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Thread: Boxing and chess? Good combination?

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    Default Boxing and chess? Good combination?

    Boxing and chess as two very similar sports. There are duels where you have to find gaps in the opponent.

    - It is the same idea. It has a game plan. It may threat to themselves and protecting and counterproductive. One should try to attract attacks and then finding exposes the opponent.

    I really like chess as well! can it have a connection somehow?
    Last edited by Xwetie; 03-07-2014 at 08:03 AM.

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    Default Re: Boxing and chess? Good combination?

    I like both games for the same reasons. There was even a few matchups somewhere involving a couple of minutes over a chessboard and another couple in the ring. Can't remember who, though. It's probably on youtube.

    On a sidenote, the chess rating system (Arpad Elo) would be quite applicable to rating boxers' performances: no big-name factor, just who you beat and how much he was worth at that time.

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    Default Re: Boxing and chess? Good combination?

    A former fighter- I forget which one, but I think it was Archie Moore- once said that great fighters play chess, good fighters play checkers.

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    Default Re: Boxing and chess? Good combination?

    Hi Joe, hey Xwetie. This reminds me of a really good thread here years back that saved to my computer:

    Thomas Tabin writes:

    "In boxing there are only so many possible outcomes to every action preformed in the ring. It is a closed system with rules that never change. There are a limited amount of punches that can be thrown and a limited amount of reactions that the opponent can respond back with. When I jab there are only so many things that my opponent can do in response. When I hook there are only so many things he can do in response. This makes him predictable. I can position him and set up him because Ii know everything he can do to me and by thinking several steps in front of him I can never be surprised. To demonstrate this thought process indicative of all strategic greats in boxing and beyond i will post an excerpt of grandmaster Alexander Kotov's thought process during the 1939 USSR championship


    "What do I do here? His king is badly placed, but I still have to exploit that. I have the d- and f-files, a strong knight at d4. Must hurry before he can slip away with the king to safety at b8. His last move was rook to e4 attacking the knight. Defend it by 25.Qf2? He'll go Rd8. No, then I go 26.Qf6+ winning. So he'll go Qg5 or Qe5 centralizing, and then what do I have?

    Wait a minute. What about 25.Nf5+? He has no choice, takes and I go Rxf5. Then he can't take rook--mate on d6 by the queen. But he doesn't have to take. What do I have after Qc6 or Qc7? A piece gone. What about 25.Rf5 instead? Well we are playing for mate, so a rook down wouldn't matter if it's sound.

    If his queen moves then Qg5+ with a powerful attack. Nor can he meet the rook sac by e5, since we go Qg5+ Kf8, Ne6+. So he has to take the rook and I take on f5 with knight, check. Then his king is drawn forward. But what if he doesn't take? Say Qd6; but then I win the queen by Rxf7+ Bxf7, Nf5+.

    So he definitely has to take, and then I must have something. An interesting position! So, 25. Rf5 exf5 26.Nxf5+ Kf6 (26...Ke6 makes no difference) 27.Rd6+. Two lines. Takes the knight or rook blocks. If 27...Re6 the win is easy: 28.Qg7+ Kxf5 29.Bc2+ and now 29.Kf4 20.Qg3 mate, or 29.Re4 Qf6+ Kg4 31.Bd1+ and mate next move.

    So there remains 27. Kxf5. Then what did I see? Oh yes! 28.Qf3+ Rf4 (28.Kg5 and white wins simply, 29.Qf6+ Kh5 30.Bd1+ Rg4 31.Qh6 mate) 29.Qh5+ Ke4 30.Bc2+ Ke3. Can he really get away safe from there? No, there's 31 Rd3+ and wherever he goes 32. Rd2+ and mate by 33.Qe2. It's all there. Just check once more. How do I stand on the clock? Ten minutes left. I'll check again. After all it's a forced win, so time trouble won't matter too much."

    This is called a tree of analysis. essentially this is the process of "If I do this, he does that, when he does that, I do this, then he will do that, so I will do this" one cannot call himself a good boxer until he understands this process at least partially. It is actually simpler than you may think; you just must memorize every punch exchange in boxing, one for orthodox fighting and one for southpaw. There are not many and even less when fighting a southpaw if you take the time to analyze it all. My advice is learn your boxing. How can you ever be good if you never total understanding of the things happening around you, finding yourself confused and incapable when met with things you don’t know how to deal with?"


    Joe (greynotsoold) replies:

    "I read once that good boxers play checkers, great ones play chess...

