‘You wanted control, so we waited. I put on a show, now I make it. You say I’m a kid, my ego is big I don’t give a shit, and it goes like this…’. Words by Adam Levine, Benjamin Levin, Ammar Malik and Shellback. ‘Moves like Jagger’ – Maroon 5 featuring Christina Aguilera.
You know that moment when something first comes into your world? For me it was a random chat at home. “I’m going to see some jazz possibly” said my housemate in his thick accent. “Chess Boxing?” said my friend, sitting at our kitchen table. “No. JAZZ. Possibly” said my housemate. “Chess boxing?!?!” said I. Then we giggled, fumbled over the confusion and moved on. Just three days later wandering around a flea market, I found a flyer for it, and an hour later we stood on the 6th floor of a carpark, in the dark, with less than a hundred others, about to watch Chess Boxing.
So there we were, watching two adorable teenage boys, silky shorts, hands strapped, leaning intently over a chess board in the middle of a ring. Move after move, we all bounced around on tiptoes trying to get a better look. Before we knew it the bell rang, two beefy dudes moved in to whisk any sign of chess away and the real action began. Or should I say civilised controlled demonstrative punchy punch.
Anyway it was a very sanitised form of the boxing I grew up with – blood and saliva flying in a silver pink arc through the floodlights to follow the crack of fist on jaw. Sweat and heat and muscly fury. That was always kind of exciting – to see men punch on in a show of primal strength and determination. This however held nowhere near the same allure. Especially when the next round involves a lot of people watching two men….think. I never really got the point of spectator chess. But hey, I never really played chess either.
After extensive research I now know that chess boxing runs for 11 rounds – six chess, five boxing. Three to four minutes per round. A minute break between rounds. Also that the ‘sport’ has been around for 20 years now. AMAZE BALLS. Who knew? I’m not saying it wasn’t great – but if they want to raise the profile of chess boxing, they really need to pitch it to the ladies. Do they not know how much we love brains AND brawn?
IMAGES © MELINDA BARLOW