Chessboxing

Chessboxing

In the ultimate conflation of brains and brawn, players alternately exchange punches and chess pieces at a gym in Hollywood. (LAT)

It’s fight night in Hollywood’s Fortune Gym, where pugilists are putting on the gloves … and getting out the chessboard? It’s a new sport called chessboxing, and Daved Pfeifer has flown in from Germany to face Andrew McGregor, founder of the Los Angeles Chessboxing Club — the first such club in North America. No, contestants don’t have to play chess in boxing gloves, but they do have to exchange pieces on the chessboard and punches in the ring for up to eleven rounds, or until the match is won by knockout or checkmate.

In this fast-moving Los Angeles Times video, McGregor, an enormous, 6’9″ chess champion, admits that his size gives him an advantage in the ring. However, the smaller man, Pfeifer, is a more skilled boxer, so the match is far from a foregone conclusion. The outcome may actually be determined by which fighter can calm down enough to concentrate on the chessboard.

Quick edits, a variety of camera angles and dynamic music build excitement as the men warm up. When the match begins, stop action photography and motion blurs emphasize speed as they pummel each other in the ring. But the sport is only partially violent. Men clad in boxing trunks and protective gear playing chess, while surrounded by cheering spectators in a gym, provides some truly nonsensical visuals.

CHANNEL: Los Angeles Times

Length: 3:00

Video by Carla Rinaldi and Don Kelsen

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