Would you play chess for money?


Earlier today, a Chess.com user posted a thread pointing to a new chessplaying site where you can place wagers on your games--say, "the winner receives $10." This site, acting as intermediary, would process the transaction and take a 5% cut of the wager.

Before you go looking for the thread, it was quickly deleted; no doubt because it encouraged Chess.com users to go to another chessplaying site. I'm going to avoid that here by skipping the external link, but I'm resurrecting the topic because I think it raises an interesting question.

Now, this new site is basically moving small-stakes chess away from the parks and hustlers and into clean and friendly cyberspace. And chess hustlers have been with us since time immemorial (I understand that Humphrey Bogart hustled chess for food money during the Depression). But somehow this all rubbed me the wrong way--I play for the love of the game. 

So what say you, fellow woodpushers? Are you in favor of chess-betting sites, indifferent, or opposed? Why?


negative, takes away from the sophistication of the game!


Anything I can make money at by winning I'm for.


no, I wouldn't. It would change my view of the game in a negative way


Come on, think about it. How many people on the aforementioned site will be using engines? And so, how much of this money can be said to have actually been won fairly?

On yet another note, could we be sure that even the site itself can be trusted? To take a 5% cut, it must be handling the money transaction itself and this seems like rather a risky thing to do.

Im sure it works fine in the real world, but in cyberspace where you never know quite what your opponent is doing, it will never work.


I have nothing against it, if you don't like it don't praticipate thats all

Iam not interested in playing for money myself but I think the option should exsit


I think this is a bad idea for most people. What it does it makes people do anything for the win. They may make there rating a lot lower than their playing strength just for starters. But if you like the money thing that much, and you dont mind losing some now and again, then by all means have fun :)


Beware of sites which deal with money and ask you to download a software to play! Invariably the download contains virus, trojan or phishing software - please view my posting on "phishing" before doing anything silly:


Also view my posting on recent viruses and how to protect yourself:



OTB for a bit of fun and interest I have no problem with, but online a definate no as its open to abuse by cheating and scams and it will ruin the integrity of online chess no end!


It's too iffy finding honest opponents here. Play for money online? Pffft!


I use to play for shillings dans la rue!


A couple of extra points, to stir the pot:

  • Is there really a difference between winning a bet and winning a prize at a tournament? In both cases, you're putting down cash up front in the hope of attaining a bigger payoff after your games.*
  • A master I know, in a moment of bravado, offered odds of 5-1 that he would go five-for-five in a local tournament. I told him to put me down for $20. Was this wrong of me? **
  • Many classic betting games (such as the ubiquitous Texas Hold 'em Poker) also require great mental skill. With poker surging in popularity, would not adding a financial element to chess spark some interest? Is it worth it? ***

* I think there is. In a tournament you are also paying for the organizer's expenses, and you get the bonus of playing rated games against meaningful opponents.

** For the record, the master backed off the bet before the tournament started. He nevertheless posted an impressive 4/5 against a strong field.

*** I doubt it; and no.

PS: Excellent point by dsarkar!


It's a bad idea for the Internet.  This wouldn't encourage more people to take up chess, it would simply encourage more people to use their computer to make their moves, making the whole thing pointless anyway.  As much as some might like to think otherwise it's also virtually impossible to moderate, you wouldn't be able to stop people cheating nor the endless bickering that would inevitably ensue.

AMcHarg wrote:

it would simply encourage more people to use their computer to make their moves, making the whole thing pointless anyway.

Cheating? No way! The site in question says, "[This Site] is using the most advanced anti-cheating system that detects and prevents bots and other forms of cheatings in real time. [This Site] is 100% secure and cheating-free, so you can be confident when playing online chess on [This Site]."

Boy--I'm sure convinced!


Good idea!

Chess were always played for money/treasure/title...

Why if someone does it well he can't make some money out of it.


Poker is rife with cheating online, I used to play a lot before I started playing chess, and believe you me..........its very fishy online! I still play but only live games organised at the local casino or with the boys, and thats when the skill comes into it when you look the other opponents in the eye.......not staring at the screen and wondering wether or not you are playing a bot!

The same principle would not work for chess, its not a game of chance with an element of skill, but a game of pure skill and thought!


I also play online poker I have no problem with bets, just that betting on online chess, you just get cheated, not even Anand can beat Rybka even in a slow processor :) at least in blitz games


     Sure DIMKNIGHT , I would enjoy the chance to play for some cash, even a token amount. Then again, I'd be thrilled just to get a T-shirt or Baseball-Cap like from Leisure Linc; or a "Candidate Master" (or above) CERTIFICATE as USCF gave out for Postal play. I still have one of those taped, er mounted, on my closet door~! From the 80's Smile.

