London is a centre for interesting events and few shows are more unusual or entertaining than a chess boxing match. ‘What IS chessboxing?’ you ask. Chessboxing is exactly what it sounds like, a mix of the strategy game ‘chess’ and the physically demanding sport of ‘boxing’. Players challenge each other’s physical strength, endurance and technique during boxing rounds, while stopping in between rounds to take each other on at chess. This sport requires both strength AND strategy to win and challenges the typical stereotypes of the ‘dumb but powerful’ athlete. Don’t be fooled by the muscles and tattoos, these fighters are also good strategic thinkers.
It sounds mind-bogglingly bizarre, but then, chessboxing did originate in a comic strip crafted by Serbian-French writer Enki Bilal. In 2003, it was brought to life by Dutch performance artist Iepe Rubingh who hosted the first match in a church in front of 800 people. It proved so popular that a cult sport was born. Chessboxing is a fast growing sport, with large followings in Berlin and London, where most events take place.
Interested? Want to check out the sport of chessboxing for yourself? If you’re in the UK and want to experience chessboxing – visit London on 12th of October to watch chess boxing at the Scala in Kings Cross.