What is chessboxing? The sport loved by gaming YouTubers, explained

Image via Ludwig on YouTube

Chessboxing is, as the name suggests, a combination sport of chess and boxing. Designed to test the brains and brawn of each contestant, the sport is not for the faint-hearted.

Popular YouTuber Ludwig recently brought chessboxing into sharp focus when he announced he would be running a tournament. The Mogul Chessboxing Championship — held in L.A. before 10,000 baying fans — even broke his personal streaming record, with more than 500,000 people watching at home. That easily made it the most viewed chessboxing event of all time.

The rules are simple. Contestants play eleven alternate rounds of boxing and chess. Chess always comes first, with the board being moved into the center of the boxing ring. A player wins via checkmate, conventional knockout, or when the other guy or gal has simply had enough.

Anyone interested in the history of this soon-to-be well-known sport should check out By Rook or Left Hook – The Story of Chessboxing, described by some as Rocky meets The Queen’s Gambit.

Ludwig also invented two other versions of the sport during his stream: Smash Boxing, where contestants beat the heck out of one another in between bouts of Super Smash Bros. Then came slap-boxing, which is for those less willing to take full punches to the face, and saw Ludwig lose against fellow YouTuber CDawgVA.

And with modern chess games between the grandmasters often coming to blows anyway, perhaps the chessboxing phenomenon will continue to grow. The question is, when will Tyson Fury enter one of Ludwig’s contests?