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Chessboxing is coming to Norwich for the first time

Chessboxing is coming to Norwich. Picture Pawel Gawronski

Chessboxing is coming to Norwich. Picture Pawel Gawronski

Pawel Gawronski

Chess and boxing may not be two sports that usually share the same bill but a hybrid version of the games is coming to Norwich.

Chessboxing is coming to Norwich. Picture Pawel Gawronski Chessboxing is coming to Norwich. Picture Pawel Gawronski

Chessboxing allows fighters to roll with the punches in the ring before they leave the brawn behind and put their brains to the test at the chess board.

Until now the sport has only been seen in London but a Smallburgh farmer is bringing it out of the capital for the first time for a show at OPEN in the city on October 21.

Gavin Paterson, of London Chessboxing, is throwing down the gauntlet to encourage local fighters to take part in an event that will also help raise money for Norfolk-based education charity Yellobric, which delivers e-Learning to school children in Africa.

Along with the opportunity to learn a new sport, contestants will also have the chance to also appear on national TV with event screened by extreme sports channel Frontrunner.

But before would-be contestants reach for the gloves a free try-out session will be held at Norwich OPEN Gym on June 23.

Mr Paterson, who is also the founder of Yellobric, said: “Chessboxing is great fun and everyone should give it a try at least once. I went to a show in London back in 2009 and I’ve been hooked ever since.

“Those attending the try-out session will receive top-level tips and coaching and have a good chance of being selected and trained to compete in the event.”

London Chessboxing incorporated in 2015 and Mr Paterson came on board as finance director alongside founder Tim Woolgar.

Having started in Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club in front of friends and family, London Chessboxing now attracts crowds of up to 1,000 people.

Everyone aged 10 or above is welcome to attend the try-out session at OPEN and no previous experience is necessary.

All training from specialist boxing and chess coaches will be provided so people come out knowing the difference between a parry and a pawn.

Alex Walters, who runs the OPEN Gym, said: “Norwich has plenty of people with the necessary skills to enjoy Chessboxing but more than anything it’s about attitude and willingness to try something new.”

• For more information call OPEN box office on 01603 763111.

What is chess boxing?

The sport combines two of the world’s oldest games in which competitors challenge each other over 11 rounds of alternating chess and boxing.

After each round the position of the chess game is frozen and participants move into the ring for the next round before sitting down to continue the game.

Fighters may win by knockout in the ring, by checkmate in chess, by the judge’s decision or if the opponent exceeds the allocated time for the chess game.

The sport was invented in 2003 and promoters London Chessboxing have been running events in the capital since 2008. It is popular in a number of countries including Germany, Italy, Finland, Russia and India.

Training involves boxing fitness class combined with chess coaching.

One of the last events included the explosive “Brexit Belt”, where UKIP MEP Jonathan Arnott lost to Lib Dems activist Toby White.

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