What is Chessboxing on Twitch? Chessboxing, explained

The perfect sport to watch someone try to block a punch with their elbow.

Image via Ludwig on YouTube

A recent event has a seemingly new sport called chessboxing garnering millions of views. In reality, chessboxing has been around since the early 1970s, and Ludwig’s Twitch and YouTube event is only a glimpse at the history of this bizarre sport combination. It may also be the only time a chess player can be appropriately knocked out after referencing the en passant rule.

How does chessboxing work?

It isn’t too far of a stretch to guess what chessboxing entails, but it quite literally has both sports of chess and boxing played sequentially in rounds. The match is over once a player is knocked out on the map or locked in checkmate on the board. The hybrid of the two is intended to marry the synergy between mind and body fitness rather than only focusing on one or the other. The consistent shifts between a physical contact sport and a thinking game are to exemplify a more perfect athlete.

Image via Ludwig on YouTube

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As the rounds progress, both sides of the sport become far more difficult to manage. Even during pure martial arts competitions, such as seen in the UFC, latter rounds become dogged affairs of blood and sweat where exhaustion kicks in after adrenaline has long left. The inclusion of chess, when the opponents would otherwise rest, forces the mind to abandon the primal fight-or-flight instinct in favor of a tactical mindset.

How to start chessboxing

There are requirements to officially enter chessboxing, to keep participants safe and the sport contestable. You can’t simply be a phenomenal boxer and knock out your opponents, however: official Chess Boxing Global rules state that opponents must have a chess ELO rating minimum of 1,600. Similarly, a chess player cannot step into the ring and hope to win only on the board — a minimum of 50 amateur bouts within martial art must be recorded before their first chessboxing match. The success of Ludwig Ahgren’s event has some wondering if chessboxing will be the next big event of streamers on a global level or if it’s a mere glancing blow in the ever-shifting world of online streaming.