In a skillset Venn diagram, the overlay between those who are great at chess and those who excel at boxing wouldn’t seem particularly fertile. But chess boxing – in which competitors alternate between six rounds of chess and five of fighting – has been going from strength to strength since the first proper bout took place in 2003. First invented by Enki Bilal in his 1992 comic book Froid Équateur, this strange hybrid of mental and physical challenge has now been played in various countries around the world, and photographer Laura Pannack has turned her prodigious talents onto this bizarre corner of the sporting world.
Whether it’s her portraits of the participants or in-ring action shots, there’s an open-mindedness and honesty of intention about Laura’s work, allied with her excellent composition and ability to capture an atmosphere. It’s intriguing stuff from a creative who is at her best shining a light on the lesser-known aspects of our societies.