Ultimate Guide to Online Chess Betting + Top Sites for 2024

Written by

Joe - Poker Player

Last updated:

November 27, 2022
how to bet on chess online?

From the orphanage to the grandest stages, Beth Harmon captivated millions with her chess mastery. Now, it’s your turn to experience that same thrill by betting on the world’s greatest chess minds. Step into Beth’s shoes and embrace the adrenaline rush of high-stakes online chess betting.
Are you ready to discover the secrets of betting online on chess, including betting tips, betting markets, and more? Read on.

 

How to Bet on Chess Online in 4 Simple Steps

Online chess betting, and particularly betting on chess tournaments, has boomed in popularity in recent years, attracting more than just die-hard fans of the game. To place successful bets and make money, you better follow these simple six steps.

 

Step 1: Learn the Game Basics and Know the Players

Understanding chess well before placing wagers is more crucial than with other sports betting. The reason is that the sport has a niche audience, many of whom are well-versed in the game and are greatly interested in it. Therefore, when betting on this sport, you’re most likely up against bettors who are experienced with the game and betting on it. So, you’ll need to ensure that you’re also making bets backed up by some research.

 

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Step 2: Understand the Chess Betting Odds and Markets

Betting odds represent the likelihood of a chess player winning a match or tournament. There are various odds listing formats, with moneyline or American being the most common. Regardless of the format, all odds show the amount of money you should risk in order to win. For example, if Ding Liren is listed as +2000 to win the Norway Chess, it means you would win 20x your wager. A $1 bet earns you $20 plus your $1 initial stake if Liren makes it to win the tournament. On the other hand, a -140 odds for Magnus Carlsen means you should risk $140 to win $100 plus your initial stake.
Compared to many sports like soccer, chess betting sites do not offer a huge range of betting markets due to the sport’s nature. Here is a breakdown of the most common chess betting markets:

 

Outright Winner

Prestigious chess tournaments featuring the world’s elite often bring together grandmasters, typically between six and sixteen, vying for the coveted top spot. In these events, the outright winner market lets you focus on who will ultimately reign supreme, rather than predicting the outcome of every game.
While the odds in this market are initially set based on each player’s playing strength, they can fluctuate throughout the tournament. A player like Magnus Carlsen, who might start as the favorite, could see odds dramatically shift if they stumble early, losing two out of their first three games.

Match Winner

Chess match winner markets refer to two categories of betting options; Individual games and Matches. Regardless of the name, both markets involve betting on either of two players competing head-to-head.
Individual games refer to an individual game in which two chess players compete. In such scenarios, you will have three options to bet on: Player A wins, Player B wins, or the game ends in a draw. Just similar to soccer 1×2 results.
A match in the game of chess refers to a series of games that two players play against each other. Matches can be a part of larger tournaments or their own special events, like during the Chess World Championship. In these cases, you will bet on the player to win the match as a whole.

Opening Move

Opening move markets add another layer of excitement to chess betting, even though grandmasters often favor established strategies. This market involves guessing White’s first move at the start of the game. If you have guessed right, your bet wins.
While pawn moves to e4 and d4 are the most common openers, choices like c4 and Nf3 are popular, too, with occasional surprises thrown into the mix. By researching player tendencies, you can gain an edge in these markets and choose your bets wisely.

Number of Moves

In this market, bookmakers set a specific total number of moves for the game. You wager on whether the match will conclude before or after that number is reached. The concept is the same as totals or Over/Under market in soccer and other sports.
For example, imagine a match between Alireza Firouzja and Magnus Carlsen with a total set at 42.5 moves. If you believe the game will finish in 42 moves or less, you’d bet on the “under.” On the other hand, if you think it’ll go longer, you’d bet on the “over.”

 

Live Bets

Similar to other live sports betting markets, live chess betting requires an extensive focus and knowledge of the sport and the players. For example, if you notice that player A has lost their queen relatively early, you may want to wager on them losing the match. However, if they are known to still win many matches despite losing their queen, then you may not be quick to bet on them losing.
The number of online betting sites offering live chess lines is limited. However, you are more likely to find these betting options during the major events.

