FIRST PERSON WITH:
Nikolaj Sazhin, math major, 19
Won world chess-boxing championship on July 5 in Berlin
In the emergent sport of chess-boxing, competitors alternate between 3-min. rounds of boxing and 4-min. rounds of speed chess, with 1-min. breaks in between to take the gloves off, etc. The winner is determined by knockout, checkmate or referee decision. Ada Calhoun spoke via translator with the 2008 World Champion Chessboxer, Russian math student Nikolaj Sazhin, 19, who won the light-heavyweight division in Berlin on July 5 after seizing his punch-drunk opponent's queen in the fifth round of chess:
How did you start chess-boxing? I found chess-boxing on the Internet. I started chess when I was 6. I'm boxing now for seven years and have something like 72 amateur boxing fights, so I thought this is the perfect combination for me.
What makes a good chess boxer? You have to be totally cooled down in chess coming out of the boxing round. The adrenaline is the problem.
The World Chess Boxing Organisation describes the sports combo on its website as being "sexy." Do you agree? I totally agree. I imagine that the girls like the boys who are doing it because they know that this guy is not only fit and in a fighting mode, but he's also in a thinking mode.
Which is tougher: the boxing or the chess? I didn't expect that my opponent, Frank "the Antiterror" Stoldt, would be such a good boxer. He really hit me sometimes very hard. I wasn't expecting that.