    You are new to this, but never let your brain be inactive. Early on, all those hands flying around can be a bit unsettling, as every time you get set to do something a glove bounces off your head and when you become aware of an opening it is gone before you can punch at it. When you get a lull, you fire punches anywhere, not caring if they land but glad to have a chance to fire back. You can stay out of range and avoid his punches but you can't hit him either, and to go inside means getting hit, etc...
    Practice is where it all begins and ends, doing the same basic moves over and over until they are ingrained in your muscle memory, and at the same time you are training your mind.

    Start with shadow boxing, in front of a mirror. Imagine a real opponent throwing real punches, avoid them and counter them and do it full on like in the ring, with movement, bobbing weaving, punches slips and parries. You are not only able to see and correct your technical mistakes but you are teaching your boxing brain to evaluate and react to situations: "I want to stay outside on his guy, use my jab, and look to walk him into a right. He's looking to drop his right over my jab, if he can, but he's really wanting to get close and work his left hook." Now you have an objective, an idea of traps along the way, and your opponent's goal and now you need to set to set taps for him, and so on.

    This carries over to your bag work. If you just stand there and punch the heavy bag that's how you'll fight. You have to practice moving in and out, footwork, positioning yourself to land a particular punch or combination, all the while being aware of his intent to hit you. So you begin be slipping his jab, stepping in with a right under the heart, weave out with a hook to the belly and straighten up to land a right hook over his left shoulder, and then you can step safely out of range or throw a hook, etc... The key thing is to always have a scenario in mind and to do it like its real.

    Sparring as often as is possible is the most vital thing; spar daily, with any and every one, just spar. At first you'll be dismayed at your inability to land a decent punch and at how often you get hit, but keep sparring especially with people better than you as you can learn by watching and certainly by being on the defensive for lengths of time against somebody that can throw combinations. Pretty soon you'll realize that half the hands in the air have nothing to do with you and can be ignored, and you won't have to think "catch this jab or parry it?", "block his hook or duck under?" because it will be second nature to you. It is now that you begin working on landing your punches, as you have no fear of moving into punching range as you can avoid or deflect or block the majority of punches. All the hours of envisioning counterpunches will pay off; you'll have trained your body to parry to the outside of the jab while hooking to the chin, for example.

    Now you can really begin to strategize in the ring; hours in the mirror have taught you that a feint this way makes you look open for a right, so you can anticipate his reaction. Your body will be instinctively protecting itself and taking counterpunching opportunities, so your mind is free to think and to analyze.

    For all my long-windedness, it’s just time and practice and training your mind like you train your body."


    So as a fighter, you must thoroughly study all the responses, then learn to limit your opponent's options, and finally manipulate them to bring about lapses in their defense as well as opportunities to safely counter them.
    If you hear a voice within you saying that I am not a painter, then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.

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    Default Re: Boxing and chess? Good combination?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zelley

    Another slipping training move -
    Be tricky - block the jab, block the jab then slip to the left, then slip to the right
    Then mix it up block, block, block, slip (hours of fun can be had by one and all
    with all the thousands of combinations of defensive moves)
    Thomas writes,

    What you are describing here is what I call an "element of randomness" glad to see this brought up. Throughout my experiences with boxing I had always attempted to rationalize it as a perfectly deterministic system, that is to say, all reactions are known and can be predicted with absolute certainty. imagine the look on my face when I found out how wrong I was! Something like this I think it was

    You see I was under the false assumption that -- according to game theory -- boxing was a zero sum game with perfect information. let me just say now while I am on the subject it would be wise for you all to read up a bit on game theory which is a branch of mathematics that focuses on strategy. Always a good idea to become familiar with the works that have been published on the subject of strategy. Anyway back to my point, while it is true that boxing is a zero sum game (one can only win by "dealing damage" to his opponent), it can’t quite be considered a game with perfect information (all moves are known to both players as they happen: Chess, tic-tac-toe). this is because things happen so quickly one cannot possibly, say, jab his opponent, wait to see what his reaction is, stop, digest the information, then figure out what to do next. Things move to fast in boxing to go through this process. When I actually jab my opponent he has several possible reactions at his disposal that he can choose from: he can slip to either side, counter jab, parry, etc etc. all of which I am not in actual control over. that is to say, if I want him to counter my jab with a straight right, so I can in turn counter his straight right with my own straight right to his solar plexus as his body turns to punch, I can’t actually make him react this way. That option is up to him and if he doesn’t choose it, my counter punch doesn’t land.

