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Chessboxing, an original discipline that "is not just body and mind"


This Saturday, chessboxing moves to Paris for the second edition of the Intellectual Fight Club. This sport, born almost 20 years ago but still little known in France, nevertheless has great ambitions.

Between 600 and 700 people are expected this Saturday at the Cabaret Sauvage in Paris for the

Intellectual Fight Club 2


It's great

, says Guillaume Salançon, president of the French chessboxing federation.

We are very happy.

After a first edition in 2019, the IFC had to wait three years - Covid obliges - to return to France.

Eight chessboxing fights are on the program.

A sport invented by two artists, (

Enki Bilal

and Iepe Rubringh) to find the perfect sport

”, breathes Guillaume Salançon.

Chessboxing is above all an idea

, explains Carl Strugnell, chessboxer.

Even before its creation, it was an idea waiting to be discovered.

Like the United States.

They've always been there, just waiting to be discovered


Read alsoChessboxing: checkmate in a ring

“A meeting between two worlds”

Concretely, chessboxing, which has no term in French, mixes chess and boxing.

Eleven rounds in total, starting with chess and alternating between the two disciplines.

Each round lasts three minutes, with one minute of rest/preparation between two rounds.

Often described as the alliance of body and mind, chessboxing is much more.


To say

'it's the body and the mind'

is the first gateway to this sport.

But chessboxing is much more than that

”, proclaims loud and clear the president of the federation.

A doctrine that insupport Carl Strugnell, who competes this Saturday for the title of world champion in less than 85 kilos.

I hate when people say it's body and mind!



When I learn of the existence of this sport, I have the impression that it is the good Lord who has done everything for me to be its prophet.

Carl Strugnell

Biathlon is very similar to what we do, because there is a lot of physical effort and then a test of concentration

, comments Guillaume Salançon, business manager in everyday life.

Chessboxing is a big physical effort and then reflection.

The interest of chessboxing is to play chess under pressure, after having taken blows, with the heart which beats at 180.

An “


” sport, according to the 47-year-old leader, which is aimed at everyone.

This sport is above all a meeting between two worlds

, testifies the president of the FFC.

Chessboxers are first chess players or boxers, and then they make a considerable effort to know the other world.

The boxer has to get up on Sunday morning to be beaten by chess-loving eleven-year-olds.

And vice versa.

The chess player, frail and geeky, will train in boxing and take punches


Fighters from all walks of life come together in this sport.

The French team that I brought to the world championships was very heterogeneous

, adds Guillaume Salançon.

There were as many engineers as players from the suburbs or who did stupid things in their youth.

Some are masons, educators, temporary workers and they transcend themselves to be at the world championships.


We want to take boxing and chess out of their clichés.

We're gonna put on an amazing show

Guillaume Salançon

Atypical career paths as evidenced by Carl Strugnell, 41-year-old fighter.

I was living in Los Angeles when the sport was created and I had no more money

, explains the perfectly French-speaking Welshman.

I slept in my car and made my living playing chess in parks and betting on games.

I was obliged to take my shower in the local boxing club.

So when I learn about the existence of this sport, I have the impression that it is the good Lord who has done everything for me to be its prophet

, "smiles Carl Strugnell, presented as a legend of his sport. .

I am a demigod in the field!

I put all my ego into this sport so that in the rest of my life I'll be a nice guy.


Paul Ducher against Kévin Guedj in 2019. FFC

Four fights and two in-game titles

This Saturday, Carl Strugnell, who now lives in Serbia with his partner, will fight for Wales, because “

the flag has a mouthful


Four fights are scheduled at Cabaret Sauvage.

Two titles will be awarded during this evening.

A title of French champion in -80kg, followed by a crowning of world champion in -85kg.

We want to take boxing and chess out of their clichés.

We are going to put on an incredible show,

promises Guillaume Salançon.

We want a hypercalibrated, American-style show.

This IFC is very important, if we want to develop later.

On the program: sport of course, but also music and dance assures the French leader.

For his part, Carl Strugnell, who does not make the world title an obsession, has adapted his preparation for this fight against the 26-year-old Frenchman, Jules-Alois Julien.

For this fight, I abused caffeinated and energy drinks during my preparation

, blows the 41-year-old Welshman.

I smoked several cigarettes and went out to play chess under stress.

I was at the edge of the limits.

For boxing, on the other hand, I did a classic training.

“An evening that should bring many others, even if the leaders are dreaming big.

Goal Olympics

This second IFC should bring others and allow the sport to develop, to create a league and a ranking of fighters.

This sport, still little known in France, already has 15 federations in the world.

And he intends to develop at high speed. Chessboxing, which could soon arrive on the small screen, first wants to "

enter the sporting landscape, become an established sport, with a real league and a real audience

" explains Guillaume Salançon.

However, the one who has been president of the federation for three years is dreaming big.

Our goal is to go to the Olympic Games.

We want to be an Olympic sport.

If it's too late for 2024, 2032 is on your mind.

Source: lefigaro

All sports articles on 2022-09-30

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