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2012 Championship match between the Corsairs (white) and the Legion (black)

Human Combat Chess is an individual combat team sport with with its roots in medieval warfare and tactics.  While descended from a feudal festival game of entertainment, the sport has undergaone many changes in the process of modernization.


The sport of Human Combat Chess has its roots in the Battle of Al Mansura, which occurred in 1250 AD during the seventh crusade.  Louis the IX, then King of France, was captured during the battle, and as such comparisons were drawn between the strategic layout of the battle and its similarities to the game of chess.  Festivals were held that re-enacted the battle for years, with mock battles and chess tournaments, but it was not until 1567 when the Doge of Venice published the first formalized rules of Human Combat Chess that the event became a unified competition.  These inaugural rules were henceforth referred to as the Venice Rules.



Two teams of 16 players each take the positions of chess pieces on a life-sized chess board.  The kings of each team verbally announce the moves of each piece, and the players in those positions then move to the designated square.  Play progresses according to standard chess rules until one piece moves to capture another.  At this point, the square becomes "contested" and the two pieces must duel for control of the square.  The board is cleared of all other players, and the two players fight as per the combat rules (see below).  Upon resolution of the fight, the winning player returns to the contested square and the losing player leaves the board, and play continues as normal.  This changes many fundamental elements of chess strategy, as it is possible for a player to successfully defend a square.  Play continues until either king is caught in checkmate or loses in individual combat.


When two pieces duel for control of a square, they do so with a selection of league-approved weapons from a variety of points throughout history.  Fighters aim to create the angle to land a "killing blow" (or otherwise fight-ending) with their weapon, and cease their attack before making contact that would result in greivous injury.  Combats can be won in two primary ways:

Yield - One fighter yields to the other.  This is most often the result of being placed in a highly disadvantageous position (disarmed, etc.), trapped in a submission hold, or in recognition of what would be a fight-ending blow from the weapon.

Marshal Stoppage - The on-board Marshal is in charge of the fighter's safety, and if at any point they deem one combatant no longer capable of continuing in the fight without suffering grevious injury, they will stop the fight and declare the victor.

There are less common ways for a bout to end, including:

Out of Bounds - If a combatant leaves the designated playing area and does not return within 5 seconds, they will forfeit the bout.

Failure to Follow Instructions - failure to adhere to the instructions of the Marshal in charge of the bout can result in forfeiture of the bout.

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