The Russians are coming – in chessboxing

7/9/2008 – Having enjoyed recent success in soccer, basketball and ice hockey, Russia is now also able to boast a world champion in the little-known sport of chessboxing. Russia's Nikolai Sazhin, a 19-year-old mathematics student from the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk, defeated light heavyweight defending champion Frank Stoldt, a 37-year-old policeman from Germany, to lift the world chess boxing title.

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Chessboxing World Championship 2008 in Berlin

Frank Stoldt's World Championship Title seized by Russian newcomer Nikolay Sazhin

Press release

Nikolay Sazhin is the new world champion in chessboxing's light-heavy-weight division. Both competitors displayed Chessboxing in highest quality and drama in front of 1000 spectators in Berlin's Kreuzberg district.

The 19 year old challenger Nikolaj "The Chairman" Sazhin from Krasnojarsk in Siberia was able to force his strategic chess concept on the experienced world champion "Anti Terror" Frank Stoldt and used his superior boxing skills to ram home the advantage.


Nikolaj "The Chairman" Sazhin vs world champion "Anti Terror" Frank Stoldt

After carefully approaching his opponent in the first round with a Slav defence Frank Stoldt took a heavy right hand to the chin in the following round which led to a standing eight count. Stoldt then showed all his experience from three title bouts to recover and see out the next three rounds without slipping further behind.

At the beginning of the fifth, however, the contest culminated at the chessboard. Sazhin took his time, but far from being in trouble the wily youngster merely lured Stoldt into a false sense of security. With his bishop in severe danger near the centre of the board, and adrenaline running high, Stoldt made a horrible blunder, overlooking a concealed threat to his queen. Sazhin pounced, took the queen and with it victory. Realising the enormity of his mistake, Stoldt instantly resigned in utter self-disgust. The contrast between the victor and defeated champion could not have been more pronounced. Stoldt hung his head as if desperately seeking a hiding place somewhere under the glaring lights. In the Siberian corner, Sazhin leapt into the arms of his trainers and bounced around the ring, punching the air in delight.


The winner (of a queen and the match): Nikolaj Sazhin from Krasnojarsk in Siberia

Gianluca "Il Dottore" Sirci – the new discovery in the heavyweight

In the second fight of the evening the encounter betweeen the Italian heavyweight pro-boxer and the English fighter Andrew "The Rocks" Castello took place. Here clear advantages for Costello in chess were expected but Gianluca Sirci was able to defend well by a clever opening in the Sicilian Dragon Variation.

In the fourth boxing round Costello was given a warning for an apparent low-blow, the round going to Sirci on all four judges cards as a consequence. Afterwards Sirci made a severe mistake at the chessboard and Costello gained a decisive lead. From here on it was a metter of time before Costello claimed the match, but Sirci had other ideas.

In the eighth round Sirci summoned all his considerable ring-craft and experience and swung hard at Costello, who moved in to a clinch. With seconds to go in the round Costello then pushed Sirci who fell through the ropes. Sirci's shoulder was injured in the fall and referee Holger Prokot had no option but to disqualify Costello after the first deduction of points in round four.

A rematch in London is already planned.

Piotr Pukos wins the first fight in the tournament of the International German Championship

The Pole Piotr Pukos obtained the highly competitive victory against Sascha Wandkowsky on time penalty in the 7th round. Wandkowsky clearly had the upper hand in the boxing part of the contest but failed to recover from and uncharacteristic and early blunder on the chessboard.

The German Tour in chessboxing will take place in Cologne on September 6th and in Hamburg on October 4th. Further informations is available on the Chessboxing web site (see link below).

News reports

  • AFP: Knights in the ring as chess boxers slug it out
    Rarely do brains and brawn come together in this way. A Russian was crowned world champion Sunday in the novelty sport of chess boxing that requires equal skill at moving pawns and throwing punches. Mathematics student Nikolai Sazhin, 19, competing under the name "The President" knocked out a 37-year-old German policeman, Frank Stoldt, who served as a peacekeeper in Kosovo until recently. The loser said he was simply too punch drunk to fend off checkmate.

  • DNA India: Play chess, get a bloody nose
    Whenever Andy ‘The Rock’ Costello moves his pawn to e4, he is also careful about not getting knocked out by a left hook or a vicious upper cut. For the uninitiated, Costello plays chessboxing, a sport which he terms as “as the ultimate combination of brawn and brain.”

  • Escapist Magazine: World Chess Boxing Champion Crowned
    Nikolai "The President" Sazhin has been declared the World Champion of chess boxing, beating the crap out of his opponent before putting him down for the count with a fifth-round checkmate. Sazhin, a 19-year-old prodigy widely regarded as Russia's most promising chess boxer, holds a record of 49-13-0 along with an Elo rating of 1911, while his opponent, 37-year-old German policeman "Anti Terror" Frank Stoldt boasts an Elo rating of 1960 but came into the match with less experience in the ring, having only 25 fights under his belt. "I took a lot of body blows in the fourth round and that affected my concentration," said Stoldt, the former light heavyweight champion. "That's why I made a big mistake in the fifth round: I did not see him coming for my king."

  • RIA Novosti: Russian punches, thinks way to chess boxing world title
    Having enjoyed recent success in soccer, basketball and ice hockey, Russia is now also able to boast a world champion in the little-known sport of chess boxing. Russia's Nikolai Sazhin, a 19-year-old student from the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk, defeated light heavyweight defending champion Frank Stoldt, a 37-year-old policeman from Germany, during a bout in Berlin at the weekend to lift the world chess boxing title.

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