Chessboxing: “It’s Like a Sword Fight”


No, we didn’t make up a verb because we were bored. This sport is a real hybrid — like a liger. And even though you can probably figure out how to play just by saying the name slowly, we are going to tell you the details so you can organize the next match at your family’s Fourth of July barbecue.

Two opponents face off over a chessboard. Each must make his/her move within four minutes. There is a minute of changing gear, and then you begin to box for a maximum of three minutes. Alternate sports until someone wins with a knockout or checkmate: whichever comes first. Fun!

Chessbase writes of the sport’s burgeoning popularity in London. Almost 40 percent of audiences are female, which is relatively unheard of at boxing matches. And how classy, a Frenchman invented the game: The cartoonist Enki Bilal’s 1992 graphic novel Froid Équateur circumnavigates a chess boxing match; inspired by the idea, Dutch artist Iepe Rubingh decided to run with it, and the rest is history. RZA of Wu-Tang is a big fan, hence the track “Da Mystery of Chessboxin’.” And you thought he made that up.

For more information, check out the World Chess Boxing Organization’s website.