Championship makes an unusual mix of chess and diving in the UK | World

With Europe suffering from an intense heat wave, what better way to cool off than to take a dip? And if one of your favorite past times is playing chess, why not combine the two? That’s what players competing at the World Diving Chess Championship in London, UK, did on Sunday (14).

The chess part is like regular chess, but played in a pool with a submerged board and magnetic pieces. Each player has to hold their breath while making their move. When they go up to catch their breath, it means it’s their opponent’s turn.

Chess player dives to move the board at the bottom of a swimming pool in an unusual championship in London – Photo: Reuters/Reproduction

Ten players participated in the championship held in the swimming pool of the Leonardo Royal hotel in London.

“I thought it would be easy, but it definitely isn’t,” said Zarein Dolab, one of the players.

“Trying to see the pieces and stay down there is a lot harder, especially if you’re playing a long game, doing 30/40 moves, and just going up and down is a marathon,” said Dolab.

Finalists hold a magnetic chess board used to play underwater – Photo: Reuters/Reproduction

After 4 rounds, the champion was the Polish Michal Mazurkiewicz, 33 years old, who beat the South African Alain Dekker.

Speaking of the skill involved, Mazurkiewicz said, “I think 60% is chess and 40% is other skills in swimming, like keeping your body in check, your pressure and your breathing.”

This unusual championship is a creation of the American Etan Ilfeld. The board game master, who now lives in England, started playing chess when he was 4 years old and participating in tournaments at the age of 10.

He came up with the idea of ​​diving into chess because, apparently, he thought it would be interesting to incorporate a physical element to make the game a little more funky.

Chess player dives to move the board at the bottom of a swimming pool in an unusual championship in London – Photo: Reuters/Reproduction

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