Chessboxing popularity grows with London show
Chessboxing, the hybrid sport where contestants alternate between rounds of chess and boxing, has come to London.
The battle of brains and brawn, where the winner is determined by either knockout or checkmate, was contested at the Boston Dome, in Tufnell Park, northwest London.
Players Andy "The Rock" Costello, an English former cage fighter, and Italian Gianluca "Il Dottore" Sirci competed in the first European heavyweight championship final.
And despite The Rock landing more punches during the boxing rounds, Il Dottore's chess game was the difference between the two, with the Italian defeating The Rock via checkmate in the ninth round.
As the name would suggest in Chessboxing, rounds of chess are alternated with rounds of boxing. They take turns over 11 rounds with four minutes of chess and three of boxing. The action takes place in the ring in full boxing gear, although the gloves are removed for the chess. The competitors also wear earplugs and headphones during the chess rounds to help with concentration.
If there is no winner after 11 rounds of punching and castling, victory is awarded to the fighter with the most points in the boxing ring.
Chessboxing was created in 2003 by Iepe Rubingh, a Dutch artist. "I got the idea from a Serbian comic," he told The Times. "It looked great. I wanted to see if it would work." The first match then took place, in a church, in front of 800 people. The sport has now attracted more than 150 professional competitors.
Tim Woolgar, who founded The Chess Boxing Organisation in August 2008, said: "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."