Chessboxing Season Opener April 12 – Report
Matt “Crazy Arms” Read vs Gavin “Grievous Bodily Farmer” Paterson
Kicking off the event was a fight between debutant Gavin “Grievous Bodily Farmer” Paterson and veteran Matt “Crazy Arms” Read. Starting on the board, Paterson made a highly unorthodox Catalan opening with his g-pawn, seemingly putting Read off his stride immediately and the opening was relatively equal, despite the difference in experience.
In the next round, Read used his signature long jabs and Paterson took some punishment but avoided much due to his slippery movement and quick feet – when not chessboxing Paterson plays in midfield for his local football team.
Back on the board, Paterson’s solid opening came to a breaking point when he exchanged light-square bishops, leaving his King vulnerable. He then made things worse by exchanging queens and through miscalculation, giving up a Knight in the process. In the next round Read tried to dominate with his reach but Paterson, clearly the fitter man, was able to slip inside at will and punish his taller opponent.
Round five came and Read’s experience of the club chess circuit began to tell and by the bell had established a crushing advantage. Paterson faced an impossible task under severe time pressure with just seconds remaining on his clock. Determined not to surrender without a struggle he opened Round 6 in in blitzkrieg style and managed to corner Read several times but was not able to find the KO finish he required.
Result: Read won by time penalty in round 7
George “Huggy Bear” Crespo vs “Slick” Ricky Brown
The second bout of the evening was between Ecuadorian George “Huggy Bear” Crespo and “Slick” Ricky Brown from Yorkshire. Crespo, has fought in more than twice as many chessboxing bouts as Brown and also had a slight height advantage.
Once the bout got under way Crespo seemed paralysed by nerves as he allowed his opponent’s Queen to decimate his army almost single-handed. Both fighters displayed excellent boxing skills but Crespo was unable to turn the match around. The avalanche of falling pieces continued and Crespo could do undermine against Brown’s experienced ring craft. By the fifth round Crespo’s naked King was in a hopeless position and toppled his King to avoid further punishment.
Result: Brown won by submission in round 5
Richard “The Razor” Frazer vs Eduard “The Eagle” Lleshi
After an exciting interval show supplied by the abundantly talented Hula-artiste Lisa Lottie, the evening continued with Eduard “The Eagle” Lleshi from Albania, facing Richard “The Razor” Frazer from London.
This proved to be one the most exciting contests in chessboxing history, with both contestants showing amazing resilience and courage across 11 breath taking rounds.
Starting on the board, Lleshi moved his pawns into a defensive position on only the white squares turning his side into a game of draughts – an unusual opening. Frazer who had moved his pieces in perfect harmony, saw that the black squares were left undefended and aimed his attack at this weakness.
In the ring, despite this being Lleshi’s first chessboxing appearance, he turned out to be a fierce opponent for Frazer. Hitting out hard at the start of every boxing round Lleshi gained the upper hand. However, Frazer did not panic and switched the advantage around during the latter half of the rounds despite occasional vicious outbursts by his opponent.
On the board Frazer was clearly the better player. While trying to solve the puzzle as to how to move into an end game, he gradually picked off his opponents pieces. This weakened Lleshi’s position and his King got stuck in the middle of the board.
As the bout wore on Lleshi’s powerful outbursts took their toll and his energy started to slip. Frazer cut through Lleshi’s vigorous boxing style and used his reach to good effect.
Then Frazer manoeuvred his Queen and Rooks into position to mate his opponent but just as he was about to finish the game, Lleshi’s time ran out and the bout was settled by time penalty instead.
Result: Frazer won by time penalty in round 11
Tim “Hippo” Woolgar vs Toby “Slowby” White
After a cancellation by Nick “Showstopper” Cornish, Tim “Hippo” Woolgar offered to step into the ring to fight against debutant Toby “Slowby” White from Priddy in Somerset. White drew the White pieces (conveniently!) and opened with an orthodox King’s pawn advance. Woolgar responded with his favourite French defence. White made an early blunder enabling Woolgar to capture a central pawn and cut through White’s defences.
In the boxing it was Woolgar who was the most defensive and he allowed White to come forward with powerful, swinging punches. Using his considerable experience Woolgar moved White around the ring absorbing attacks with a resilient defence, only occasionally responding with a long right of his own off the back foot.
Back on the board, Woolgar managed to keep his cool and simplified the game, creating an outside passed pawn which White was powerless to block. White played for time forcing another round but leaving behind a hopeless position.
It was only a matter of time before Woolgar would produce a checkmate realising this White gave all his energy in the next boxing round and again, layered on the punches. Woolgar’s defence held solid and in the next round finished the game efficiently. A great display of boxing by White in his debut and a brave performance from chessboxing founder Woolgar.
Result: Woolgar won by check mate in round 5