Chess Boxing: the Tokyo Fight

5/3/2004 – Last year Iepe the Joker won the World Chess Boxing Championship. Now Iepe (29, 1.80m, 74kg) has defended his title against a Japanese challenger, Soichiro the Cho-Yabai (22, 1.77m, 70kg) in a bout staged at the famous "Time & Style" venue in Tokyo. Pictorial report...

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Tokyo Fight, Wonderful Night

By Kaz Ozawa

On April 17, a Friday night, the 2nd World Chess Boxing Championship, ‘The Tokyo Fight’, was held at the famous interior shop ’Time & Style’ in Jiyu-ga-oka (“mountain of liberty”), Tokyo.

For a long time the Japan Chess Association had been seeking on internet a Japanese challenger who could both play chess and box.

At last a 22-year-old Japanese, Soichiro the Cho-Yabai (“very dangerous”), was found. The challenger (1.77m, 70kg) had put on his gloves five times as an amateur kick boxer, and his Elo rating was 1465.


Soichiro's opponent was the reigning world chess boxing champion Iepe the Joker (29), who had defeated Luis the Lawyer a year ago in a well-publicised match in the Amsterdam pop-temple 'Paradiso'.

Iepe is a well known Dutch artist in Berlin. He is also a familiar person on the Japanese art scene: in 2000, Iepe did performance art at the crossing in Shibuya, Tokyo, and made Japanese policemen very angry.

Lamentably, chess is not so popular in Japan, and so I wondered whether the event could attract the large crowds. But my concern proved unfounded. About 250 people, young and old, flocked to the event venue ’Time & Style’.


The event venue, the very famous interior shop ‘Time & Style'


Ringside places are quickly occupied


Lifting the chess table into the ring for round one


Before the match, WIM Miyoko Watai introduced the rules of chess to the audience

The match is staged with four minutes of chess, followed by two minutes of boxing, then chess again, and boxing, etc. It goes over six rounds of chess and five rounds of boxing.


The fight between Soichiro the Cho-Yabai and Iepe the Joker starts – with chess moves


Then comes the boxing, faster and more furious than the chess moves

The match was won by the reigning champion Iepe (1.80m, 74kg) in the 9th round, which is a chess round. Soichiro the Cho-Yabai tried desperately to knock the champion out in the 8th round. But he didn’t manage, and was checkmated in the next round.


The knockout blow (...Qe1#) in the Tokyo Chess Boxing championship


No hard feelings about the cruel knockout in the ring

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