Want to bet on chess? These are your first moves

Free chess board with pieces photo, public domain game CC0 image.

There are a number of betting offerings out there, that are relatively unexplored by the “general sports betting crowd”.

One of these is perhaps the most famous board game of all time, chess.

Chess is actually not that difficult to place bets on, once you get the hang of it. Which does not require too much time investment, once you become interested!

Firstly, you do not need to know how to play chess, in order to become good at betting on it.

However, you do need to know, which players are good at the moment, in order to bet on them. There is several betting sites that provides betting on chess, including crypto betting sites

But before,  you need to get some grip, on the dynamics of chess in general.

First of all, chess is played with one player having the white pieces and the other player having the black pieces. The player having the white pieces moves first, and thus has an advantage.

This is not a huge advantage however. It’s not, say, like having the serve in tennis.

But even though it is just a small advantage, that is quite irrelevant in offhand games played at home, it does matter a lot in competitive games that are played by the world elite.

And this should be the first port of call, for those who want to start betting on chess. To have som basic knowledge of the world elite is absolutely necessary.

All top chess players in the world are grandmasters. And all grandmasters have a so called Elo rating, which defines how strong they are as chess players.

The higher the Elo rating, the stronger the player.

Grandmasters tend to have Elo ratings from 2500 or just below, to 2800 or just above.

You definitely do not need to know the chess ratings of all grandmasters. But it’s a good start to get familiar with the top 10-15.

For example, knowing that Norway’s Magnus Carlsen has been the world’s best player for a little more than the past ten years at least, is quite essential to know.

And Magnus is still the world number one. Although he is no longer the world champion, he voluntarily let go of that due to the hectic demands of the schedule.

Magnus Carlsen is currently, together with Fabiano Caruana of the USA, the only player in the world with an Elo rating north of 2800.

The best site for keeping tabs on the world elite is probably the site 2700chess.com – a site that lists at-a-glance all grandmasters with an Elo-rating above 2700, which always includes the top 30, the group that you should acquaint yourselves with a little bit, for starters.

By the way, you can check the Elo rating of any registered chess player, even ordinary club players, on the site Fide.com – Fide being the world chess federation.

The next thing that you need to understand, is that the most common result between two grandmasters, is a draw.

In other words: nobody wins.

If two grandmasters with an Elo-difference of less than 200 points play each other in a tournament, with a “classical” time limit, when the games tend to take some time – a draw is the most likely result.

However, some players are more likely to draw games than others. 

This is essential knowledge for the aspiring chess punter.

Many years ago for instance, the top Swedish grandmaster Ulf Andersson was a super-solid player, who had a reputation of being a drawing specialist.  

In a tournament in the mid-1980s when Ulf was a top ten-player in the world, with for example twelve grandmasters, you could easily count on Ulf to draw nine or ten of his eleven games.

And going a back more than a decade in time before this, there was a legendary American grandmaster and world champion who was exactly the opposite, Bobby Fischer.   

He won games at a rate unmatched by any other grandmaster in the world elite. On his way to becoming world champion in Reykjavik in Iceland in 1972, Fischer knocked out two other top ten grandmasters, Mark Taimanov of the then USSR and Bent Larsen of Denmark, by tennis-resembling scores of 6-0 and 6-0. 

This was unheard of even at the time, but today most betting sites taking bets on chess, would offer massive odds on any elite grandmaster winning three straight games against another – let alone six!

Ulf Andersson does not play world elite chess anymore, and Bobby Fischer died many years ago. But even today, there are of course grandmasters in the world elite, that have reputations of being either “drawish” – or rather “blood thirsty”.     

Dutch grandmaster Anish Giri, for example, is a world elite player – often ranked in the to five – with a drawish reputation.

And Hungarian ace Richard Rapport – ranked in th top 30 – is often more than happy to let the sparks fly.

It should be no secret to anyone, that there is a big mental aspect to chess. After all, it is a mind game.

The mental part is important in other sports as well, especially individual sports – but in chess, which is by and large a mind game, the state of the mind is of course crucial.

A recent example of this was the 2024 Wijk Aan Zee tournament in Holland, a famous chess tournament that always attracts some of the worlds top players.

This tournament is known nowadays by the sponsorship name, the Tata Steel Chess tournament

One of the participants this year was the current world champion Ding Liren, who “went recluse” after wresting the world crown from Russian Ian Nepomniachtchi in the spring of 2023.

Ding was reported to be mentally fatigued after the match win, and came to Wijk Aan Zee with question marks circulating around his mental state.

Bettors who were “awake” realised that this was not in effect “World Champion Ding”, but “Mentally Unbalanced Ding” turning up for the Wijk Aan Zee tournament, and were able to cash in.

As Dings result in the Holland tournament was indeed poor, he finished 9th out of the 14 participants, in a tournament won by his countryman grandmaster Wei Yi. A simply terrible performance, by a world champion. 

But not a surprise in any ways, for well informed punters…

For those wanting to be generally informed about the goings-on in the world of chess, a good place to start is the site chess.com which has the most important current news about the chess world.

Apart from being a free site that a lot of people gravitate to, just to play free chess online. Chess.com is a great place to start, if you are contemplating starting to wager on elite chess on sports betting sites.

Most countries with a chess following, also have a national site, that has the most important international information as well.

Well, that is the basic fundamental advice, for anyone contemplating betting on competitive chess.

The next move is yours!