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July 07, 2008

Post-Modern Biathalon: Chessboxing

A comic, maybe Seinfeld, maybe Leno, riffed on the weirdness of the "modern biathalon" Olympic event, which consists of cross country skiing, then marksman rifle shooting. Why not have another event where guys fish for a couple of hours then strangle a guy?, the joke went.

Less of a joke in Russia.

A RUSSIAN man has been crowned world champion in the novelty sport of chess boxing, a game that requires equal skill at moving pawns and throwing punches.

...

The loser said he was simply too punch-drunk to fend off checkmate.

"I took a lot of body-blows in the fourth round and that affected my concentration. That's why I made a big mistake in the fifth round: I did not see him coming for my king,'' he said.

Berlin is home to the world's biggest chess boxing club with some 40 members and it is in an old freight station here that the two men settled the matter early yesterday.

The match began over a chess board set up on a low table in the middle of a boxing ring.

Stripped to the waist, wearing towels around their shoulders and headphones playing the lulling sound of a moving train to drown out the baying crowd, the men played for four minutes.

Then off came their reading glasses and on went the gloves and the mouthguards.

For three minutes they beat each other and then, when the bell went, the chess board was back in the ring and they picked up the gentlemanly game where they had left off.

"This is the hard part, you are out of breath but you have to keep your wits about you,'' said David Steppeler, a 33-year-old instructor at the local chess boxing club.

A chess boxing match consists of six rounds of chess and five in the ring but it can also end suddenly in knockout or checkmate.

It's old, of course. I used to play a similar version of Beat-Down Stratego with my brother. Every time that little douche hid his Spy by never moving it and making me think it was a bomb, I declared a rules violation and went after him with elbows and teeth.


Here's an ESPN report on the "Sport of the Future" from last year.

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posted by Ace at 04:20 PM

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