A RUSSIAN man has been crowned world champion in the novelty sport of chess boxing, a game that requires equal skill at moving pawns and throwing punches.
Mathematics student Nikolai Sazhin, 19, competing under the name “The President” knocked out a 37-year-old German policeman Frank Stoldt, who served as a peacekeeper in Kosovo until recently.
The loser said he was simply too punch-drunk to fend off checkmate.
“I took a lot of body-blows in the fourth round and that affected my concentration. That’s why I made a big mistake in the fifth round: I did not see him coming for my king,” he said.
Berlin is home to the world’s biggest chess boxing club with some 40 members and it is in an old freight station here that the two men settled the matter early yesterday.
The match began over a chess board set up on a low table in the middle of a boxing ring.
Stripped to the waist, wearing towels around their shoulders and headphones playing the lulling sound of a moving train to drown out the baying crowd, the men played for four minutes.
Then off came their reading glasses and on went the gloves and the mouthguards.
For three minutes they beat each other and then, when the bell went, the chess board was back in the ring and they picked up the gentlemanly game where they had left off.
“This is the hard part, you are out of breath but you have to keep your wits about you,” said David Steppeler, a 33-year-old instructor at the local chess boxing club.
“It is especially hard for the one who has to play first. He can easily make a false move, and in chess this is fatal. So in training we toughen people by making them do push-ups between every two chess moves.”
A chess boxing match consists of six rounds of chess and five in the ring but it can also end suddenly in knockout or checkmate.
Alternatively one of the players can be disqualified for taking too long to make his move in the chess rounds or breaking the boxing rules.
The weekend saw two matches apart from the world title bout and some of the competitors might have felt equally at home in a MENSA club meeting. One had a doctorate in biochemistry, another held a degree in political science and two were teachers.
The best in the world of chess boxing score somewhere between 1700 and 2000 points on the ELO chess rating system – putting them on a par with those who perform well in the sport at club level.
Perhaps fittingly, the sport had its beginnings in a comic strip by the French author Enki Bilal, titled Equator Cold that hit shelves in 1992.
The last work in Bilal’s The Nikipol Trilogy features a blood-stained chess boxing battle set in an apocalyptic city in 2034.
In 2003, the young Dutch artist Iepe Rubingh decided to bring it all to life, but with less brutality, and organised the first match.
“But the way we do it is not as dark as it was in the comic strip. For me the thing is to channel your violence, to control it. Hence the marriage between boxing and chess,” said Rubingh, who is the president of the international federation of chess boxing.
Top this for a speeding Ticket!
Two British traffic patrol officers from North Berwick, east of Edinburgh, were involved in an unusual incident, while checking for speeding motorists on the A1 Great North Road.
One of the officers (who are not named) used a hand-held radar device to check the speed of a vehicle approaching over the crest of a hill, and was surprised when the speed was recorded at over 300mph.
The machine then stopped working and the officers were not able to reset it.
The radar had in fact locked on to a NATO Tornado fighter jet over the North Sea, which was engaged in a low-flying exercise over the Borders district.
Back at police headquarters the chief constable fired off a stiff complaint to the RAF Liaison office.
Back came the reply in true laconic RAF style. “Thank you for your message, which allows us to complete the file on this incident. You may be interested to know that the tactical computer in the Tornado had automatically locked on to your ‘hostile radar equipment’ and sent a jamming signal back to it. Furthermore, the Sidewinder air-to-ground missiles aboard the fully-armed aircraft had also locked on to the target. Fortunately the Dutch pilot flying the Tornado responded to the missile status alert intelligently and was able to override the automatic protection system before the missile was launched.”
A last drink proved one too many for a 78-year-old Swede who fell asleep while trying to row home – from Denmark.
Reports say the man had been drinking in the Danish town of Helsingor but found he did not have enough money for the ferry home to Sweden.
Instead of waiting until morning, he stole a dinghy and tried to row the 5km (three miles) across the Oresund Strait to Helsingborg, police said.
But he fell asleep half-way and drifted until he was rescued by the coastguard.
The man, who has not been named, was found still asleep in the bottom of the boat, and towed back across the strait – a busy shipping lane – to Denmark.
He was put on the next ferry home after he had sobered up, writes the Danish news service Ritzau.
Police said the owner of the dinghy had decided not to press charges, Reuters reports.
Bros could become the latest boy band to reform and go on tour, singer Matt Goss has revealed.
Goss, together with twin brother Luke, on drums, and bassist Craig Logan, enjoyed huge success in the late 1980s with hits including I Owe You Nothing.
“If we can make the numbers work and the venues work, then we’re all up for it,” said Goss, now 39.
He was speaking at the film premiere of his twin brother’s latest film Hellboy II: The Golden Army.
“Being in a band is like being a politician, you’ve got to make sure everyone is happy,” Goss said.
“But Luke, Craig and definitely myself – we’re all up for it.”
Bros had 11 hit singles, including When Will I Be Famous? and Cat Among Pigeons, and three top 20 albums in the UK.
“I had the best time,” he said.
“I think everyone that went to see Bros gigs had the best time and that’s the one reason we all agreed it’d be a good laugh if we did it.”
He said he thought the band would still have the support of the original “Brosettes”.
“They’re still pretty insane,” he added.
“They weren’t too cool for the room – they knew how to have a good time. That’s the way I feel.”
Logan, who went on to become managing director of Sony BMG-owned RCA Records, left the band in 1989.
Bros came to an end in 1992.
Matt Goss is still recording music as a solo artist while Luke Goss has acted in a number of stage shows and US films.
PLEASE NO!!!! BROS WERE RUBBISH!
Download the map:
Map and Video created by Maggu,
Homer model by sneakyPete,
Homi model by DanT,
Mr. Burns model by Alcor,
Quake 3 Arena by ID Software,
and the Simpsons by Matt Groening and a lot of koreans.
Punkversion of the simpsons theme by Green Day.
Police are investigating a crash in which a £30,000 SUV ended up parked on top of two other cars, one of them a Porsche sports car worth up to £45,000.
It happened at about 1700 BST in the car park of the Co-Op supermarket on Belfast’s Lisburn Road.
The vehicle, an automatic Lexus, drove over the Porsche and a Toyota Celica, which were parked directly in front.
The Porsche Boxster was damaged on its wing and bonnet, while the Toyota Celica was crushed.
One person, believed to be the Porsche driver, was taken to hospital.
His injuries are not believed to be life-threatening.
The BBC spoke to the driver of the Toyota, but he said he was “not in the mood to give interviews”.
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