Chessboxing is a new hybrid sport which combines the sports of chess and boxing. A match between two opponents consists of up to eleven alternating rounds of boxing and chess sessions, starting with a four-minutes chess round, followed by two minutes of boxing and so on.

Between rounds, there is a one-minute pause, during which competitors change their gear. The form of chess played is a "blitz game", in which competitors have a total of twelve minutes. The contest is decided by: checkmate, exceeding the time limit (chess round), retirement, KO or referee decision (boxing round).

The concept was envisioned in 1992 by the French film director and cartoonist Enki Bilal, and a match of chess boxing was a major plot point of his graphic novel Froid Equateur. Iepe Rubingh, 31, a Dutch performance artist inspired by Bilal's book, brought the concept to life, holding world and European championship fights, and building up the first chessboxing club, based in Berlin.

The sport is governed by the World Chess Boxing Organization (WCBO), whose motto is "Fighting is done in the ring and wars are waged on the board".

© Cyril Cavalié