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Chessboxing on ESPN, Playboy and Maxim

6/27/2006 – This unusual sport, in which two competitors face each other in 11 alternating rounds, six of chess, five of boxing, is rapidly gaining popularity. You know that is the case when you see chessboxing on the front page of a leading sports web site, and as a major story in a number of men's magazines. Check out the ESPN video footage.
 

A chessboxing bout begins with chess, which is played on a board placed directly in the middle of the ring. Each round of chess lasts four minutes. After each chess round, the bell sounds, and workmen remove the chessboard for a two-minute round of boxing, the gloves go back on, the punching recommences. Participants win by way of knockout, checkmate, referee's decision, or if his opponent exceeds the allotted total of 12 minutes for an entire match on the chessboard.


ESPN has a very nice video report on chessboxing
(you need a painless to install Flash player to watch)

In the most recent match about 400 people gathered in Cologne, Germany, to see Zoran 'the Priest' Mijatovic played queens gambit. But 'Anti Terror' Frank Stoldt was very well prepared and won in the 7th round. In the 7th chess round Zoran was three moves away of being checkmated, so he resigned. Frank also controlled the boxing rounds.


Frank Stoldt (right) dodges an attack by Zoran Mijatovic (Photo Nik Kleinbert)

A former kickboxer and longtime chess player, Frank Stoldt, a 36-year-old Berlin riot police commander, learned about chessboxing over the Internet. Zoran Mijatovic is a 28-year-old ship welder from Pulla, Croatia.


Chessboxer TigerTAD

There is one chessboxer we know quite well. It is Tihomir Atanassov Dovramadjiev of Bulgaria, a.k.a. "Titschko", which is the short form of Tihomir. He was an elite chessplayer, winning the Bulgarian national chess championship in his age group a number of times. Veselin Topalov and Antoaneta Stefanova were his friends and colleagues from their junior years, and they played a lot of European and world championships together. Tihomir's best result was third place in a European championship and 4th place in a world championship. Today he is an FM rated 2342 on the FIDE list. He is also an engineer, working on 3D creations and specialising in the 3D CAD system SolidWorks.

At 17 (he is now 26) Tihomir took up bodybuilding, and then started to box. In 2003 he registred an account, "TigerTAD", on Playchess.com. Since then (and until June 25, 2006) he has played 23,785 bullet chess and 7144 blitz chess games. He is one of the few regulars on Playchess to earn the King symbol by playing on the server (usually the symbol is reserved for FIDE grandmasters). We have watched him take on some of the strongest players in the world, and give them a tough fight, especially in bullet chess.


The bullet chess chart for TigerTAD on Playchess


TigerTAD in the top ten bullet chess list on Playchess

Last October the First European Chess Boxing Championship took place in Berlin. Tihomir Dovramadjiev defeated Andreas Schneider of Germany after the latter conceded defeat in the seventh round. Tihomir sent us some pictures from the match, shot by his girlfriend.


Start of the match Tihomir Dovramadjiev vs Andreas Schneider


The chess section of the match, with TigerTAD on the right

Tihomir: "Boxing is harder than chess, because you are receiving damage in head. The biggest different between boxing and chess is that boxing is a sport of "enemies", while in chess you make friends. Chessboxing is fantastically interesting and very difficult. The switch make it difficult. After boxing a round blood enters your head and this make thinking very, very difficult."

In the following months reports on Tihomir Dovramadjiev's Berlin bout appeared on German TV, and there were stories in a number of men's magazines.


Playboy Germany did a many-page article and blurbed the story on its title


Both the Russian and the Bulgarian editions of Maxim carried major stories


3D Chess pieces designed by chessboxer TigerTAD


In May this year the school Grundschule im Grünen in Germany held four chessboxing matches.


The girls, we are told, won the prize for the best chess game


The matches were refereed by boxing trainer Gert Rücker,
who trained the chess group of the school for four weeks.


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