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Meet India's First Professional Chessboxing Fight Contender in IFC- Sneha Waykar

by Tina Popli - 31/03/2024

In a world where sports persons dedicate countless hours to their favorite sport, and juggle with various responsibilities alongside - There exists a sport that flips the concept and offers a unique fusion: Chessboxing, combining two completely different sports together! With this sport actively growing we have Sneha Waykar from Mumbai who is in the verge of her first professional fight! Get to know when Sneha will make her debut at Intellectual Fight Club (IFC), who her opponent will be, how she is preparing, President of Chessboxing France - Guillaume Salançon's thoughts and a lot more. Photo: Fabiosal Moirago

First Women’s fight in IFC (Intellectual Fight Club)

Get ready to delve into a super adrenaline fueled match by the IFC!

Sneha Waykar | Photo: Fabiosal Moirago

This match will span for 11 rounds, the format alternates between a round of chess and a round of boxing. If one player achieves checkmate in the chess round, the match concludes immediately. However, if both players survive the chess round, they proceed to the boxing round. This pattern continues until a checkmate, timeout, three illegal moves, or a boxing knockout occurs. If a player manages to survive the initial three-minute chess round, they then transition to the boxing round. If they withstand the boxing round as well, the match resumes with the same chess game from the first round.

IFC 6 to be featured during Cultural Olympiad 2024

Guillaume Salançon - President of Chessboxing France welcomed both players:

“We're very proud to introduce to the world these two champions, whom we greatly respect, at this IFC.”

The match is between Sneha Waykar from India and Kenza Megzari from France. IFC 6 is now all set to take place on 23rd of July, in the mythical Olympia hall in Paris, as part of the Cultural Olympiad, a program set up by the Paris 2024 organization. Enki Bilal, the creator of Chessboxing, will stage the show, which will also feature the long-awaited Valentin vs Carl fight (Master - 85kg).

Kenza Megzari

Guillaume highlighted on both players:

"It's the first fight at this level, but above all it's the first women's fight in IFC (Intellectual Fight Club). One of the two champions will be awarded a title, a crown. Their category is Rookie (-1200 elo) and - 60 kg."

Not just this, this event will take place in front of 2500 people including the IOC and over 400 International journalists which will make this event as the greatest Chessboxing fight of all time!


“It's sure to be a hotly contested bout, even if Sneha is a slight favorite.” - Guillaume


Both players were typically chosen based on their performance in the World Championship.

Friends off the Grid

Guillaume also highlighted the fact that Kenza and Sneha are role models, both in France for Kenza and in India for Sneha. And they also want to show this image of both the champions, to the audience which can impact all generations and especially young women who might be interested in this sport which will be a fantastic showcase for women's international chessboxing!

"Kenza and Sneha are IFC fighters because they have what it takes. They are formidable fighters, with Sneha's advantage in boxing, but also very good future chess players. We've been following both of them for over two years for Kenza, and four for Sneha. And in view of their performance at the last world championships, we thought this would be the perfect fight to open up the IFC to women!" - Guillaume Salançon (President of Chessboxing France)

Guillaume also expressed that “Chessboxing can take on a whole new dimension thanks to this event”


Featuring this sport during the Olympics is definitely going to boost the popularity and take this to another level and eventually inspire others especially girls as they witness the performance - taking the sport to new heights!

Previously, Chess was also featured during the Sydney Olympics in the year 2000, it was between Vishy Anand and Alexei Shirov played as part of an exhibition event.

First Indian to play a professional Chessboxing fight

Sneha will be the first Indian to participate in such a professional fight which is not only a milestone for Sneha herself but also a reason for celebration across India. Her journey symbolizes the growing interest and potential for chessboxing within India and around the globe.


Also, It is worth noting that Sneha and her opponent - Kenza Megzari are going to be the first female fighters worldwide to compete in the IFC fight.


When asked about how the players feel:

"It feels extremely proud to represent our country. I will definitely give my best and make everyone proud. IFC has given a good platform to Chessboxers all around the world and I am sure people from France śete will enjoy my game. I will be playing in -55kg women for a title fight." - Sneha Waykar

Kenza shared some insights on being the part of first female chessboxing.

