Chess and boxing - combined?

Published: Thursday, January 15, 2004 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 14, 2004 at 10:40 p.m.
Last week, Erik, a co-worker of mine, presented me with what has to be the most interesting challenge of my chess career.
He asked me whether I would be willing to play him a game of chess under the auspices of the WCBO.
Having seen countless variations on the classical game of chess, I thought this was just another one of those. Maybe there would be four knights instead of two, or three kings instead of one
As it turns out, nothing I had previously seen could have prepared me for what WCBO stands for.
WCBO (www.WCBO.org) stands for World Chess Boxing Organization, a body whose primary task is to "train people in the No. 1 thinking sport and the No. 1 fighting sport and the combination of both."
While my word processor refuses to recognize chessboxing as a correct word, the WCBO is introducing this new game as a great "hybrid that demands the most of its competitors - both mentally and physically."
The rules of the game are quite dramatic. The two opponents play alternating rounds of chess and boxing. The game starts with a round of chess, followed by a boxing round, followed by another round of chess and so on.
The total number of rounds is 11 - six of chess and five of boxing. A round of chess takes 4 minutes, while a boxing round only takes 2.
There is a timer for the chess portion of the competition, with each competitor being allotted a total of 12 minutes to finish the game.
Fortunately, the organizers do allow a 1-minute pause between rounds, specifically to allow the competitors to "change their gear."
How does the game of chessboxing end? Well, by classical means: checkmate or exceeding the time limit in chess, or KO or referee decision in box.
So you are probably wondering by now whether I accepted the challenge. The answer is no!
While I felt very confident in my ability to win the chess portion of the game, it occurred to me that Erik could employ the sneaky strategy of not making a single move on the chess board, waiting for the 4 minutes to elapse, and then getting to the boxing part.
As it so happens, my confidence in winning the boxing part resided in the vicinity of zero, so therefore I graciously declined the invitation.
Which only means that someone else will have the "extraordinary" opportunity to become the first chessboxing player in Gainesville.
You can reach Gabriel Schwartzmann via e-mail at gasch@fdt.net, or c/o The Gainesville Sun, P.O. Box 147147, Gainesville 32614-7147.

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