Chess is about patience and seizing opportunities. So is the sweet science known as boxing.
Then you can only imagine the strategy involved with Chessboxing, one of the original Top 10 Weird Sports – back in the days when people made Top 10 lists of Weird Sports and posted them on the Internets.
I first tried to photograph chess boxing in Berlin in 2007, but the bout was canceled at the last second. (Newer weird sports often take awhile to build up steam and support, I’ve noticed.)
And while I made a photo or two from the practice gym I liked, I am happy to say that Chessboxing has gained strength. During my German stay, I was able to catch a battle of the two top chessboxing clubs, as Berlin hosted rival London.
One of things that I loved when I first saw images of chessboxing was how they dressed up the arena.
Visually, you couldn’t find two more polar opposites: the violent action of fist fighting vs. the tranquil setting of two cats quietly sitting at a table, surveying their next move. Individually, each photo op is either pretty cliché or pretty dull. But together…
There were 3 bouts this night, between clubs from London and Berlin. Each athlete arrived to live DJ mixes, spotlights and smoke.
The only thing missing was cheerleaders, which got me thinking about one of The All-Time Perfect Cheers.
To quickly recap, boxers play a round of chess, then a round of boxing, and then a round of chess… and so on, until one either knocks out their opponent in the ring – or declares checkmate on the table.
(Yeah, pure genius.)
I got to say, each 3 winners took me by surprise, only because it was hard (for me) to realize how close they were to winning. From calm to ecstatic in no time flat.
London took 2 out of the 3 contests and claimed world domination. The trash talking quickly began for a rematch in London.
Saw this couple on my way out of the venue, The Tape Club. Check, mate.