Froid Equateur

Chessboxing. Exactly What It Sounds Like. (Ridiculous.)

Um, no. Despite the fact that I’ve described boxing using chess (plus swimming plus sharks) metaphors, I don’t think it really works together. Is this a bit surreal for anyone else? Sorry, when the two boxers sit down in their trunks and headphones to have it out over the chess board, that’s when I start looking around to see if they have Yuengling on draft. Something, anything to relieve the pain.

Did they do this because it rains so much in London?

Facebookers, I encourage you to click through to see the video on this one. Yes, there’s video. Of chess boxing. That’s chess plus boxing, in case you were confused.

This is not dramatic, it’s stupid! Four minutes of chess, one round of boxing. Repeat until there’s a checkmate or a knockout, I’m not joking. Would I joke about this? Strike that.

Froid EquateurThe whole thing was apparently conceived by cartoonist Enki Bilal and featured as a major plot in his graphic novel Froid Équateur. You gotta dig those black and white checkerboard boxing gloves, huh? Oh, and please pardon the nipple there, I could have photoshopped that out but the whole thing is just so weird, just so… Clockwork Orange. Something.

Can you believe Time Magazine did a piece on this? Me either. Sorry, I’m just babbling here. There’s actually a part of the Time article which says:

The 2008 World Champion Chessboxer, Russian math student Nikolaj Sazhin, 19, won the light heavyweight division in Berlin on July 5 in front of a thousand fans, after seizing his punch-drunk opponent’s queen in the fifth round of chess.

“For me the sport is very attractive and demanding and also in a kind of way spectacular,” Sazhin said, via a translator. “You have to be totally cooled down in chess coming out of the boxing round. The adrenaline is the problem.”

“[A]fter seizing his punch-drunk opponent’s queen…” This can’t go on, people.

ESPN did an article on chessboxing with the title — wait for it — “By Hook or by Rook.” Ouch. That stings, doesn’t it?

Here’s another shocker: there’s an organization, dear God and the Baby Jesus preserve us. Yep, the World Chess Boxing Organization was formed in 2008 by Tim Woolgar, who was quoted in the Telegraph saying, “”If you get a guy to box, it teaches him self-respect. But if you get teach him something like chess as well, you teach him a whole new set of skills. And those are skills which can be put to practical use when it comes to finding jobs.”

Finding jobs. Just. Wow.

, , , , , , , ,

7 Responses to Chessboxing. Exactly What It Sounds Like. (Ridiculous.)

  1. Lance Bledsoe October 13, 2009 at 5:55 am #

    I totally don’t get it. I actually enjoy both chess and boxing, but I don’t see the appeal in combining them into a single sport/event. I mean, I like math and live music, too, but I don’t want to go to a rock concert and watch the band work a few word problems in between songs.

    Maybe I’m just not being open to new ideas? I feel like one of those old people who complain about what those crazy kids are into these days: “Back in my day, the boxers boxed and the chess players played chess and that’s the way God intended it.”

  2. Sine Botchen October 13, 2009 at 2:50 pm #

    I asked my brother once what it was like to be a land surveyor.. he said it was like digging ditches while doing trigonometry.

    Chess boxing reminds me of one of those games where you have to drink a pint of beer in between rounds – only without the beer.
    .-= Sine Botchen´s last blog ..Rainy Day Flats (or This is Gonna Suck) =-.

  3. Lisa Creech Bledsoe October 13, 2009 at 3:02 pm #

    So apparently an actual chessboxer (whoa, these internets!) found my post on WTS ( and left me a quote:

    “You can judge your age by the amount of pain you feel when you come into contact with a new idea.” Pearl S Buck

    So I felt… a teeeeesy bit bad for bashing his/her sport, and I invited him/her to actually tell me why they love the sport. No word so far. But I think I’m headed in the right direction — I want to hear it! Do you think if I tweet it out anyone will answer the summons to share the good news with us non-chessboxers?

  4. J October 13, 2009 at 4:03 pm #

    I was just thinking the whole thing reminds me of a bad twist on Jacob’s Ladder.

  5. chessboxer November 11, 2009 at 12:31 pm #

    posted on women talk sport

    Lisa, I’m not sure why anyone would ridicule something they have never seen, or experienced. It just seems so reactionary that I’m surprised, especially given the lively way you describe yourself above. I am staging an event in London on 4th December and it would be absolutely marvellous if you were to come along and put your prejudice to the test. I guarantee a change of heart!

  6. Lisa Creech Bledsoe November 11, 2009 at 3:24 pm #

    Chessboxer, you certainly win points on remaining civil (if anonymous), and I must say that I very much appreciate your willingness to read, comment, and even invite me to check it out (details or a link would be helpful). I can’t say that an overseas flight is in my budget, though. Have you considered live streaming or at least making a videotape of the event available?

    And what would be additionally compelling would be for someone who is passionate about it — a participant or a promoter would be great — to write up a post or story about why they love it.

  7. Lantis March 12, 2023 at 6:38 am #

    Nothing is enough for this generation. They are fed up watching the best of the best playing chess, fed up with watching the best of the best fighting in a ring. So they come up with this stupid idea. For the love of…

Leave a Reply