The world can be a strange place. That’s probably because humans inhabit it. And when humans gather to play, then it should not be surprising that they sometimes invent weird games.
Here are five games I bet you never heard of:
- Chess Boxing
Despite the fact that you may not have ever heard of them, each of these sports is popular and has amassed enthusiastic supporters. Each one of them actually combines two or more sports into one game.
For example, Chess Boxing (also known as chessboxing) is a combination of the intellectual board game of chess with the physical and brutal sport of boxing. Two players battle each other in alternating rounds of chess and boxing.
In 2003, inspired by a comic book, a Dutch performance artist named Jepe Rubingh developed the concept strictly as art. However, it wasn’t long before it actually was recognized as a competitive sport. It was initially popular in Germany, Great Britain, India, and Russia
To help promote his concept, Rubingh founded the World Chess Boxing Organization (WCBO) immediately after his first performance with the goal to establish Chess Boxing as a sport and to encourage the creation of Chess Boxing clubs worldwide. The district court of Berlin legally recognized it as a registered association in 2014.
The WCBO became the first official group to organize the Chess Boxing World Championships until the creation of Chess Boxing Global (CBG), which became the exclusive marketing agent for the sport in 2013. Currently, while CBG oversees the championships, the WCBO concentrates on the growth of the sport. Rubingh is currently the chairman of the organization and the artist who created the comic book that was the motivating force behind the sport, Enki Bilal, became its first honorary member.
Current member associations of the WCBO include:
- Chess Boxing Club Berlin (CBCB)
- Chess Boxing Organisation of India (CBOI)
- Chess Boxing Organisation of Iran (CBOIR)
- Italian Chess Boxing Federation (FISP)
- China Chessboxing (CBCN)
- USA Chessboxing
- Russian Chess Boxing Organisation (RCBO)
- Mexican Chess Boxing Organisation (MCBO)
London Chessboxing, which is not associated with the WCBO), was formed in 2008 to promote the sport in the United Kingdom. It holds regular training sessions with the Islington Boxing Club. The first event to take place in the UK was held at the Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club in Hackney on August 15, 2008. Other venues in the UK that has hosted Chess Boxing events include Chelsea Old Town Hall, The Grange Hotel in St Pauls, and the Royal Albert Hall in London. Events are currently being held in Scala, King’s Cross, London and York Hall.
The first European Chess Boxing Championship occurred in Berlin, Germany on October 1 2005 and in 2006 more than 800 fans attended the world championship fight at the Gloria Theatre in Cologne, where Frank Stoldt, a former member of the United Nation’s Peacekeeper Force in Kosovo and Afghanistan was crowned champion when his opponent resigned in chess in the seventh round. Stoldt went on to challenge American David Depto in Berlin in November 2007 for the first world championship title in the light heavyweight division. The event attracted more than 800 spectators to the Tape Club in Berlin, making it the biggest Chess Boxing title fight to that date. Stoldt defeated Depto in the seventh round.
In April 2008, the International Chess Federation (FIDE) recognized Chess Boxing and the organization’s president, Kirsan Hyumzhinov attended a demonstration match in Elista, Russia, which is the largest Buddhist city in Europe and a Mecca for chess fans that hosted the 33rd Chess Olympiad.
The sport grew worldwide and by 2009 the Los Angeles Chessboxing Club, the first ever established in the United States, and in 2010 the New York Chessboxing Club and the Boxwerk, in Munich were founded. In addition, championships were starting to be held worldwide. The first international match occurred in which a club from London challenged one from Berlin. The club from London won the contest.
Professional Chess Boxers competed for the first time at the 2013 World Championship in Moscow, organized by Chess Boxing Global. The event included three world championship events and attracted more than 1200 spectators.
A documentary film about Chess Boxing entitled Chess-Boxing: The King’s Discipline was released, which follows the development of the sport over three years. The sport has also been featured in the television series Elementary.
Items needed to compete in Chess Boxing include:
- Chess pieces and board
- A boxing ring
- Boxing Gloves
- Headphones worn during chess to prevent competitors from hearing advice from the audience.
Rules Of The Game
A Chess Boxing event includes 11 rounds –- six rounds of chess and five round of boxing that occurs in alternate rounds. Chess is played during rounds one, three, five, seven, nine, and 11. Rounds two, four, six, eight and 10 are for boxing. Each round lasts for three minutes. The period between the chess rounds and boxing rounds lasts one minute. The chess game is speed chess.
A competitor wins in regulation time if there is:
- A knockout
- A technical knockout
- An opponent exceeds his time limit
- Referee disqualification due to inactivity or overextending play
- Opponent quits
If no one wins during regulation time, then the chess game ends in a draw and the fighter ahead on points in boxing wins the match.
