Can You Wager on Chess Tournaments?

  • Tuesday, Jan 4, 2022

Chess has grown to become one of the most popular games in the world. Due to its popularity, chess enthusiasts around the world often wager on tournaments. Usually, they bet on who will win a particular competition. This type of bet is called the “outright winner bet.” So, yes, you can definitely place bets on chess tournaments! Learn more here.

Which Are the Biggest Chess Tournaments to Bet on?

Wagering on chess tournaments is as old as chess. Presently, there are several chess tournaments that allow you to place bets. Some notable chess tournaments to bet on include:

wager on chess

The World Chess Championship

The World Chess Championship is organized and played to decide the world’s best chess player. Magnus Carlsen of Norway is the present world champion and has held the position since 2013.

The first globally recognized championship event was the match between two top chess players, Wilhelm Steinitz and Johannes Zukertort in 1886. Steinitz won and became the first world champion. From 1886 to 1946, the reigning champion sets the terms of the next match. They demanded any challenger to raise a substantial stake and win a match against the champion. If a challenger does this successfully, he becomes the new world chess champion.

The World Chess Championship tournament settled on a biennial cycle since 2014. Although the tournament is open to all chess players, there are different championship for women, various age groups and for computers.

The FIDE World Cup

The FIDE World Cup covers three different chess events over the years. It has been a major event organized by the International Chess Federation (FIDE) since 2000. In fact, in 2000, the first chess world cup was held, and the second tournament was followed in 2002. In 2005, it became a 128-player single-elimination tournament and formed part of the stipulation for the World Chess Championship.

The 2021 FIDE Chess World Cup was a 206-player single-elimination tournament held in Sochi, Russia. Polish GM Jan-Krzysztof Duda won the tournament without losing any game.

The FIDE Grand Prix

This refers to a biennial sequence of chess tournaments. The event is organized by FIDE and its partner, Agon. Each sequence is made up of three to six tournaments, which constitute part of the stipulation cycle for the World Chess Championship.

The FIDE Grand Prix was first organized and played in 2008 and consisted of six tournaments. However, the 2014–2015 edition had just four tournaments. The winner of the Grand Prix tournament gains entry to the Candidates Tournaments while the winner of the women’s edition gets direct qualification to a championship match. Usually, 24 players qualify for the competition. These players compete against themselves to qualify for the next tournament.

The Candidates Tournament

The Candidates Tournament or Matches is a chess tournament coordinated by FIDE since 1950. The event is organized to determine the contender for the World Chess Championship. The winner of this tournament earns the right to compete against the World Chess Champion for the Championship title.

Before 1993, the event was held every third year. However, the triennial cycles were disrupted after the World Championship split in the early 1990s. In 2013, it became a 2-year cycle and a stipulation to participate in the World Chess Championship.

The 2020–2021 Tournament consisted of an eight-player chess round-robin tournament. The event was played in Yekaterinburg, Russia. Ian Nepomniachtchi won the competition, earning the chance to challenge the reigning champion, Magnus Carlsen.

The Tata Steel Chess Tournament

The Tata Steel Chess tournament is a yearly chess tournament held in January in the Netherlands. The event began in 1938. It was previously known as the Hoogovens Tournament up until its official sponsor, Koninklijke Hoogovens combined with British Steel in 1999. The merging formed the Corus Group and thereafter, the tournament was named the Corus Chess Tournament.

In 2007, Corus Group became Tata Steel Europe leading to its present name, Tata Steel Chess Tournament. However, the tournament is still numbered sequentially from its original Hoogovens beginnings despite the name changes.

The Chess Olympiad

The Chess Olympiad is a chess tournament organized by the FIDE biennially. In this tournament, teams representing global nations compete. Usually, FIDE chooses the host nation beforehand. In 2020 and 2021, FIDE held the Chess Olympiad tournament online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The first unofficial Chess Olympiad took place in 1924 prior to when FIDE was formed. However, after FIDE was formed, the body coordinated the first official Olympiad tournament held in London in 1927. The tournaments were held annually until World War II. Since 1950, the event has been organized every two years at regular intervals.


Placing bets on chess tournaments makes the game more challenging and engaging for viewers. There are different types of chess bets available for you. The Outcome Bet involves wagering for a win or a draw for either player. The Double Chance Bet allows you to predict if a player wins the match, or it ends in a draw.

Handicap betting involves you predicting which player will avoid an outright loss. You can choose to place a bet on any of the notable tournaments listed above. The Chess Olympiad is the most popular tournament to bet on. In all, ensure that you play responsibly and prioritise having fun.