The game of chess has been around for centuries, and is today played as a global game by professional players who have in turn created a number of fantastic betting opportunities. Chess betting is not as commonplace as the major sporting events, but there is a small and dedicated community who love this tense and strategic contest. And, of course, putting a little money on the outcome will only enhance the nail-biting excitement even further.

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18+ New players only | Available until 23:59 GMT 31.12.2025 Each challenge has its own TCs. Eligible Bets must be placed for each respective Challenge during the Promotional Period including the following: ACCA, Football, In-Play, and Casino. Each challenge has its own set of TCs and can only be completed 1x. Available to claim: 20 Free Spins, Odds Boost Token, £10 Free Bet, 50% Back up Free Bet up to £20, £10 Casino Bonus when you wager £50+. If all are completed you will receive Max £20 Free Bet to be used on any sport. Full T&Cs apply. Bet Responsibly. GambleAware.org #ad
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18+ New cust only. Deposit & Place a Bet within 7 days, and settle a £10 minimum bet at odds of 4/5 (1.8) or greater, to be credited with 3x £10 Free Bets: 1 x £10 Horse Racing, 1 x £10 Free Bet Builder and 1 x £10 Football. 7 day expiry. Stake not returned. Full T&Cs apply. Bet Responsibly. GambleAware.org #ad
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18+ New bettors; Code SPORT; Wager deposit & bonus 8x; Max qualifying bet stake=initial bonus; Valid 60 days; Min odds, bet and payment method exclusions apply; Full T&Cs apply. Bet Responsibly. GambleAware.org #ad
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18+ New UK customers only. Min Stake: £5. Maximum Free Bet: £30. First bet on a Football or Horse Racing multiple with 3+ selections. Overall odds: 3.00 (2/1) or higher. Free Bets available upon settlement of the qualifying bet. 100 Free Spins on Gold Blitz (£0.10 per spin) credited on settlement of qualifying Acca bet. No wagering requirements on free spin winnings. Debit Card deposit only (exclusions apply). This offer is valid 7 days from the new account being registered. Full T&Cs apply. Bet Responsibly. GambleAware.org #ad
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18+ New UK customers only. Min £10 first deposit using Debit Card or Bank Transfer. Place a bet of £10 at min odds of 1.5 and get £10 upon settlement. Further £10 Multiple token will be credited after 24 hours and a further £5 Horse Racing Multiple token and a £5 Football Bet Builder token will be credited after 48 hours. Full T&Cs apply. Bet Responsibly. GambleAware.org #ad
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18+ New UK+IRE Customers only. Certain deposit methods & bet types excl. Min first 5 bet within 14 days of account reg at min odds 1/2 = 4x 5 free bets. Free bets valid for 7 days, stake not returned. No cashout, restrictions + Full T&Cs apply. Bet Responsibly. GambleAware.org #ad
chess pieces on board
(Image: pixabay.com)

To put it as simply as possible, the aim of chess is to attack the opponent’s King and prevent him from moving any further across the board, thus ending the game. This is known as checkmate. The pieces, which are differentiated by 2 separate yet equal sets of black and white, are set up on the back two rows of the left and right edges of the board. Each piece has its own specific way of moving about the board and all of the pieces must initially be set up in the correct place before each game can start.

The Rooks, which look like a castle, occupy both corner squares next to the Knight, which looks like a horse. The Bishop is next followed by the King and Queen who sit on their own coloured spaces. In the row before this, the Pawns are placed and can move forward one space at a time, except for their first move where they can move 2 spaces. To begin, you have 8 Pawns, 2 Rooks, 2 Knights, 2 Bishops, 1 Queen and 1 King. When you land on an occupied square, you can claim the piece that is on it and remove it from your opponent’s arsenal. Oh – and white always moves first.

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    Pawns move one space at a time vertically, and when taking an opponent’s piece, diagonally.

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    Rooks can move vertically or horizontally through any unoccupied square.

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    Knights can move in an L shape, meaning two squares in one direction and then one square in a different direction.

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    Bishops move diagonally through any unoccupied square.

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    The Queen is the most powerful piece on the board because she can move in any straight-line direction – vertically, horizontally, or diagonally – for as many squares as possible.

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    The King is the most important piece on the board, because you will lose the game when he is attacked and can't escape to safety. The King can move just one square at a time.

Ladbrokes odds displayed for chess betting
(Source: Ladbrokes)

Bookmakers running and accepting bets on chess games and tournaments are reasonably commonplace these days and, if anything, are likely to grow even further. As a sign of its growing authority, Unibet has signed World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen to represent their chess offering.

