A bizarre sport billed as the ultimate battle of brain and brawn is coming to a Norfolk farm - as it hosts the "first-ever" chessboxing festival.

The unlikely combination of chess and boxing is expected to draw a rowdy crowd to the Worstead Estate, near North Walsham, for Chox Con 24 on July 5 and 6.

The sport celebrated its 20th anniversary last year, but this is believed to be the first chessboxing festival, and the first event held on a farm.

Opponents will enter the ring for alternate rounds of speed chess and boxing - with the board game becoming increasingly mentally challenging as the physical battle takes its toll. The winner is decided by checkmate or knockout.

Eastern Daily Press: Norfolk farmer Gavin Paterson (left) pictured during a chessboxing bout in 2014Norfolk farmer Gavin Paterson (left) pictured during a chessboxing bout in 2014 (Image: Chessboxing Nation)

Farmer Gavin Paterson, whose family runs the 2,000-acre estate, fought his first chessboxing bout in 2014 after adding pugilism skills to his chess game.

Now, he is involved in running promotion company Chessboxing Nation, which is hosting Chox Con 24 alongside Wildcraft Brewery, also based on the estate.

"This is the first chessboxing festival ever," he said.

"It is more than just a sport - it is a performance. All our fighters are coached how to create a persona, and how to interact with the crowd.

"I would say the atmosphere is a bit like the darts or the wrestling - it is very raucous.

"A lot of the fans really like to see good chess. But you need to be able to do both, and it is very hard to play chess if you are not performing well in the boxing.

"When you are boxing there is no soft-pedalling, it is a pure combat sport. We have medics on site and an experienced referee. The sport might seem quite happy-go-lucky, but we take safety very seriously."

Mr Paterson said talks are under way in the hope of attracting a chess Grand Master to fight at the festival.

Eastern Daily Press: The 'Berserker' whips the crowd into a frenzy during a chessboxing boutThe 'Berserker' whips the crowd into a frenzy during a chessboxing bout (Image: Pawel Gawronski)

And instead of an outdated "ring girl", he said chessboxing events use a "berserker" to announce the rounds and entertain the crowd - recalling a historic link between board games and combat.

It refers to the famed medieval Scandinavian chess set found on the Scottish island of Lewis which, instead of the rook or castle, featured berserkers - frenzied Viking troops who ran into battle almost naked, wearing only animal firs.

Mr Paterson said the festival was another alternative revenue stream for the diverse estate, which also hosts weddings, farmers' markets and beer festivals.

Chox Con 24 takes place at Church Farm, Smallburgh, on July 5 and 6. For more information and tickets see https://rb.gy/47sryl