"Both boxing and chess are traditionally male-dominated sports. I’m incredibly proud to be part of the first female Chessboxing event alongside Sneha. While there have been some female fights in world championships, they’ve been in the minority compared to male fights. Our Olympic match marks the first outside of the world championships. I hope our fight will inspire more women to join us and demonstrate that women are just as strong as men." - Kenza Megzari

Sneha and Kenza during World Championship - last year in Italy

Sneha has also represented India, earning a Gold medal at the 2023 Asian ChessBoxing Championships and a Silver at the 2022 World Championships. Kenza secured third position in the World Championship of Chessboxing 2023 which clearly shows us how talented both of them are!

Sneha being awarded in Asian Chessboxing Championship

One can imagine the adrenaline rush a player faces during a given time span in the game of chess, but then imagine coming out of it and switching yourself into a boxer immediately - using your physical and mental strength at the same time, it is truly commendable!


Chess Boxing is experiencing an increase in popularity in recent times, with countries worldwide actively contributing to its growth and development.

“The future of Chess Boxing is very strong and I can see that it would be in the Olympics very soon.” - Sneha Waykar

It is also interesting to know that, Sneha is also a coding instructor!

The fighting spirit!

On this fight being showcased during olympics - Kenza shared:

"Personally, I’m thrilled, and I’m excited for Chessboxing as a whole. It’s a significant step forward for us, possibly leading to Chessboxing becoming an official Olympic sport one day. I believe in it, and we all do. It’s a very complete sport."

The intensity says it all!

How is their training going on?

Sneha being a coding instructor alongside and on managing both her commitments she shared:

"Before my tournaments we have training twice a day . That’s very challenging for me because I have to manage job along with the training."

Kenza shared on how she trains on both sports -

"I train with my Chessboxing club in Paris, focusing on technical boxing drills followed by Chessboxing sessions, alternating between sparring and chess games. I also attend other boxing classes to face different opponents and play chess online to sharpen my skills. Both disciplines have become addictive for me!"

What are Kenza's (Sneha's opponent) thoughts on Sneha?

"Sneha is a true warrior, and I have immense respect for her. I’m proud to have shared my first fight with her at the last world championship in Italy. I look forward to facing her again, putting on a great fight, and perhaps showing her around Paris afterward."

Sneha and Kenza during world championship

Training for one sport itself demands for significant time and dedication, imagine preparing for two sports simultaneously, and at the same time not compromising at your regular work! It is definitely not easy but Sneha's ability to juggle between both her professional commitments and her training shows her determination for her goals!


Sneha shared some insights on it:

" It becomes very difficult to train for this sport as you can see. It consist of two different types of sport. One has to balance the schedule properly to excel in this sport. I train boxing for two times a day and work on Chess in the alternate days."

When asked about her ultimate goal, Sneha shared:

"I dream to play at Olympic level and make my country proud."

Sneha usually takes coding classes during the day and trains in the evening, sometimes even teaches night classes for students from the UK and US, which can be incredibly challenging. Yet, she perseveres because securing sponsors is difficult, and she needs to manage her own diet, equipment, and everything else. As a single mother child, she refuses to burden her mother with her sports dreams. She wants to fulfil her dream and she's willing to do whatever it takes. Her mother and brother are her biggest supporters.

"I hope we Indian athletes get enough sponsors that would be so easy as the athlete would’ve to concentrate only on the game." - Sneha

Despite their dedication and talent, many athletes struggle to secure the financial support/sponsorships they need to pursue their sporting dreams. Despite these obstacles, athletes like Sneha are giving their best and is determined to overcome these challenges and achieve success in order to fulfil their dreams.


Hope to see success coming both their ways along with the much-needed support of sponsors! :)


Their dedication and consistent hard work serve as an inspiration to all of us. Wishing them the very best for their match and all their future endeavors!

About the Author

Tina is a recent graduate of Information Science and Engineering from Bengaluru. Passionate about chess and technology, she always believes that a small step taken today can shape into something big tomorrow.

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