Chessboxing explained as bizarre sport sets new streaming record

Tyson Fury and Derek Chisora share Five Guys burgers after brutal boxing …

It seems like the unlikeliest of partnerships, but the worlds of chess and boxing just combined to deliver a knockout blow over the weekend.

Streamer Ludwig Ahgren just broke the record for the most-watched Smash tournament after staging the Mogul Chessboxing Championship on Sunday (December 11).

Thousands tuned in to watch the spectacle when it was streamed on YouTube, with the livestream peaking at 270,000 – beating the previous record set by EVO in 2019.

But what actually is chessboxing?

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Well, as the name suggests, it’s an unlikely combination of chess and boxing.

According to, “Chessboxing, or Chess Boxing is a hybrid sport that combines two traditional pastimes: chess and boxing. Contestants compete in alternating rounds of chess and boxing.

Andrea Botez vs WGM Dina Belenkaya - Mogul

“Chessboxing was invented by French comic book artist Enki Bilal and adapted by Dutch performance artist Iepe Rubingh as an art performance in 2003. It has subsequently grown into a competitive sport.”

So, as people who tuned into the stream on Sunday will have seen, competitors knock seven bells out of one another in the ring.

Then, after the bell sounds, they take off the gloves and sit down to play chess with one another. Players also wear headphones for soundproofing during the chess rounds.

Andrea Botez takes on WGM Dina Belenkaya in a chessboxing boutYouTube/Ludwig

A normal game of chessboxing consists of six rounds of chess and five rounds of boxing. A win comes either via checkmate, knockout in the boxing ring, points based on the chess game or if a player runs out of time to make a move in the chess game.

London Chessboxing founder and player Tim ‘The Hippo’ Woolgar previously spoke to The Independent about the sport, saying: “It’s got its own unique magic. It’s a dramatic sport so you really feel for someone who’s got blood dripping down their nose and suddenly has to sit down and think strategically.

“Or when you can see someone’s got a naked king on the board and facing checkmate, and has to stop his opponent in the next boxing round. The stakes are played out very dramatically.”

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