'Chess Boxing' Might Enhance Creativity


Finally, someone found a reason to combine strategic board games and cage fighting. Apparently, going back and forth between knockouts and checkmates works opposing brain functions, says Graham Button, partner at Genesis Inc. and 25-year advertising veteran. Chess Boxing, says Button, is just the thing to get our creative juices flowing. Creativity, a top priority of over 1,600 CEOs nationwide, is a “two sided coin,” he says. “Heads is association--what happens when you open your mind to lots of different influences, [and] Tails is the emotional opposite—incubation… when you close your mind and focus.” When we work both of these functions, we get in the “zone” quicker and can stay there. This is pretty revolutionary considering we all have ADD thanks to the evil Internet. But all hyperbole aside, Button believes the grand web-o-sphere is part of the reason we find ourselves struggling to get ideas from our brains onto paper. We are more than able to associate. Going online gives us ample opportunity to open up to millions of associations. With this influx information, however, we now “have to fight for the time to incubate,” Button says,  meaning we have to fight to focus.

Having limitless association is great, but without giving ourselves time to focus, we’re a generation of book titles, and no books, running shoes, and no running. Our adapted screenplays are abandoned before the hero realizes his family was the real treasure all along. It sounds (and looks) crazy, but since Button has been in the advertising business longer than I’ve been breathing, I’m inclined to believe that this back and forth, on-two-checkmate idea might work. Even if it doesn’t, I can’t say I wouldn’t try it for kicks.

Watch a round from the 2008 German Chess Boxing Championships:

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