Chess Props and Future Bets

Prop bets allow you to bet on specific events during the match or events related to either player. In other words, you bet on events that are independent of the outcome of the game.
Future bets allow you to bet on the player who you think would be the next year’s champion, for example. The number of chess player props and future bets offered by bookmakers is limited, and you are more likely to be given these options for the major events.

 

Step 3: Pick The Chess Event to Bet on

Typically, sportsbooks offer lines for the major chess events and here are some of the most popular and prestigious ones to bet on.

FIDE Grand Prix

The FIDE Grand Prix was a prestigious series of chess tournaments held every two years, organized by the International Chess Federation (FIDE) and its commercial partner, Agon.
In the past, the top finishers in the Grand Prix series earned a spot in the Candidates Tournament. In 2023, the FIDE Grand Prix was discontinued and replaced by the FIDE Circuit.

FIDE Circuit

Organized by the same organizer, FIDE Circuit involves a series of eligible tournaments throughout the year (not limited to a specific number). Players earn points based on their performance in up to seven of these tournaments, with the highest scorer qualifying for the Candidates Tournament.

Candidates Tournament

For many years, since 1950, the player who challenges the world chess champion has been selected during the World Championship cycle- The Candidates Tournament. Top grandmasters qualify in different ways for this double round-robin event. Eight of the best players compete against each other. At the end, the winner gets to play against the world champion for the title.

World Chess Championship

Magnus Carlsen playing chess against Ian Nepomniachtchi

The World Chess Championship is the ultimate chess showdown, a head-to-head battle between the reigning champion and a designated challenger. Traditionally, these matches have varied in length, but current rules dictate a 14-game duel. Players alternate colors (white and black pieces) throughout the game. If the score remains tied after regulation, the championship is decided by faster-paced tiebreaker games, starting with rapid chess and potentially escalating to even quicker blitz games.

Other Notable Chess Events

Other top chess events that you can find odds for at online sportsbooks are:

  • Chess World Cup: it is the qualifier for the Candidates Tournament.
  • The Chess Olympiad: team competition(international).
  • London Chess Classic: UK’s strongest chess tournament and largest festival.
  • Norway Chess: Annual elite invitational chess tournament in Stavanger, Norway.
  • World Championship Women: pinnacle event in women’s professional chess.

 

Step 4: Choose The Best Bookmaker

choose the best chess betting sportsbook

You do not have many trusted options when it comes to betting on chess online. Hence, we handpicked the best online sportsbooks that we are confident in their reliability and quality of services as well as the availability of chess betting options.

 

Betting Online on Chess: Best 4 Online Sportsbooks for US and International Fans

As a niche sport, chess has a unique audience, making it a less common sports betting option among online sports betting websites. However, the good news is that top US-friendly sportsbooks allow fans to bet on chess online through their websites and mobile platforms.

1. FanDuel

Fanduel is one of the leading US sportsbook and DFS providers. At FanDuel, you can choose to bet on hundreds of sporting events, play at a world-class casino, bet on your favorite horse, or compete in contests for a chance to win big.
While the platform does not offer traditional chess betting, you can play chess for real money against real players in the FanDuel Faceoff App, available for iOS and Android devices. Apart from the chance to win cash, Faceoff has a matching system that allows you to play against players at your skill level.

To play FanDuel “King’s Crossing” real money chess, you must download the app on your mobile device, create an account, make a deposit, and allow the matching system to match with the best players to play against.

As a new player, if you make your first-ever FanDuel Faceoff deposit of at least $10, you will be rewarded with a 100% match up to $10 in bonus cash. Available deposit methods are:

  • Bank Transfer
  • PayPal
  • Credit/Debit Cards
  • Discover
  • American Express
  • Prepaid/gift cards

You can withdraw your winnings through PayPal, Prepaid Card, Check, and Online Banking. However, remember that FanDuel is not available in all US states and the available withdrawal methods vary depending on the state in which FanDuel legally operates. To read more about FanDuel restricted states, available bonuses, and more features, check our detailed FanDuel Review.

