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Introduction to chessboxing: A unique hybrid sport

Discover chessboxing, a unique sport combining the intellectual strategy of chess and the physical intensity of boxing. A surprising discipline to explore.

In 1992, while working on Froid Équateur, cartoonist Enki Bilal drew a portrait of a society obsessed with performance. That's how he came up with chessboxing.

Qu'est ce que le chessboxing : Ce nouveau sport hybride intriguant

What is chessboxing and where does it come from?

First conceived by Enki Bilal, chessboxing is a blend of English boxing and chess. The idea soon garnered attention, and in 2003, Iepe Rubingh, a chess enthusiast and reasonably good boxer, was inspired by Enki Bilal to create the first professional chessboxing league: the World Chess Boxing Organisation (WCBO).

Qu'est ce que le chessboxing : Ce nouveau sport hybride intriguant

Chessboxing Rules and Format

Chessboxing isn't all that complicated... Here's how a match is played.

Structure of a Chessboxing Match

Two opponents set up in front of a chessboard, followed by alternating rounds: a round of chess, then a round in the ring, and so on. In total, there are eleven three-minute rounds. A 60-second break is allowed between each round to bring the chessboard into the ring or put on the gloves.

Victory Criteria in Chessboxing

A victory is obtained by a knockout, checkmate or a decision made by the referee.

Qu'est ce que le chessboxing : Ce nouveau sport hybride intriguant

Training and Skill Requirements

Chessboxing is a demanding sport, so proper preparation is essential.

Physical Preparation for Boxing

Before undertaking this sport, it's important to perform warm-up exercises to prepare the body and minimize the risk of injury.

Warm-up and training 

Warm up with a skipping rope, jumping jacks and push-ups. You can also do fast and slow runs, varying pace and distance. A warm-up should last around 10 minutes to allow the body to adapt gradually to the exercises.

Tip: Train with experienced boxers to further develop your technique.

Mental Training and Chess Strategies

This fascinating sport is all about managing the transitions between brute force and mental prowess. Opponents must therefore develop alternating strategies.

Qu'est ce que le chessboxing : Ce nouveau sport hybride intriguant

The Benefits of Chessboxing

Benefits of chess: improves concentration, logic and creativity (chess stimulates the right side of the brain, the side responsible for creativity).

Benefits of boxing: development of the cardiovascular system, improved flexibility and muscle toning.

Qu'est ce que le chessboxing : Ce nouveau sport hybride intriguant

Chessboxing Equipment and Clothing

Like a classic boxing match, chessboxing doesn't require much equipment.

Boxing Equipment Required:

It's important to feel safe in the ring.

- Mouthguards: to reduce the impact of blows and avoid breaking a tooth.

- Wraps and gloves: to protect your wrists and hands, absorb your opponent's blows and strike back.

- Protective shell: to protect sensitive areas of the body from blows.

- Full-face helmet: for added head protection.

Chess Equipment:

Opponents wear headphones during the chess component to quiet the noise from the audience.

Qu'est ce que le chessboxing : Ce nouveau sport hybride intriguant

How to Start Chessboxing?

First, you’ll need to find a partner… but that’s not all!

Finding a Chessboxing Club or Community

Chessboxing may be an unusual sport, but it continues to grow in popularity. Today, it's mainly practiced in Great Britain and parts of Europe, but it continues to grow around the globe.

Now that you know all about this unusual sport, why not give it a try? We'd love to hear how it goes!

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