Chessboxing Hits Los Angeles
By Jennifer Shahade   
March 16, 2010
Photo  Gabor Ekecs
Chessboxing, the European breakout sport invented by a German artist, Iepe B.T. Rubingh finally has a bastion in the USA, the LA Chessboxing Club.  But LA Chessboxing club founder Andrew McGregor has a different slant on the sport. The LA Club, which is sanctioned by the World Chess Boxing Organization, requires fighters to wear headgear, reducing the chance of injury and allowing less experienced boxers to fight.

McGregor told CLO that European healthcare might make chessboxers there more comfortable with the enhanced risk of their fights.  By reducing the risk McGregor wants to open the sport up to more people, including women (who have never contested a chessboxing match before.) 

The first ever North-American chessboxing fight took place on Saturday, February 27 at the Fortune Gym in LA. Andrew, "The Fightin Philanthropist" fought Austria's David “King Kong” Pfeifer. Andrew is the less experienced fighter but the stronger chessplayer, so he aimed for a wide open game, while David tried to keep it closed. The chess skills prevailed in this case, as McGregor won by checkmate in the 5th round.

Photo  Gabor Ekecs

Andrew described his approach after the match, "It was entirely new for me because boxing is instinct, if you think you get hit, out of rhythm, and hurt. If you are fighting on instinct you do the best.

Photo Gabor Ekecs
Then, I was approaching chess in a similar manner.  For the first time I would move based on what 'felt' right and if the pieces looked beautiful with a healthy relationship between them. It wasn't about beating the man in the ring.  Violence like that is personal and selfish (I beat him/he beat me)."

 For more on the LA Chessboxing club, check out the official website and watch the video below:

Official Video of the Los Angeles Chessboxing Club from Andrew McGregor on Vimeo.

The LA Chess Boxing Club is currently planning its next charity chess boxing event, scheduled June 3rd. For more information, contact Andrew at [email protected].

McGregor is also the founder of a nonprofit, The Tiziano Project, which develops journalism in conflict, post-conflict and underreported regions.

The event on June 3rd will announce a partnership between the The Tiziano Project and, an online retailer that promotes socially responsible businesses and allows customers to donate 5 percent of their purchases to a list of approved charities.

For more on chessboxing, see the official World Chess Boxing website and
the latest chessbase chessboxing story.