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Brawn and pawns as Chessboxing comes to Brighton
Brawn and brains combined in a sport that was trialled in Brighton for the first time.
Chessboxing is billed by its enthusiasts as the ultimate test of mind and body as opponents alternate between three-minute rounds of boxing and chess.
Victory goes to whoever wins the boxing match or forces checkmate.
Fortunately the free taster session at The Stables Gym at Brighton Racecourse was merely an introduction, and although many games of chess were played, the pugilism stayed confined to the punch bags.
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The historic session came about after filmmaker Mike Laver, 23, recorded a documentary about the sport and was so captivated he decided to bring chessboxing to Brighton.
Mr Laver explained the appeal of fusing the two sports. “If you’re a boxer, it’s a chance to prove you’re smart, and if you’re a chess player, it’s a chance to show you’re tough.”
Chessboxing was first seen in a South London boxing club in 1978 but the craze started getting more well known in the mid 2000s.
Events are now staged worldwide.
The Brighton class was run by Tim Woolgar, 41, founder of the London Chessboxing Club and British Heavyweight Chessboxing Champion.
He said despite the combative nature of the sport the people involved get on well.
He said: “You get on with people who do chessboxing because they possess a refreshingly different outlook on life.”
Sam Duthie, 24, of the University of Sussex Chess Society, certainly enjoyed the experience.
“It was really good fun,” he said.
“It is a lot more physically intense than chess. I definitely have to come again.”
Mr Woolgar is planning regular chessboxing sessions at Stables Gym from early April.
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