Professional Chess Boxing sanctioned by Chess Boxing Global recognizes weight classes. They include:
Men (17 years old and older)
- Lightweight – maximum 154.324-lbs. (70 kg)
- Middleweight – maximum 176.37-lbs. (80 kg)
- Light Heavyweight – maximum 198.416-lbs. (90 kg) and over
Women (17 years old and older)
- Lightweight – maximum 121.254-lbs. (55 kg)
- Middleweight – maximum 143.3-lbs (65 kg)
- Light heavyweight – maximum 165.347-lbs (75 kg)
- Heavyweight – maximum 165.347-lbs (75 kg) and over
Floorball resembles ice hockey. It is a team game played in a rink that includes five field players and a goalkeeper for each team. It includes three periods of 20-minutes each (or 15-minutes each for junior players). Time is stopped for penalties, goals, time-outs, and when the ball is not in play. The team with the most goals at the end of the game wins.
Created in the 1960s and ‘70s in Sweden, Floorball is most popular in countries where it has been played the longest. That includes the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland. It is growing in popularity in Australia, Canada, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia and the United States. By 2014, there were more than 300,133 registered Floorball players worldwide. Professional leagues worldwide include the Salibandyliga in Finland and Svensa Superligan in Sweden.
Founded in 1986, the International Floorball Federation (IFF) is the international governing body for the sport. The group hosts events including an annual Euro Floorball Cub for club teams and biennial World Floorball Championships with separate divisions for men and women.
The game first appeared in Canada in the early 20th Century and was played at high schools as a variation of hockey. Players from Sweden and Finland introduced it into the United States and it appeared in Michigan during the 1950s and ‘60s as part of physical education in primary and secondary schools. Interstate tournaments were held in the U.S. in the 1960s and became an organized international sport in the late 1970s in Gothenburg, Sweden. In 1994 students at Caltech began playing. Led by Adam Troy, a student at Caltech, many of the games enthusiasts lobbied to make the school the headquarters for a US Floorball association as a member branch of the IFF. The campaign was successful by 1998 when USA Floorball was founded.
It grew as a sport in the United States when Floorball clubs were organized in universities around the country. However, at the time there were no competitions between the schools.
Although the US did not field a team for the 2000 World Floorball Championships, Troy gathered American players from around the world including North Carolina, Massachusetts, New York, Texas, California, Sweden, Finland, Norway and Switzerland and formed a team that played in the 2001 World Floorball Championships.
That same year the United States Floorball Association (USFbA) was formed in North Carolina and was recognized by the states and federal government as the premier group for the organization of the sport in the US. As a result, USA Floorball moved to Raleigh, North Carolina.
In 2003, the women’s team of USA Floorball made its first appearance in the World Floorball Championships held in Switzerland and finished in 14th place.
In 2008, USA Floorball returned to California. Since the first appearance of the organization’s men’s and women’s team in the World Floorball Championships, it has held a number of camps and has appeared in several World Floorball Championships and has formed under-19-year-old men’s and Women’s teams.
Items needed to play the game include:
- A stick (maximum size 114 cm long and maximum weight 350 grams) made of carbon and composite materials with a blade designed for a left or right handed player (a player who is right-handed uses a “left” blade because he or she is holding the stick to the left. The opposite is the case for a left-handed player.).
- A pair of shorts
- A shirt
- Indoor sports shoes
- Shin guards
- Eye protection
- Protective padding
- Two goals (each 63-inches (160 cm) wide. 26-inches (65 cm) deep and 45-inches (115 cm) high.
- A plastic ball with tiny dimples to reduce air resistance and friction on the floor that weighs 23 grams (0.8 oz.) is 72 mm (2.8-inches) in diameter with 26 holes that are 10 mm (0.39-inches) in diameter. The ball has been clocked at a maximum speed of about 120 mph (200 km/h).
Rules Of The Game
Floorball is played on an indoor rink that resembles an ice hockey rink. It is about 59-ft to 66-ft (18 m to 20 m) wide and between 118-ft. and 131-ft (36 m to 40 m) long. Enclosed boards measuring 20-inches (50 cm) high with rounded corners surround the playing surface. Face-off dots appear on the centerline and a dot (or cross) appears on each end of the rink on the goal line imaginary extensions.
Two teams consisting of five field players and a goalkeeper each compete. The goalkeepers do not use a stick, but can use their hands to block the ball and throw it to their teammates as long as it touches the ground before the half court marker when they are within the goalkeeper’s box. When outside the box, goalkeepers are considered to be field players and are not permitted to touch the ball with their hands.
