corinna.schultz at gmail.com
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Tue Jul 11 09:21:51 PDT 2006
Invented by a performance artist. Apparently enough people do this, that there's
There's something strangely... fascinating... about the concept. Can you imagine
a "Rocky" remake?
I would be concerned about the potential for brain damage, though.
Two competitors face each other in 11 alternating rounds, six of chess, five of
boxing. A bout begins with chess, which is played on a board placed directly in
the middle of the ring. Each round of chess lasts four minutes. After each chess
round, the bell sounds, and workmen remove the chessboard for a two-minute round
of boxing, the gloves go back on, the punching recommences. Participants win by
way of knockout, checkmate, referee's decision, or if his opponent exceeds the
allotted total of 12 minutes for an entire match on the chessboard. Those are
the basics, but they do little to answer the overriding question: Why?
Iepe (pronounced ee-pay) Rubingh, chessboxing's Don King, has big plans, and
they stem from his belief in the duality of man — the cerebral and the
physically courageous. "Chessboxing makes you fit for life," Rubingh says,
running a hand over his red-tinted buzz cut. "It polishes you."
Soon enough, the chessboxing group leaves the gym and retires to Grunfeld, a
chess-themed watering hole in Cologne's central district. Vaguely erotic
charcoal sketches of rooks and queens hug the walls. Here on the checked tables
the chess training continues. Rubingh's chessboxers spar at the gym, while many
of them also have chess coaches.
Rubingh foresees a day when his sport will gain Olympic status and even go on to
resolve implacable global conflicts. "The future chessboxer will be a
grandmaster and a professional boxer," Rubingh says. "Chessboxing could even
solve the problem in the Middle East. I want to hold a chessboxing match between
an Israeli and a Palestinian, and the winner will get to decide what happens to
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