Saturday, November 10, 2007

You heard it here first: Combat poker

An excerpt from

Andreas Dilschneider was still thinking about his opening moves on the chessboard when his opponent rushed up to him and punched him. Several times.

Mr. Dilschneider didn't complain. It was all perfectly legitimate. He threw a few punches of his own. When he got back to the chessboard, he was laboring and the adrenaline was pumping. He tried to keep calm and avoid hasty moves. Four minutes later, it was back into the boxing ring again.

Welcome to chessboxing, a young and intriguing sport that prides itself on its incongruous mix of muscle and mind, the pawn meets the brawn if you like. Think jab with your right, counter with your queen. The rules are simple: six rounds of speed chess interlaced with five three-minute rounds in the ring. Each competitor has 12 minutes in total on the chess timer. Victory is by knockout, checkmate or resignation, or failing any of those, by points-based scoring system.

It shouldn't take much imagination to see where I'm going with this: mixed martial arts poker. Now we can have the perfect way of exacting vengeance for that ugly suckout: a roundhouse kick to the cranium. Some nooge stacks you by calling your raise with a 10-3 offsuit? He's got a painful and prolonged joint lock coming right up. Moron calls down your A-K with bottom pair and a bad kicker? He'll get what's coming when you leap down on him feet-first from the turnbuckle.

A nice side benefit of this new sport will be that all the players who have gotten fat and out of shape by sitting way too many hours at poker tables will suddenly have an incentive to start working out. And the smokers among us? They haven't got a prayer. I'm only 5'7", 145 pounds, and not much of a fighter, but I'll take my chances in the ring against the average middle-aged, overweight, drunk tobacco fiend who coughs up a lung after a brisk walk to the restroom--especially on the adrenaline rush of the anticipation of punching out the lights of the doofus who catches a two-outer on the river to knock me out of a tournament. I'm convinced that people will start thinking differently about their starting hand selection while they're picking up their teeth from the mat.

I would explain in fuller detail my thoughts on exactly how this will work, but if you'll pardon me cutting it short, I think I need to go work out now.

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