When it comes to betting, games of chess can be every bit as tense and competitive as the final minutes of the FA Cup final or the eighteenth hole on the last day of The Masters, especially for those of us who love complex, strategic battles of the mind.

Chess cannot and does not offer a great deal of betting markets, so don’t head to your online bookmaker hoping to place a complicated wager because you are unlikely to find what you are looking for without at least requesting a bet. Don’t let that put you off however; betting on chess is still a great deal of fun, and a brilliant way of elevating your enjoyment levels of this magnificent mind sport.

Outright Winner

The most common chess bets are ones where you wager on who will win a specific competition, which is known in betting circles as an outright winner bet. For an outright bet to pay out, the player you have bet on must win the tournament.

Match Winner

Chess Betting Odds Displayed for Match Winner on Ladbrokes
(Source: Ladbrokes)

With a game of chess, there are 3 outcomes to a match: win, lose or draw. This means that you, the happy bettor, can bet on either player to win or the game to end in a draw. So long as your prediction comes true, then you will have made a profit.

Chess is played all around the world every day, and while not every event is open for betting, many do have odds – meaning we can place a bet on their outcomes, including some of the major chess events.

Chess World Championship

The World Chess Championship takes place every 2 years, usually in September and October, and is the premier title in chess and easily the most anticipated. While the championship is open to everyone, there are separate Women's World Chess Championship and World Junior Chess Championship events. Winning the championship is the top honour in the game and and consists of 12 matches, but the overall win is worth almost £895,000, making it the biggest prize in chess.

Grand Chess Tour

The Grand Chess Tour is a nomadic annual circuit of events that number between five and eight a season from August through September. These events change regularly but can include some of the major chess events, such as Chess Classic Romania, Croatia Grand Chess Tour, Paris Grand Chess Tour, Saint Louis Rapid & Blitz and the London Chess Classic.

Chess Olympiad

The Chess Olympiad, which is in no way affiliated with the Olympic Games, is a team chess event that invites teams from all over the world in early August to play over the several days’ worth of games. The aim is to accumulate points in an effort to determine a winner. In the Olympiad, there are teams of 4 for both men and women.

The famously tactical game of chess is tricky to play but, in some ways, not so tricky to bet on. There is such a thing as the ELO rating system, which is an excellent tool for making comparisons of different players alternative skill sets and where some can be favoured over others.

Also, be sure to know your history by checking historical results between players with the same ratings and reviewing traps set, plays made and attacking styles. Additionally, it is worth remembering that ties are highly probable as many of the players play at similar levels. In this way, the very same betting tips that apply to every other type of sport also apply to chess.

Although there are some that subscribe to the idea that the game of chess was played by the ancient Egyptians, we know that the official story is that chess dates back to the Gupta Empire of India (600CE). Even the figures we use to play chess take on military elements of that time, such as the elephants, cavalry chariots, infantry and of course, the monarchy.

As the game spread across the globe, largely enabled by global trade, new rules were added, mainly by the Europeans. In Italy and Spain, pawns were enabled with the ability to move two squares on their first move, bishops were allowed to attack over diagonals and queens were given the power to move anywhere.

During the 18th century, chess became popular in large cities such as London and Paris, where it was played publicly in parks or coffee shops. By 1851, the world’s first chess tournament, dubbed the Immortal Game, was held in London and won by German called Adolf Anderssen.

There are loads of events going off most weeks of the chess calendar but the most famous are the Grand Tour, the Olympiad and The World Championships.

To be clear, there isn’t a huge range of different bets for chess, although you could always request a bet if you have something in mind. Other than that, outright tourney winners and individual match outcomes are the mainstay of chess betting.

Sort of, yes. These bonuses might not be specific to chess, but any wagering bonuses you have credited to your account can, of course, be used for chess betting.

No, but even those that don’t might be persuaded to with a simple request a bet.

Of course – just make multiple outright selections and place them all as one accumulative bet.

There are plenty of naysayers who would have you believe that chess is a dull game, played by people with not much else to do. Nothing could be further from the truth. It’s true that chess may have, in the past, suffered from a less than cool and trendy image, but this is game for the mentally tough and exceptionally minded. With millions on the line, these players are pros and mean serious business, which makes it perfect for bettors.

WRITTEN BY James Cormack View all posts by James Cormack

Big sports fan specialising in football. Experienced the lows of Vlad Chiriches and Tim Sherwood as a Spurs fan along with the more recent ‘success’ under Pochettino. My following of the New England Patriots since 2012 somewhat makes up for the lack of silverware produced by Spurs in my lifetime.

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