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Betting on Chess: Types of Bets and the Best Strategies

Chess is the oldest table game in existence. According to one theory, it appeared in India more than one and a half thousand years ago and was called "Chaturanga." Modern chess is played by two people on a 64-cell board with white and black figures.

The game is considered to be over when one of the opponents checkmates the opponent’s king, or the time allotted to each matchup according to tournament regulations will end if one of the players forfeits or both players agree to a draw.

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If this material was not written today, but rather in the early 70s, it could safely be argued that chess is one of the most popular sports in the world. Over time however, mammoth sports such as soccer and hockey, have pushed chess from the Olympics. Still, even now major chess tournaments attract a lot of attention.

Sportsbooks have not bypassed this sport and still actively accept bets. Grandmasters at the biennial Chess Olympiad change very rarely. The 16th world chess champion, Norwegian Magnus Carlsen, has held the crown since 2013.

Different Types of Chess Bets

At some sportsbooks, you can bet on the total number of moves in the game or on whether the tournament will end with special additional games (fast chess, blitzchess, Armageddon chess).

But there are more specific and common outcomes that are present in this sport.

  • Outcome Bets ("P1" or "P2"): this traditional type of betting on the main outcome is unsurprisingly also typical for chess betting. In addition, outcome bets include the option of betting on a draw instead of a win for either player. 
  • Double Chance ("1X" or "2x"): this option is favored by more cautious players, as these bets will allow a particular opponent to avoid defeat in the game. Either he will either win or the match will end in a draw. Picking 1X will mean you will win your bet if that player either wins the match or gets a draw. Since this is the most cautious bet, odds will usually be lower than for the next bet. 
  • Handicap Betting (0):  the wager here also implies that the specified participant of the competition will at the very least avoid an outright loss. However, in the case of a match draw with a zero handicap there is a major difference between the this and the double chance bet. If the match is a draw, then you will not win your bet but simply be refunded your original stake.

Also, some sportsbooks can offer futures bets on chess, for example, on a certain competitors success not just in a particular match, but how they will do overall in the entire tournament. Which players will win major tournaments like FIDE Grand Prix, the World Cup and other major competitions around the world can also be offered at sportsbooks who have chess bets available. 

The Best Chess Betting Strategies

The catch-up strategy is almost made for chess as it works exceptionally well here (you can find out more sports betting strategies in our Betting School). It is this strategy that best suits chess tournaments.

Chess is one of the few sports where protracted results one way or the other for players are extremely rare. Since players will be competing in up to 20 games in a single chess tournament, you can always find opportunities to employ this tactic. However, it is worth remembering that the catch up strategy is also one of the riskiest.

  • Quick example: The catch up strategy in a nutshell, means increasing your stake on the same market after each loss to ovveride the losses from the previous bet and still make a profit. If you are betting on one player to win, then you will continue increasing your stake after each loss until the player finally gets a win. Your stake after each loss should be enough that a win still garuantees a profit despite the previous losses. 

Betting on a draw can be a simple, yet effective strategy especially in chess. In the game of chess, a draw between two grandmasters happens much more often than the outcome of the victory for one of the opponents.

In this case, the safety net also works well for betting on one of the players with a zero handicap. This is again, a bet that will earn you a profit if won, and a refund of your stake if the outcome is a draw. Odds for the handicap (0) bet will be lower than for an outright victory or defeat, but the safety net you are given can make it well worth it, especially in chess. 

  • Quick example: In the match "P1" against "P2" you took the victory of "P1" with a handicap 0. If the match ends in a draw, the sportsbook will return the stake of the bet. You can keep employing this tactic until the player begins to pick up wins.Since players in chess tournaments do not normally go on long streaks of any kind, you can  

Is it Possible to Win regularly betting on chess?

As we have already written, there is no win-win strategy in chess, as in any other sport. To reduce your risks, you need to understand the particular sport, which you are planing to bet on. 

Chess is a special game, where in addition to the rules you need to know the psychological state of the athlete, his habits and even weather conditions can play a part. After all, the well-being of a grandmaster in bad weather can deteriorate, and chess is a logical game that requires serious concentration.

Having the necessary information, watching the tournaments and following the chess world in general, you can greatly increase your chances of winning. Good luck!

Which American sportsbooks offer bets on chess? 

American sportsbooks vary heavily across the country in terms of the number lines and sports that they offer. Plenty of sportsbooks in the US have rolled out mass selections of sports, with everything from the major competitions to even the smallest of niche sports. 

The best sportsbooks will offer as many sports and competitions as possible, as well as a large number of lines for each competition. On Legalbet, we understand this and therefore keep track of the sportsbooks with the best lines and sports selection. From this rating, we can safely recommend some regulars from the top of our list. 

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