Chess Boxing – Checkmate in the 5th round

Last week our favorite Berlin city guide email service Sugar High had an article about the upcoming International German Chess Boxing Championship being held in Berlin at the Festsaal Kreuzberg. We all thought, “Oh man, we gotta go see that live.” We reserved tickets and Saturday we said “Soccer? not tonight, because Chessboxing is coming home.” Festsaal Kreuzberg was packed and the atmosphere was amazing, just as we’d expected. There were 3 fights on the card, and the main event was between Iepe “The Joker” Rubingh, founder of the sport, and founder of the Munich Chess Boxing Club Tim “The Bavarian Beast” Yilmaz.

Valentin Vonnemann vs. Nils Becker in the Chess Round

Chess Bosing is, as the name would suggest, a combination of Chess and Boxing. One fight consists of 11 rounds. Six rounds of chess and five rounds of boxing. The fight starts with a round of chess, and then alternates between chess and boxing until a K.O., checkmate, or a timeout. On Saturday night, the first fight was decided by knockout, while the next two were decided on the chess board.

The main event was amazing: Iepe Rubingh vs. Tim Yilmaz. Back and forth, they boxed in the ring and battled on the chess board (also in the ring) until the 7th round when Tim made a terrible error on the chessboard and had to concede victory.

What a sport! The whole night we kept turning to each other with big grins and saying “this is so awesome!” Chess or boxing by itself would never have generated the same feeling of excitement and anticipation as the two sports together did. It’s probably my new favorite sport, after hockey of course.

More Chess boxing can be found here.

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