, but how does this involve Marlon Brando in some DJ gig?
  • Isn't this just the geek version of biathlon [] (with less snow and more pummeling, of course)?
  • Wu-Tang [] were pioneers in this sport, and have long been the masters of chess boxing.
  • Let the Wookie win.

  • It would cut down on "low blows"-- Anyone who's heard "One Night in Bangkok" knows that chess players get their kicks above the waistline, sunshine.

All laws are simulations of reality. -- John C. Lilly