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Chess Boxing Training - Part 2

Right out of the gate, adversity struck. The bike wreck forced me to focus on chess for the first week, which was desperately needed. After my first session with Coach Carlos Perdomo, it was clear I was not as far along as I thought I was. In fact, I wasn’t even close to the rating that I signed up for the World Championship with - I had work to do.

Carlos told me to focus my chess training first on puzzles and tactics. That meant I wasn’t even going to be playing games. This made me a little nervous. As I started learning tactics through puzzles, I started recognizing patterns more quickly, and I understood why I needed to start with this skill development before playing a bunch of games. Carlos was building a sturdy foundation for me.

Next, I started using those tactics in blitz games. Since I’ll be competing in the Amateur World Championships, the 5 minute blitz time controls most closely imitate the type of chess I’ll be playing in Chess-Boxing. Here is the breakdown:

Round 1: Chess - 3 minutes

1 Minute Break to Glove Up

Round 2: Boxing - 3 minutes

1 Minute Break to Remove Gloves

Round 3: Chess - 3 minutes

1 Minute Break to Glove Up

Round 4: Boxing - 3 Minutes

1 Minute Break to Remove Gloves

Round 5: Chess - 3 minutes

With the three chess rounds of 3 minutes each, that means we have 9 minutes on the board between us to play our games. As a result, each of us has 4.5 minutes on our clocks to play our half of the game. If either of us runs out of time, then it’s checkmate and the match is over.

If neither run out of time, then it comes down to how we perform on the board and in the ring. Checkmate or knockout wins, but in the case of a draw on the chess board, it comes down to how many punches were landed in the ring. My strategy is to move quickly, safely and win my matches in the ring. If I don’t knock out my opponent, I will at least make them think slower on the board and make mistakes or lose on time.

With the strategy set, Carlos laid out the rest of my training regimen, and I started strength and conditioning training with Brawl Veteran and Diabetes Strength Founder, Jon Kolowich. He tailored workouts to prepared for the high intensity intervals I’d be taking on, and his workouts kicked my butt. For 1 minute reels of those workouts, check out @MattThomas_Fit on Instagram!

With my chess tactics coming together, and my leg strength and endurance progressing, I felt confident about my start to training and ready to take it to the next level, which would become my biggest challenge of the whole training experience…


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