I was perplexed to check out ESPN.com today and see that a sport called chessboxing was featured on the front page. You're got to be kidding, right? Leave it to the Europeans to come up with a ridiculous sport.
The rules of the "sport" are as follows:
Two competitors face each other in 11 alternating rounds, six of chess, five of boxing. A bout begins with chess, which is played on a board placed directly in the middle of the ring. Each round of chess lasts four minutes. After each chess round, the bell sounds, and workmen remove the chessboard for a two-minute round of boxing, the gloves go back on, the punching recommences. Participants win by way of knockout, checkmate, referee's decision, or if his opponent exceeds the allotted total of 12 minutes for an entire match on the chessboard.
I have to admit, as skeptical as I am of chessboxing, and as much as I am wondering if this is some sort of prank, the idea of watching some dude take out his chess frustrations out in the form of physical violence grows on you. "You just made me your bitch when you took out my queen, now I'm going to knock you unconscious!"
The amount of interest in these alternative sports is intriguing; just the other day, ESPN2 had a televised World Domino Tournament. Considering every player came from North America or the Caribbean, I wasn't exactly sure how the winners could claim to be the best of the world. The top prize was for a paltry $30,000 or so, which pales in comparison to the prize pools for televised poker tournaments, which fall into the same basic category of programming.
The games almost always draw spectators, so perhaps it is no surprise that the ESPN sports network has declared dominoes the next big spectator sport...
Domino matches "almost always" draw spectators? Sounds like a great reason to throw tons of money at a game few people play. Can't wait to see what the geniuses at ESPN throw at us next.