Chess Boxing – Rules and Guide


WCBO, CC BY 3.0 DE , via Wikimedia Commons

Chess Boxing - Key Facts

Chess Boxing (or chessboxing) is, well, exactly what it sounds like.  Chess and Boxing mixed together in one sport. 

What is Chess Boxing?A sport where competitors play chess and box eachother
Objective of the GameA player wins by either checkmating their opponent or chess, by knocking their opponent out in boxing, or a boxing points decision.
Is Chess Boxing a team or individual sport?Chess Boxing is an individual sport

What is Chess Boxing?

Chess Boxing is a relatively new discipline which combines the game of chess with the sport of boxing. Competitors need to be able to alternate between chess and boxing – two disciplines which seem, on the face of it, polar opposites. The sport takes place in a boxing ring, where competitors play alternating rounds of chess and boxing

Object of Chess Boxing

The object of the game of chessboxing is either to checkmate your opponent at chess, or to knock them out in a round of boxing.

Rules of Chess Boxing

In order to participate in an official game of chess boxing, players must have a good understanding of both sports.

    • The game is divided into 11 rounds: 6 rounds of chess alternating with 5 rounds of boxing.
    • The chess rounds last 4 minutes and the Boxing rounds last 3 minutes.
    • The chess game is timed at 12 minutes per player, to ensure the game ends.
    • Players must generally have a chess rating of 1800 or higher.
    • Match referees will not allow players to waste time in the chess game.

Players and Equipment

Although anyone can play chess, it is not recommended that people take up chess boxing without a knowledge of boxing, from a safety point of view.
Chess boxers in official games must have knowledge of boxing and have a chess rating of at least 1800 in order to be able to compete.

Chess Board

A standard chess board is used for the chess rounds. The board is placed on a table in the middle of the boxing ring and removed during the boxing rounds.

Chess Clock

A chess clock will be required, set to 12 minutes for each player.

Boxing Ring

You can’t box without a boxing ring! You must box in the correct surroundings, in a boxing ring. The safety of the competitors is obviously the most important factor here.

Boxing Gloves

Players must wear boxing gloves during the boxing round. These are then removed at the end of boxing rounds and then put back on at the end of the chess rounds. It would be pretty difficult to move your pieces wearing boxing gloves!

How to win at Chess Boxing

You can win at chess boxing either by winning the chess game or the boxing match.
  • If you checkmate your opponent, you win.
  • If you knock your opponent out, you win.
  • If the chess match ends in a draw, the match is decided on points in boxing.
  • If both the chess match and the points in boxing are tied, the winner is the player who played chess with the black pieces.

Where can you play chess boxing in the UK?

The combination of chess and boxing is still very niche in the UK, and there are few places where you can actually get involved.

However, individually, Chess and Boxing are widely played and there are plenty of clubs around the country.

In England, you can find a boxing club near you at England Boxing and you can get into chess by using the English Chess Federation’s club finder.

In Scotland, you can use the Boxing Scotland Club Locator and there are a whole host of chess clubs you can discover on the Chess Scotland website

In Wales, the Welsh Amateur Boxing Association has a club finder on its website. Visit the directory on the Welsh Chess Union website to find a chess club in Wales. 

In Northern Ireland, the Ulster Boxing Council has an interactive map of boxing clubs throughout Northern Ireland and the three Ulster counties of the Republic of Ireland. There a few Chess clubs around in Northern Ireland too, some of which can be found on the Ulster Chess Union website.

Are Chess Boxers Athletes?

Boxing is an incredibly athletic sport. So without doubt there are levels of athletic fitness, strength and agility required here. 

Thinking of getting involved? You’ll require a level of fitness. Additionally, to support athletes in their rigorous training and recovery regimes, massage therapy has emerged as a valuable tool. A targeted massage session can aid in relieving muscle tension, promoting flexibility, and enhancing overall physical wellbeing. You can find mobile massage therapists near you in the United Kingdom who specialise in providing tailored massage services to athletes (yes, even chess boxers!), to aid recovery. 


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