WTF is Chessboxing ?

At the moment everyone is obsessed with Mayweather vs McGregor – the boxing / UFC fight that in reality is probably never ever going to happen  ( Will they? Won’t they? How much longer can we care for? Why do we want this cross over in sports anyway?)

But what happens if you mix up two other (quite random) sports and throw them together?

Recently I have seen a fair bit about ‘Chessboxing’ and noticed it is on at one of my absolute favourite boxing venues, York Hall, so I decided to take a look into exactly what is involved in this mishmash ‘sport’.

SO, WTF is chessboxing???


1. According to the all-knowledgable Wikipedia, the definition of Chessboxing is:

A hybrid fighting sport (or a hybrid board game) that combines two traditional pastimes, chess, a cerebral board game and boxing, a physical sport. The competitors fight in alternating rounds of chess and boxing. Chessboxing was invented by Dutch performance artist Iepe Rubingh.[1][2] What was initially only thought to be an art performance quickly turned into a fully developed competitive sport.[3] Chessboxing is particularly popular in Germany, Great Britain, India and Russia.

2.  London Chessboxing is a brand under which the sport has been promoted in. . . well errr London, since 2008, although it has been practiced apparently since 1978 with the crazy idea originating from a comic strip. Notable venues for the sport in London include Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club, Chelsea Old Town Hall, York Hall and Scala, Kings Cross.

3. The WCBO is the leading organisation for international amateur chessboxing and is based in Berlin.

4.  Competitors can win either by KO or checkmate. Brains or brawn!

5. Contenders combat in alternate three minute rounds of boxing, to four minute rounds of chess board action.


6. If there is no victor by round 11, the champion is the one with the most points in the boxing ring.

7. Fast becoming a popular spectator sport, the next event at York Hall is 3rd June 2017.

8. The current minimum requirements require a Elo rating (chess speak which basically determines your skill level) of 1600 and a record of at least 50 amateur bouts fought in boxing or another similar martial arts.


9. Chessboxing requires not only for competitors to master both sports, but be able to withstand the constant switching from one to the other from full contact to thinking, round after round.

10. The last event saw a UKIP MEP punched to the canvas in a grudge match against a Lib Dem activist. See The Metro’s opinion (plus videos!) on the madness here.






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