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.