Vitali Klitscho and the art of chess boxing

Deutsch: Das Bild zeigt die Sportart Schachbox...

I’ve always been skeptical to Vitali Klitschko as an opposition contender for the Ukrainian presidency, since it seemed odd to envision a champion boxer as the president. I’ve probably been biased by footage of Mohamed Ali slurring his speak or Mike Tyson’s erratic behavior. But a recent BBC Business Daily podcast has gone some way to changing my mind.

The podcast covered the apparently fast-growing sport of chess boxing. I’m not a stranger to the sport, having spent my 90’s listening to the GZA’s, of the Wu Tang Clan, fantastic album Liquid Swords. It’s an album that was recorded during months of the RZA, the Wu’s other-worldly producer (and, by the way, writer of a fantastic philosophy-light book – The Tao of Wu) and the GZA playing chess in a basement, and it is full of references to the “art of chess boxing”.

Chess boxing, as it sounds like, is the combination of chess and boxing – the most cerebral of sports married to the most violent of sports. The winner can defeat his opponent either by a check mate or by a knock-out, since the two sports are played in turns. Although I still believe that the knocks to the head during the boxing part would decrease mental performance during the chess part, I have to admire it as the clearest test of a person’s combined physical and mental prowess.

According to the podcast, Vitali Klitschko is actually interested in the sport and wants to bring it to Ukraine! This makes his candidacy for the presidency make much more sense. He just announced that he’s quitting boxing to focus on his candidacy. Here’s to hoping he doesn’t quit the chess part.

Photo: Wikipedia

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