Betting On Chess; Norwegian Makes A Silly Move In The Sinquefield Cup

Funny Chess cartoon

That there are people willing to wager on a slow game between two less than animated people is something I will never quite understand but with ComeOn! Sportsbook offering odds on the Sinquefield Cup I suppose I’ll just have to accept there are some people who like betting on chess. The question is, who are these weirdos?

There are times when it staggers me what people will wager upon. Oh I get that gambling on the winner of Big Brother or who becomes the next editor of Vanity Fair might be amusing, or that placing a bet on the result of a general election could be fun, and likewise I understand the exciting investment wagering on your favorite team induces a sense of involvement when you watch them play, but beyond all the novelty opportunities and sporting bookmakers, there’s some varieties of betting I just don’t get.

Is Chess A Silly Gamble?

• Favorite out in first round
• Topalov wins in Siquefield Cup
• Bookies predictions askew

Of course there will always be those people who like to bet on sports in Norway and elsewhere who might sometimes enjoy the odd spot of free online bingo or perhaps stray into placing a one-time bet on who’ll win the World Series of Poker, although that is in of itself quite bizarre really. When you find yourself gambling on other gamblers gambling with each other there’s a possibility you need to go and take a good long hard look at yourself in the mirror, but that’s no excuse for betting on Chess.

I do realize that in any circumstance where there are definitive outcomes there is the possibility for gambling, and indeed amongst many of us the instinct to do so, and that chess, by dint of being a game twixt two competitors, falls into this arena, but honestly with all the other sports and activities available to wager on who are these people that are frittering their money away betting on chess and wagering which Grand master will win the Sinquefield Cup being held in St. Louis?

Betting On Chess; The Wager Of Intellectuals?

With the game we know today as chess stretching back well beyond 1475 when it developed the sort of rules we’ll recognize perhaps it is the longevity of Chess that attracts people to wager on it. It has long been the flagship battle of wits for the intellectual types, a friend of mine constantly refers to it as “boxing for geeks”, but that said does it mean the people betting on chess are the intellectuals themselves? I rather think not.

Chess players going wild

The wager of intellectuals

Certainly there could be the odd wager placed by family members or friends who want to show support, or enthusiasm, but anyone with an ounce of brains would realize pretty quickly that there’s far better, more predictable and thus profitable, sporting opportunities to wager on at sites like ComeOn! Sportsbookk, than chess. So who then is this market being offered to? Norwegian gambling laws might be a tad restrictive but if they stop people being this silly maybe they’re right to be.

Even as a novelty wager for a bit of a giggle betting on chess seems a woeful waste of time, a wager on a football match can have you on the edge of your seat, biting your nails with the excitement of a close game, can betting on chess really create the same atmosphere? Are there people nervously waiting for the 41st move in a game with heart-stopping trepidation knowing money hangs in the balance? Seriously, are there?

First Round Upset Highlights Betting On Chess A Bit Daft

Bulgarian Veselin Topalov Norwegian Magnus Carlsen

Believe it or not, it was just as sensational as Watford scoring five at Old Trafford. Really, it was!

As if to highlight just how silly it is to go around betting on chess the opening round of the Sinquefield Cup has already produced the sort of results that have experienced gamblers wincing. With odds of 1.44 at the outset the favorite to take the trophy was Magnus Carlsen of Norway, the defending champion, however he crashed out in his opening game against Bulgarian Veselin Topalov in what many, including the bookies, would cite as being a bit of an upset.

Topalov went into the tournament with odds of 15.00, numbers that are bound to shorten now, despite having beaten Carlsen the champ two months ago in another competition. This time round it was an unforced error on move 17 that gave the Bulgarian the advantage forcing a retirement from Carlsen on move 40, setting the cat amongst the pigeons for those that were betting on chess in the same manner one might on the Champions League.

With the favorite gone it remains to be seen if the bookies got the odds right on Fabiano Caruana, 7.50 going in, or Anish Giri (13.00 at the tourney’s start) because with the wind of this win behind him Topalov is probably going into his second round match with Hikaru Nakamura gambling news of his shock win will disrupt the American’s concentration. There’s every chance it might. Who knows what goes on inside their heads? And that, ladies and germs, is why betting on chess is just a little bit weird.

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