The Greatest Sport You’ve (Probably) Never Heard Of

As it always does, this year’s Winter Olympics will renew broader interest in some cool and underappreciated sports, from luge to cross-country skiing, to of course, curling.

SPORTS

By Atticus Crothers, The ECHO

As it always does, this year’s Winter Olympics will renew broader interest in some cool and underappreciated sports, from luge to cross-country skiing, to, of course, curling.

But one is still missing. The ultimate combination of brains and brawn: chess boxing.

For now, you can find it featured on ESPN2 for one day in August each year as the channel honors the movie Dodgeball by televising a lineup of obscure sports for a day.

Some are stupid (Slippery Stairs), others are pretty cool (Dodge Juggle), but no others rise to the level of chess boxing.

Chess boxing is pretty much what you would expect: Players alternate competing in rounds of chess and rounds of boxing, with chess serving as both the first and last round.

Competitors begin with three minutes of chess, take a one-minute break to move the chessboard and chairs out of the middle of the boxing ring, box for three minutes, take a one-minute break to bring back in the chess game, continue the chess game for three minutes, and so on.

This goes on until someone has been knocked out in boxing, checkmated or run out of time in chess, or until 11 total rounds have been completed. At that point, the winner is decided by boxing decision.

It’s amazing.

There’s only one thing that would make it better.

Most current chessboxing competitors are people with some skill in both pursuits (you have to have a certain chess rating and a certain number of boxing matches under your belt in order to compete).

But imagine if that wasn’t the case. Instead, the best chess player in the world would run terrified around the ring, dodging the best boxer in the world, who would be desperately stalling in chess. Epic.

Magnus Carlsen vs. Canelo. Or maybe Garry Kasparov vs. Logan Paul.

I understand that chess boxing would most likely be a Summer Olympic sport, since there’s nothing particularly wintry about it. 

But please, International Olympic Committee, let’s see this in Paris 2024.


Note: This article first appeared in the East Chapel Hill High School student newspaper, The ECHO.

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