Wu-Tang Wednesday – The Art of Chess Boxing
Happy Wu-Tang Wednesday! In part three of our series on one of the best hip-hop groups of all time, we take a brief look at how the game helped shape members like RZA, GZA, and ODB.
Chess is one of the oldest games in existence. In fact, many believe that chess was the very first board game. The earliest version of chess dates back almost 1500 years, to 6th century India. Chess then was made popular by the Persians circa 1200 years ago.
Wu-Tang Wednesday – Chess Boxin’ Origins
As the story goes in the Wu-Tang Manual (2004), RZA learned the game of chess from a girl when he was 11, who also took his virginity. In the Manual, RZA says how Wu-Tang didn’t get to play much as young kids because they were too poor to afford aboard. He explains how the game of chess is part of the Wu-Tang essence: “because it’s a game of war, it’s about battle. And Wu-Tang was formed in battles, from challenging each other.”
RZA has been criticized by online chess players for not having a ranking with either the International Chess Federation or the American one. Critics also say he never plays any masters or even strong amateurs – so we aren’t going to call his skill with the game into question here. We’ll let you be the judge of that. We’ll also take RZA’s word for him saying that he and GZA play chess just about every day. His interests might have shifted, but the game’s influence on the music is still clear.
Wu-Tang Wednesday: Whatever Happened to WuChess?
Back around 2008, RZA partnered with the site ChessPark to create a hip-hop themed site about chess called WuChess. The site launched in June 2008 with 5,000 members paying an annual fee of $48 for access to the site. The idea behind the site was great – combining martial arts, chess, and hip-hop. The goal was to empower the youth with some positive interests of Wu-Tang. RZA was supposed to play some of the members on the site online. Rooks and Knights could even be transformed into some Wu members. WuChess.com is now a customer relationship management site. So whatever happened to WuChess?
WuChess members never really grew to much more than 5,000. RZA never showed up to play chess, and the website eventually faded away. There are speculations as to whether RZA didn’t show up to play because he thought he’d lose. The owners of ChessPark eventually sold their game infrastructure to Chess.com and not much more has been made of it.
Is Wu-Tang Good at Chess? You Decide.
There has been a lot of speculation that Wu-Tang members didn’t play online because they aren’t that good. We can’t really call it here, but we would like to see them play just to set the record straight one way or another. People will talk endlessly online about how good they are at just about anything. Wu-Tang members are definitely no strangers to that – the music basically got its sound because they were constantly battling each other. So, we ask on this Wu-Tang Wednesday. Is RZA really good at chess? Ain’t no tellin’. The fact is that the game was a huge influence on the music, and that’s good enough for us.
Keep it LOUD!
We hope you enjoyed part three in our series about Wu-Tang. Check out the rest of our Loud OG section to see if something strikes your fancy. Follow us on all social media platforms – @loudnewsnet. Until next time, protect ya neck and your Queen!