    I was pretty upset upon the discovery of this. After all it completely flew in the face of what my concept of boxing strategy had been up to that point. Was boxing really just some random punch fest I had no actual control over? This whole time I had been trying to explain the world of boxing, bringing reason into a seemingly chaotic system only few men have ever figured out. It all seemed to be slipping away. But just as it is with everything else in life, you eventually learn from your mistakes. You see this finding eventually made me realize that in boxing, one must systematically limit the "element of randomness" that is your opponent. This is the key to landing punches. it is true you cannot make him react the way you want him to every time with absolute certainty but you can limit his options. By this I mean, when I jab he has several choices to react back with, but by showing him advantage and disadvantage I can manipulate what reactions he chooses ever so indirectly. If I leave my parry hand off of my face the chances increase that he will attempt a counter jab in response (advantage). If counter his straight right with my own straight right to his solar plexus he no longer will throw his straight right (disadvantage) and he is forced to choose a different reaction. This process continues until my opponent is so limited in what he can do that he becomes almost absolutely predictable. You see by doing these things I can indirectly influence what I want him to do. Understanding things in this manner, my opponent can only do to me, only that which I allow and he is random no more.
    If you hear a voice within you saying that I am not a painter, then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.

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    Default Re: Boxing and chess? Good combination?

    The revelation of strategy

    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas Tabin
    mostly i would learn from every tape and every silent film i saw and not from any one boxer. the mystery of the sport is hidden inside every bout you see from leonard, dorin to barney ross. you must look closely.

    but i am reminded now of the time when as a boy i met the profoundest chess player that there was around my way. whenever i would play him he would violently tear me to shreds with an ominous kind of calm that i had only seen at the end of old west shoot out movies. he was sharp. even in times that i had captured more of his material and was (at least i assumed so) in the seat of power - maybe a rook here, a few pawns there, perhaps even his queen - he would out of nowhere swoop down like a deadly hawk and defeat me every time without fail. for a while i used to think he was some kinda cheat -- i mean how does he suddenly beat me as easy as he does even when i would seem to be ahead -- but the man was no cheat, he was simply that sharp. i only played him a few times and never saw him after those bombardments but the questions of how he did this to me would spin around in my mind for years. i would later come to find that in truth every move that i would make was not made by me but instead by him. yes i would take my bishops or whatever and move them around myself but only ever because he would draw me out to do so. he would leave open say a rook for me to take from him (and i would like a dummy) or put a bishop in the line of my queen to make me move around my pawns in front to make her safe (and i would like a dummy) and by way of this he would deliberately manipulate my distribution of material to ultimately make a defensive lapse for that one final blow. every move i made was shepherded by his invisible hand and he would walk me into invisible traps i had no idea were even there. this lesson i would translate to boxing but also for the many other facets of life. because truly life is like boxing and boxing is truly like chess. this i think is the real prize to take from the sport, not the fame or money, but the revelation of strategy.
    Point and Counterpoint
    Quote Originally Posted by greynotsoold
    Boxing is a game of point and counterpoint- move for move like a chess match. All great fighters are great counterpunchers, even those that seem to be always going forward and pressing the action. There are a few reasons for this, chief among them that it is very hard to hit and hurt a guy that is defensive and looking not to be hit and hurt. It is also difficult to walk straight to somebody, through his hands and their abilities, while it can be comparatively easy once the avenue is opened.
    Take Tyson at his peak as an example; the book on him was to jab and move, keep him on the outside. That would have been suicidal as there is one thing a very short heavy learns and learns well its to slip a jab. Coupled with Tyson's speed of foot and the way he cut the ring and punched he'd have walked through the jab. Holyfield fought him perfectly (?!!!!) by offering a jab and then landing a hook, uppercut or right as tyson tried to come in, and then tying up. Tyson began to wait out there and got picked apart. His error was in not anticipating the second punch- the one that would land-and making provisions for avoiding it.
    So the whole point of this is to toss around ideas on how you would make somebody react as you would want them to react. Suppose you are trying to get inside a tall jabber or a mover, or away from a slugger. If one of them is a 6'3" heavywt with a 78" reach, good jab, right, doesn't fight much inside (holds and slaps) or work the body, moves pretty good but isn't Ali. The other guy is 6'1" and about 212 (17lbs lighter than the first guy) a good boxer and sharp puncher, fights equally well inside and out, moves well a good all around fighter. Call it Sharkey v. Pinklon Thomas
    If you hear a voice within you saying that I am not a painter, then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.

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    Default Re: Boxing and chess? Good combination?

    This is really interesting, hard to catch up with the numbers on the chessboard though!

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