It was a unique sporting event, combining brain and brawn. Well, when Kolkata hosted the first National chess boxing championship recently it did evoke more questions about the exact nature of the competition. But after the Andhra Pradesh team emerged victorious, the sports fraternity realised that the discipline had already three world championships hosted in the last couple of years.

When Andhra Pradesh won nine gold, three silver and five bronze medals, it was a stunning display as the team was selected and trained by SAAP coach Omkar Yadav at his boxing hall at the Lal Bahadur Stadium.

What exactly is the sport about?

“Basically, each bout involves three rounds of chess (three and two-minute duration games, in which a player has to checkmate) and two rounds of boxing bout,” explained Omkar in a chat with The Hindu. If a player does not checkmate, the chess pieces will not be disturbed as the players will resume the battle in the next round.

Coaching camp

“Well, we took the help of AP Chess Association secretary Kanna Reddy to organise a coaching camp in chess for my boxers before the Kolkata Nationals, and it really worked well,” says the former national silver medallist.

Like many such events, this National does not have the patronage of the Government of India for obvious reasons. But, this did not deter Omkar as he managed to lead a 20-member team which returned with 17 medals in all.

“I tell you this is the sport which is bound to catch the imagination of spectators in the days to come. It not only sharpens the mind of the boxers to ensure higher level of focus but also is very spectator-friendly because chess is played in the boxing ring itself,” says the SAAP boxing coach.

With Dr. Pradhan, president of the Chess Boxing Organisation of Andhra Pradesh, taking a lot of interest, there is a serious drive now to see that boxers and chess players will take it up in a big way.

And the delight of these young competitors when they met Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy on Wednesday said it all – they are going to enjoy this novel sport for a long, long time to come.

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