Chess and Ultimate Fighting – An In-Depth Comparative Analysis, Insight and Perspective

When i hear announcers like Joe Rogan and Mike Goldberg compare ultimate fighting to chess, I think people are formulating different interpretations. Like all analogies, the more points you can find in common between the two subjects, the more fascinating the analogy becomes. For someone who knows very little about ultimate fighting and a lot about chess, they might think they have nothing in common because to them, chess is all about solving a complex problem through mental analysis alone and is far removed from the brute physical strength used in fighting. On the other hand, someone who knows nothing about chess and a lot about fighting might think that the seemingly passive, inactive nature of a chess player is far removed from the wild action in the ring.Revealed: Best employers in NZ and Australia | HRD New Zealand

For someone who knows a little about both subjects but is well versed in neither, there develops some interesting insights. This individual might see similarities between the two like: 1-The one who strikes first in fighting is equal to the one who captures the first piece 10-panel drug testing in chess, or 2-Being a slowly progressing, defensive style chess player is equal to being a counter-striker rather than a proactive striker in ultimate fighting. For someone like me who plays A lot of chess (I’m talking clubs, books, the whole nine yards) AND watches A lot of ultimate fighting on TV (I am not a fighter but I love to watch and learn), I see a much deeper, uncanny similarity between the two subjects. There are many I can go into. For this article I will emphasis three of them.

Similarity in Devices: First of all, in chess there are six different pieces. They are: King, Queen, Bishop, Knight, Rook and Pawn. In ultimate fighting there are approximately six different fighting styles. They are: Boxing, Wrestling, Karate, Judo, Jiu-jitsu and Muay Thai. Each of the six chess pieces has distinct ways in which they are allowed to move and operate on the board. Each of the six fighting styles has distinct ways in which they move in the arena. Deciding which style to employ at what time and in what combination, is at the heart of the strategy and tactics in both sports/games. This great similarity lies in the fact that in both ultimate fighting and chess you work to perfect your skill at the manipulation of approximately six main variables.

These six are not an exact one-to-one match up. There might be other fighting styles that exist as well as unusual chess moves, like castling or submission wrestling. This is a loose analogy emphasizing that in chess and in ultimate fighting there are roughly a half dozen or so tools a player has at his disposal to use in a given situation. In the same way that each of the six types of chess pieces have different restricted ways in which they are allowed to move, each of the six different fighting disciplines have a different and unique set of movements that one practices and employs.

Similarity in Dynamics: Another good example of how the two operate in similar way is that in chess one way you are able to take control of your opponents’ pieces is by employing a device called a pin, where one or more of your pieces prevents your opponent from being able to move one or more of their pieces. This control, having been secured by a pin, can allow you to manipulate a second or third piece freely into advantageous positions.

There are many examples of this tactic in ultimate fighting. In ultimate fighting, I have seen many times, fighters attempt to secure control over one of their opponents’ limbs for the main purpose of then being able to advance their hold onto to another limb or body part. For example, in half-guard the top man controls the effectiveness of one leg of his opponent. This puts him in better position to be able to transition to full-mount or take side-control of his opponent at which point the top man will then control the effectiveness of both his opponents’ legs.

Similarity in Rules: Another great similarity I dug up in this comparison is in the similar ways in which the match ends. In chess there are three natural conclusions to every game: checkmate, resignation or draw. In ultimate fighting there are also three possible conclusions: knock-out, submission or decision. The similarities here are strikingly obvious. A knock-out is like a checkmate because the winner ends the fight. A submission is like a resignation because the loser says, “I give up”. And a draw is like a decision because in both cases the entire match is played out with no clear and obvious winner.