Shoulder-to-shoulder contact between players is permitted, but ice hockey-like checking and pushing a player without the ball or competing for a loose ball are not and may result in a two-minutes penalty. Physical contact between players is allowed only if it improves a player’s position in relation to the ball instead of removing a player from the play. In addition, players are forbidden to lift an opposing player’s stick or execute stick infractions to get to the ball, raise the stick, play the ball above the knee level, or place the stick between another player’s legs.
Play resumes after a player commits a foul or after the ball is ruled to be unplayable in a face-off (also called a free hit) between two opposing players where the ball was last ruled unplayable.
Two-minute penalties are called for:
- A hit
- Blocking a stick
- Lifting a stick
- Incorrect kick
- High kick
- Incorrect push
- Tackle or tripping
- Incorrect distance
- Lying play
- Incorrect substitution
- Too many players
- Repeated offenses
- Incorrect entering of the rink
- Incorrect equipment
- Improper length of the stock
- Incorrect numbering
- Play without the stick
- Non-removal of a broken stick
- Penalty during a penalty shot
A five-minute infraction is called for:
- A violent hit
- Dangerous play
- Repeated offenses
Personal fouls are called for unsportsmen-like conduct.
Combining elements of soccer, volleyball and gymnastics, Bossaball is a ball game played between two teams of four players each on an inflated court measuring 18-meters long and 14-meters wide. The court includes a volleyball-style net in the center and two trampolines, one on each side of the net.
A Belgian named Filip Eyckmans created the concept of Bossaball, but the game was developed in Spain between 2003 and 2005.
In the early 1990s, Eyckmans was the manager of several music bands. He visited Recife, Brazil with one of them and was enchanted to see people playing soccer and volleyball as well as enjoying music and dancing on the beach simultaneously. As he watched, the activities seemed to fuse together. The experience inspired him to create the game.
Later in the 90s, when the sport of volleyball and the use of trampolines were growing in popularity, Eyckmans acted upon his idea and started to conceptualize a game that combined soccer, volleyball and gymnastics with a party atmosphere of music and dancing that would be more than just serves and blocks.
The sport was officially introduced to the world in 2004 and has been picked up by a number of countries in Europe, Latin America and the Middle East. It took off in Belgium, Spain, the Netherlands, and Brazil. Currently, the Netherlands is the only country that has a major Bossaball league.
Items necessary for playing Bossaball include:
- The court
- A volleyball
Rules Of The Game
Each team of four players includes the attacker, who is positioned on the trampoline with the other players around him or her on the inflatable court. The ball is served when a player throws or kicks it into the air and then hits it over the net with the purpose of landing in the opposing team’s side of the court. The opposing team must use no more than five contacts on the ball to return it over the net. The contacts can be initiated using any body part.
Contacts or touches include a volley touch and a soccer touch. The volley touch is allowed once. Throwing or guiding the ball for more than 1 second is not permitted.
A soccer touch is when the player touches the ball with any part of his body except the hands or arms. A total of two soccer touches are allowed per volley. A double soccer touch (DST) is counted as one pass. Of the five maximum contacts, the soccer touch must be played at least once the second pass has been played.
During a rally, the ball is bounced around while the attacker jumps on the trampoline to gain height. An attack is when one of the attacker’s teammates launches the ball into the air where the attacker can hit (spike or kick) it back over the net. The opposing team tries to prevent the shot from getting onto their side of the court. Players can be positioned near the net and are permitted to jump and reach over the top of the net to block the shot. If the team is unable to block the attempt, then it can hit the ball around to each other. At this point the team is on offense and must get the ball across the net as described by the rules. The game continues in this manner until the ball touches the floor of the court within the scoring zones or a mistake occurs.
Three referees monitor the game in the same manner as volleyball referees. There is one main referee and two assistants. The main referee is positioned under the net on the playing area and focuses on the net. He or she is responsible for the final decisions. The two assistant referees stand at the opposite corners of the court. They keep track of the number of touches and rule if the ball is in or out of bounds.
A score occurs when the ball contacts the floor of the court within the playing boundaries. The team that launched the shot is awarded one point. The border around the trampoline is a free zone. The ball is allowed to bounce or roll there. However, when the ball is still on the bossawall, a point is awarded to the opposing team.
There are four ways of scoring. Scoring with a volley touch occurs when the ball hits the opponent’s playing area. One point is awarded to the opposing team. And when the ball is played directly into the opposing team’s trampoline area. In this case, 3 points are awarded to the opposing team. Scoring with a soccer touch occurs when the ball hits the opposing team’s playing area. Three points are awarded to the opposing team. When the ball is played directly into the opponent’s trampoline area the shooting team is given five points.
An official match is best of three sets. One set is won when a team collects 21 points and has a minimum of two points difference to the score of the opposing team. If the score is closer than two points, then play continues. The third set is played until a team scores 15 points with a minimum of two points greater than the other team.