Chess boxing, a hybrid sport combining chess and boxing, was created as a joke by a Dutch artist in 2003 but has since gained popularity in Germany, the UK, India, and Russia. Participants alternate between playing chess and boxing, with the winner being determined by knockout or checkmate. The idea was inspired by a French graphic novel, and in India, it has become popular among young women seeking to break free from traditional social roles.
In the dichotomous sport of chess boxing, you can win by the hook or by the rook. This hybrid activity, which combines the cerebral qualities of chess with the very physical sport of boxing, started as a joke in 2003, presented to the world by a Dutch artist. Who knew it would catch on, especially in Germany, the UK, India and Russia, and be officially sanctioned by the World Chess Boxing Organisation? The rules are simple: Participants play chess and then put on the gloves for a round of boxing, taking turns every three minutes for 11 rounds. The winner is the contestant who achieves a knockout in the ring or a checkmate on the chessboard.
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You can blame (or thank) artist Iepe Rubingh for making the first move in boxing chess. He got the idea from a 1992 French graphic novel, Froid Équateur, written by Enki Bilal.
Rubingh says that “60 percent of winning moves are made on chessboards and 40 percent in boxing.”
In India, chess boxing has become popular among impoverished young women seeking to break free from traditional social roles.