Photo by Janina Gallert
Combining a bright mindset with a great physique, chessboxing sounds like the sport for the perfect man. Eleven rounds are divided into five of boxing and six of speed chess. Victory is achieved either by knockout or by checkmate. Still in its infancy, the sport has only four clubs worldwide so far: Berlin, Los Angeles, Krasnoyarsk (Siberia) and London. The Berlin club currently counts 70 members.
Although the number of active members is still quite low, some 2,000 spectators attended the World Championship game in Siberia last November, when the game’s brightest talent at the moment, 18-year-old Leo ’Granit’ Kraft, defeated his senior by four years, Nikolay ’The Chairman’ Sazhin, when the latter ran out of time on the chess clock. It’s no coincidence that the two were both from the former Soviet Union (Sazhin from Siberia and Kraft from Belarus), as the Europeans have an especially hard time competing with the Russians, traditionally a dominant force in both chess and boxing with countless champs to back it up.
In what could very well end up being his last fight, the ‘father of chessboxing’, 36-year-old Iepe Rubingh who founded the sport in 2002 and fought the first bout the following year, proved that age is no hinder when it comes to dealing jaw-breaking jabs as he won the International German Championships on November 6 in front of 400 blood-hungering fans in Festsaal Kreuzberg.
If you’re intrigued but don’t feel like risking your good health, you shouldn´t miss the chance for a good workout – you won’t of course be forced into the ring until you feel ready for a beating. That being said, the club is still looking for a few good women since the current female members aren’t ready for the big time just yet.
So grab your gloves and swing by rumbling, but welcoming basement location in Mitte to get into both the mental and physical shape of a Greek god.