    Strangely, because I don't really care for OTB trophies; I'd probably be MORE thrilled with the merchandise than cash, since the latter doesn't seem to "keep" well. Perhaps it needs refrigeration?! Someone I know keeps it in the Freezer.   * * * * 

    Of course, I am terribly biased, having been a "Professional Postal Chess Player" for several years, back around that time Surprised. Naturally, now $50 a year doesn't go as far as it used to Laughing . . . and true, there were no Chess computers then which could defeat any Class A player or higher, as long as he/she was aware he was playing VS a Box rather than a human. Still that may be one of the beauties of the idea; if it would bring out those tempted to cheat thru computer assistance, into the open; and so be rid of them. Tho I would not mind also seeing cash prize sections that would allow computer assistance, as long as both players are aware & agreed to play it that way, on an "even playing field", as we say. But I too am quite leary of the claim by whatever is the site you refer to, Jeff. Sounds like they are trying Too Hard to convince, by excessive claims, imo. Ya ?  

APCT offered smallish prizes for many of their Postal sections, in the past. And I believe USCF did too, for a time at least. Tho the Golden Knights Champion-ship was much better pay. Think that was the one which was $500.00 back in days when computers were still Chess duffers; and would never defeat a postal player over Class A or B as long as they were Aware they played a Box rather than a human. 

 * * * * * 

{Contemplated making some sections only for players using realtime Web-Cam & sound microphone, to make it a bit harder to cheat by Chess computer use ... yet, I already envision several ways they could try, in only moments. What if players had to meet at a local Tournament Site, with a TD though?!  Or what about that idea, but used primarily just for cutting site overhead and so make a larger prize fund. And as a means of to gather enough FIDE-rated players (4) to hold a FIDE Rated event; if FIDE would sanction it, by reaching out to several cities rather than just one site. Just getting 4 has been virtually impossible here, & difficult in much of Mid-western USA; therefore how fitting if we saw the Internet make it become possible, "Virtually"~! }

{ Yet, there will always be some way(s) to cheat in any Chess competition, I'm quite sure. [Until we get sniffer-dogs trained to detect Cheating-Chess-Thoughts ??!] Surely some would still have to give it a try anyway.} 

* * * * * * * 

     In summation, "Yes" . But like others suggest here, I would/do also have concerns about the conduct of such sites, & those who run it/them. I once played one for a different game that awarded something like 90 cents per win from 2 players competing for their combined entry fee of $2 minus maybe 10 percent. You would play both games of the match at the same time, and your opponent might come along later and play his two under the same conditions. HOWEVER, I found an irritating anomaly in the Pairings. If I had a really high score one game, and average high in the other ... it was not pairing randomly but would apparently put my HIgher score vs the Lower score of some opponent. And my Lower vs his Higher. In otherwords, they seemed to encourage less decisive results allowing someone to play more rounds and give them more commission consequently. There were also times they actually skipped over a pairing that would have given me two Wins, in preference to one where I would Win one, Lose one to that other "player" ("other sucker~?!!).

    And the game was not one that would have much, if any, law written around it ... unlike perhaps a Casino game. It was pretty obscure; maybe something like how many words you could make out of a group of letters in a certain time.

     As far as sites for Poker aor Casino games, and some non-Cyber Casino's as well IMO ... I have a friend who has played both, even winning thousands in Poker Tournament play OFFLINE; who says basically '...they won't cheat because they don't have to cheat to profit, the house always does.' To this my reply would be, "...like husbands never cheat, because They don't Have to ??!" Hmmm ...?!? 

     He might be Right; I hope so. But he's also found he does not seem to come out ahead in Online play ...   So I also hope he does not play any sites based in "Lower Western Bottomlesspit Of Lawlessness Island' . . . 

* * *  }8-) * * * 

DimKnight wrote:
AMcHarg wrote:

it would simply encourage more people to use their computer to make their moves, making the whole thing pointless anyway.

Cheating? No way! The site in question says, "[This Site] is using the most advanced anti-cheating system that detects and prevents bots and other forms of cheatings in real time. [This Site] is 100% secure and cheating-free, so you can be confident when playing online chess on [This Site]."

Boy--I'm sure convinced!

Why are you convinced?  There is only so much they can do to stop cheating without making the site unplayable for strong players.  The point is that no matter how powerful their system is, they can't stop all cheating.  Even if players use a combination of engine 1st, 2nd and 3rd choice moves they are still playing at a stupidly high level, and many GM's in history are making 60% of 1st choice engine moves anyway so someone can hardly be considered a cheat if they equal that.  It's hard enough to control it when the only insentive is a number on a screen, nevermind when there is good, hard money involved.

I stand by my earlier post.


In one way or another, isn't that what Grandmasters do? ... they invest a lot of time into studying, purchase books and engines, some of them hire a team to help them ... and why? ... for the million dollar prize (or, unfortunately, participation fee).