2. DraftKings

DraftKings is the second leading sportsbook and DFS provider that operates legally in the US online gambling market. It is available in most US states; however, you should check the availability of its services prior to registration. The website and its apps are also available in the UK.
As a new customer, you can enjoy a 20% Bonus up to $1,000 on your first deposit. Remember, the bonus amount is subject to change, so you should check the DraftKings promos while making your deposit.

DraftKings offers chess futures and spread bets. For the futures, you must predict the winner of the tournament. For the spread, you must predict the winner of the game or match who collects the most points, applying the given handicap or spread.

3. BetMGM

BetMGM is part of the Vegas giant MGM Resorts and provides legal sports betting and casino gambling for US and some international bettors. While BetMGM serves NJ, AZ, CO, DC, IL, IN, IA, KS, OR, KY, and LA, there is a list of other states that are restricted from their services.
As a new customer, you can get up to $1,500 paid back in bonus bets. It means if you place a bet on your favorite chess player and your bet loses, you get up to $1,500 back in bonus bets.

4. Bwin

Bwin is a BetMGM-affiliated online gambling website that features a sportsbook, poker room, casino, horse racing, chess, and live betting options. It is not available to US players and mainly caters to the UK, Canada, Europe, and some other countries. BetMGM supports multiple currencies, including GBP, EUR, and USD, for deposit and withdrawal.
Chess fans can bet on chess competitions in different markets, including the match and tournament winners. Bwin’s sports promotions are personalized. Customers should sign up to see available bonuses and make a deposit.

Chess Game for Dummies Recap

chess pieces moves and rules

To make informed decisions while betting on chess, you should understand the basics of the game. Here, we briefly review the game and its essentials. If you do not need a refresher, jump to the next section.
Chess is a board game played between two players, with each player starting with 16 pieces. The pieces (also known as materials or chessmen) include the following:

  • 1 king
  • 1 queen
  • 2 knights
  • 2 rooks
  • 2 bishops
  • 8 pawns

One set of pieces is black, and the other is white, and the game is played on a checkerboard—however, the color of the checks doesn’t affect the movement of the pieces. These pieces are meant to capture the opponent’s chessmen to the point at which the king does not have any defense left. That is when the player attacking the king wins, which is considered “checkmate.” However, if the king is being attacked, but there is some defense possible, then the attacking player says, “Check.”

The picture below summarizes chess pieces movements. There is also a cheat sheet to pieces capturing abilities.

 

chess six types of pieces and moves

 

Final Thoughts

Betting on chess may not be for everyone, but it can offer an extra layer of excitement for its niche audience. Thanks to trusted online sportsbooks and apps, fans can watch the competitions and place live bets for a chance of a big win. However, the key to a successful chess bet is learning the game basics, understanding the scoring system, mastering sports betting odds, and researching the players’ stats and performance.
For more tips and strategies on sports betting, visit our blog.

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FAQs

  • What Is Chess Hustling?

    It refers to the act of playing chess against others for money, typically in an informal setting(primarily in NYC), with the hustler aiming to gain an advantage through various means, like deceptions.

  • Is Chess A Sport?

    Yes, it is a sport because it includes a specific set of rules and etiquette that players must follow. Moreover, the International Olympic Committee(IOC) considers it a sport because the use of your mind to make calculated moves is a form of physical exertion.

  • Is Chess Played In The Olympic Games?

    Despite being considered a sport by the IOC, chess is not currently included in the Olympic Games.

  • Is Betting On Chess Online Legal In The US?

    Yes. Chess betting online is legal in the states in which sports betting is legalized. As long as the trusted sportsbook accepts US players, you are good to go.

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