On Saturday night I won VIP tickets to chess boxing. As you do.
So armed with a complimentary champagne to stave off my horrible cold I watched my very first match.
One round of chess, one round of boxing. I had arrived just in time to see an incredibly muscular young woman smack a girl twice her size right in the face. Hard.
Before the huge girl could even focus herself enough to retaliate, the bell rang and these burley women, in full boxing attire, took off their glove and sat down around chessboard that had been brought into the ring on a tiny table & started to play.
Two things struck me; one, this is the real life version of the story where a granny reframes a fight with a boxer by asking him to pick up a pin.
Two, this is symbolically showing the ever ongoing battle between creating good strategy against the onslaught of the day-to-day fight.
The round of chess finished and back on went the boxing glove and mouth guards. The chess table disappeared under the ring and they started to box again.
This feisty little one who turned out to be very aptly called ‘the pink machine’ won in that next boxing round.
Muscle over matter in that match.
The next bout (I am guessing that’s the right word?!?) was two huge guys, most definitely proper boxers, were completely useless at chess, but really good at beating each other up. The guy that one punched the lights out of the other guy after 2 rounds of chess on the second round of boxing.
This worried me slightly. I really didn’t want the chess to be a gimmick within a boxing match. For me this was a battle of strategy against brut force and my bias is quite obviously on the side of the strategy, if the chess was gimmick, then strategy would have lost the battle and I would go home feeling defeated.
We had a half time show of a Finnish girl hula hooping with 24 hoops. I had another gin and tonic and then there was a title bout.
We started with a round of chess. And my heart lifted, they were good. Very good. These two huge tattooed men were sending the chess commentator into a frenzy, he could hardly speak fast enough to catch up with them. My poor knowledge of chess definitely couldn’t keep up.
Then the bell was rung and the girl in her bikini wandered around the ring with the sign denoting round 2.
They were just as fast throwing punches at each other. One guy pulled slightly ahead, seemed ever so slightly more nimble. But it was close.
They sat down again and we got half way through the third round when the chess table went flying. The guy that had been behind in the boxing round had just won the fight!
I had another celebratory glass of champagne.
I was recently talking to a very good friend who was the marketing manager for a brand that came against a huge, but new competitor, who’s aim was to very deliberately engage my friends brand in a battle.
The were very open and very aggressive. For her they were the boxers.
What do you do when someone is trying to engage you in a battle you’re pretty sure you’re going to lose? Well she decided to hold strong to their original strategy and ignore their bullish tactics as overtly as they were making them.
The moral of the story is; it’s hard to focus on your core brand strategy when your nose is bloody and your eye is throbbing from a round of boxing. But it can be done. You can win by the chess.