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Boxing and chess combine in new sport; INTERNATIONAL GERMANY.

A new "sport" that combines boxing with chess is catching on in Germany.

Contestants combine time at the board with rounds in the ring and one recent bout drew an audience of more than 1,000.

"It's the No. 1 thinking game and the No.1 fighting game," said Iepe Rubingh, the sport's 32-year-old founder.

Rubingh's chess boxing comes complete with a custom-made electronic chessboard that lets spectators watch the action projected onto a pair of large ringside screens.

In 2003, some 800 people turned out in Amsterdam to watch an exhibition match between Rubingh and a friend. "It was a catastrophe. I lost my queen in the second round of chess," he said But the loss did not stop him from pursuing his dream.

The Dutchman returned to Berlin, where he has lived for a decade, and set out to find tough fighters who could also play a good game of chess.

Germany has emerged as a major boxing centre attracting top talent from Eastern Europe. Most of the world's top heavyweight fighters are natives of Russia and Ukraine, and many train in Hamburg.
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Jul 16, 2008
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