Your Royal Flush Beats My Rook, But My Left Jab Knocked Out Your Queen

9 May

May 9, 2011

Have you ever played Chessboxing? It has the intellectualism and strategy of chess but adds the strength and violence of boxing, which, quite frankly, chess sorely lacked.

From wikipedia:
A match consists of up to eleven alternating rounds of boxing and chess. The match begins with a four-minute chess round. This is followed by two minutes of boxing, with rounds of chess and boxing alternating until the end. There is a one minute break between rounds. Speed chess is used, a form in which each player has a total of only twelve minutes for the whole game.

Competitors may win by a knockout, achieving a checkmate, by the judges’ decision, or if their opponent’s twelve minutes of chess time is exceeded. If a competitor fails to make a move during the chess round, he is issued a warning and he must move within the next 10 seconds. Repeated warnings may result in a disqualification. The players put on headphones during the chess portion so that they do not hear any shouted assistance from the audience or the live chess commentary. If the chess game reaches a stalemate, the scores from the boxing rounds are used to determine the winner. If the boxing score is also a tie, the player with the black pieces wins.

It seems to me that the sport favors the boxer. The more you hurt your opponent in the ring the less likely he is to be able to think straight in the chess part of the match.

This is an actual sport and is governed by the WCBO, The World Chess Boxing Organization. Here is the dizzying description of an actual chessboxing match:

November 28, 2009 saw the light heavyweight world championship bout between chess boxers Nikolay “The Chairman” Sazhin and Leo “Granit” Kraft, at the Ivan Yargin Palace of Sport in Krasnoyarsk, Siberia, before a crowd of 2000. Sazhin, a native of Krasnoyarsk, had previous amateur boxing experience, having fought in 95 previous bouts (winning 85), and possessed a chess Elo rating of 2005; however, he had recently suffered an injury to his knee. His opponent, Kraft, was four years younger (at 17 years of age); he was born in Gomel, Belarus, but was representing the German Chess Boxing Organisation. Although younger, Kraft had fought in 50 amateur boxing fights (with a record of 45 wins), and had an Elo rating of 1997.

The fight opened with the Gruenfeld defense, and was followed by the first boxing round, which was largely dominated by the younger Kraft. The return to the chessboard in the third round saw Kraft castling early, and the resulting play saw Kraft having to defend his king. Sazhin continued in the subsequent boxing round, taking the upper hand in the fight. However, once they returned to the chess board, Sazhin used up too much time attacking Kraft’s king. Thus by round eight Sazhin was forced to win by knockout or lose on the board. This he failed to do, and, on returning to the chess board, Sazhin resigned the match.

This somehow manages to be more confusing to me than Double Cranko, immortalized in the MASH season 6 episode “Your Hit Parade.”

Double Cranko – a game made up by Hawkeye Pierce and B.J. Hunnicutt on the TV series M*A*S*H, combining checkers, chess, poker and gin rummy. A checker cannot be “kinged” (as in checkers) if it is “in check” (as in chess), and if a player has a gin hand, both players have to drink from the distillery in their tent, “the Swamp.” When Radar O’Reilly asks how to play, Hawkeye says, “Bishops are worth three jacks, checkers are wild, and you have to be 21 or over to open.” When Hawkeye plays Colonel Potter, he uses an apparently strange move, and the Colonel asks B.J., “Is that in the rules?” B.J. replies, “What rules?” Colonel Potter remarks (to himself) “I think I’m beginning to understand this game,” (as the realization dawns that perhaps the game is played for the financial benefit of the teacher, Hawkeye). Hawkeye then says, “I think you’re ready for Triple Cranko!”

When asked to play, Radar declines, saying “Whenever I lose, I always like to know why.”

Another confusing game that combined a board game with fictional rules and ended in violence was Star Trek’s fizzbin, from “A Piece of the Action,” starring Mr. Blog favorite Vic Taybak.”

The rules were intentionally very complex. Each player gets six cards, except for the player on the dealer’s right, who gets seven. The second card is turned up, except on Tuesdays. Kirk dealt the henchman two jacks, which are a “half-fizzbin.” When the henchman said he needs another jack, Kirk warned that a third jack is a “shralk” and is grounds for disqualification. With two jacks, one wants a king and a deuce, except at night, when one wants a queen and a four.

At this point, Kirk dealt a third jack, but to keep the ruse going, he ignored the disqualification rule he had just made up. He explained that, had a king been dealt instead of a jack, the player would get another card, except when it’s dark, in which case he’d have to give it back. The top hand is a “royal fizzbin,” but the odds of getting one are “astronomical”: when Kirk asked Spock what the odds are, Spock truthfully replied that he had never computed them.

Kirk called the last card a “kronk” and then purposely dealt a card such that it fell on the floor. As the henchman being taught reached down, Spock nerve-pinched him while Kirk and McCoy attacked the other guards, allowing the three to escape.

 I’m sticking to Monopoly. I’ve never been run over by the Reading Railroad.

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