Chess with Guns
• Magnus Carlsen wins
• London Classic
• Grand Chess Tour
With so many options, from the English Premier League to Norwegian ice hockey, why would you bet on chess? And if you wouldn’t what can we do to this grand old game of strategy to make it more attractive to the viewing and gambling public? We attempt to find out in the wake of Magnus Carlsen’s wins this week.
Even if you like to bet on sports in Norway the chances are you don’t often think of chess. Norway excels at alpine sports, swishing about on the snow, and those remain hugely popular in the country even if the rest of the world is slowly losing interest in being the also-ran prop for their national pride pumping. However just this last week a Norwegian not only won the London Classic with a win over Russian Alexander Grischuk but also took victory in the Grand Chess Tour as a whole.
Magnus Carlsen might be one of the best reasons to bet on chess, his performances have been masterly and has demonstrated a level of intensity and concentration his opponents have had a tough time matching, but is that enough? Of course, whilst you could bet on chess at ComeOn! Sportsbook or similar gambling sites around the world, the question remains why would you when there are so many other things to wager upon?
Certainly you can always bet on chess to be interesting, the strategies, the ruses, the skill and focus, it’s all fascinating, but as a spectator sport it leaves quite a lot to be desired. Two guys in bad suits frowning occasionally does not make for great TV and without live coverage sports tend not to attract the gambling masses. However I think there’s an obvious solution, and one with which the Carlsen’s countrymen are familiar with…….but will the Norwegians admit it?
A Bet On Chess Shooting Would Be More Interesting
Cross-country skiing is hugely dull. Sliding fast down mountains is okay, but slogging it out between the pine trees isn’t fun, there are torturers at the NSA who think it’s inhuman and it’s a constant source of amazement that Norwegian gambling laws permit wagers on it. However it is TV audiences being aware of how boring it is, that caused the adjustment made to it by the introduction of firearms. The Biathlon is just people cross-country skiing with shooting at things added in for excitement.
Take a move on the board and then turn round pick up a sports .22 and have a pop at five targets on a wall 20 metres away. There’s already Chess Boxing, so why not this? Try considering a queen exchange in five moves time when your opponent is discharging a firearm. Now THAT would require some serious focus. Even more so if the target were placed behind the opposing player. Have a few rounds whizzing past their heads an you can bet on chess grand masters playing a lot less consistently.
And it’s not just those that would like to bet on chess that would benefit from this simple addition of firearms to the sport they’re watching. There are many dull sporting activities across the world that would almost certainly be more of a spectacle by the simple expedient of giving the competitors firearms and a selection of targets they must shoot at periodically throughout their event. Some of them are obvious, some of them less so.
Chessathlon Probably Not The Best Name For It
The most obvious is the marathon. I realize there will be security concerns with letting thousands of armed people loose to run through a city, but wouldn’t it be more interesting to watch, even if you were gambling news coverage of a massacre wouldn’t mar the results. Football players couldn’t run around for 90 minutes with a rifle on their backs, I don’t suppose, but those annoying penalty shootouts could easily be replaced with an entirely more skills-based shootout with firearms. Chelsea would still lose. Where’s the harm?
If you can’t bet on chess shooting to take off what about Formula One? Just add shooting into the pit stops. Car pulls in, mechanics go to work changing the tires and fueling it up whilst the overpaid posh pillock in the drivers seat has to get out, run over to the range, poke a few rounds at some targets and then leap back into his car for another few dozen laps. Missed targets? Added time penalty. No one overtakes anyone else anymore anyway, so why not?
Magnus Carlsen is to be congratulated on his wins, and if people don’t bet on chess it’s not really his fault, however as time goes on the lack of gambling interest in certain sports is going to see their coverage decline and fall by the wayside, so if chess doesn’t want to be one of them it’ll have to buck up its ideas and arm its competitors because anything that can make cross-country skiing a pleasure to watch could work veritable miracles with the staid world of international chess.