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Intellectually pulverizing sport of Chessboxing rising in popularity (video)

While it has been around for years, the sport of Chessboxing which, appropriately, combines boxing with the game of chess, is beginning to take a foothold across the pond in Europe. Alternating over 11 rounds of competition — three minutes of boxing, then three minutes of competitors sitting over a chess board while wearing headphones so they cannot hear spectators hollering out suggested moves — the participants can win either by knockout or checkmate.

A CBS News report profiles two fighters, Andy “The Rock” Costello and Nikolai “The Siberian Express” Sazhin, who are on the forefront of Europe’s latest craze.

“I think the contrast of seeing two people playing chess and then hitting each other, either of them in isolation wouldn’t be comedic,” Costello said. “But when they’re alternated it is (pretty funny).”

However, he stated it isn’t funny when you’re the one fighting. Costello is a 6-foot, two-inch, 210-pound former cop. He was also a child chess prodigy who played for his English county at the age of 10. Chessboxing is the sport he’s been waiting for all his life.

“It’s more fun if you’re kind of doing the pounding,” he said. “But there’s no guarantee of that … The pounder undoubtedly has more fun than the poundee.”

The other fighter, Sazhin, is now a real estate agent in his native Siberia. He was on the Russian youth boxing team as a teenager. He’s been playing chess for 10 years.

As you can see in the above video, chessboxing is quite the spectacle. Yet, I wonder if the sport will ever catch on in America, given the rapidly dwindling popularity of the sweet science in the U.S., much less the relevance of chess. Instead, someone should come up with a peculiar combination of sport and game that appeals more to the average American citizen. For example, with attention to UFC on the rise and the rapid dumbing down pervasive in American culture, maybe MMA Tiddlywinks is more on par with the whims of the U.S. viewing audience. The thrill of combining squidgers and submission moves? Hoo boy. Or, another option: Wipeout Chutes and Ladders, maybe. Just throwing some ideas out there.