Betting the World Chess Championship

Kim MacCormack

Monday, July 9, 2018 11:38 AM UTC

Monday, Jul. 9, 2018 11:38 AM UTC

American Fabiano Caruana will attempt to beat four-time champ Magnus Carlsen of Norway to be the world’s chess king.

Two men are preparing for a battle royal. A one-on-one that won’t be in a ring, on a court, pitch or field, or, unfortunately, a cage.

Magnus Carlsen of Norway and Fabiano Caruana of the United States will match wits with moves and countermoves while sitting at a table with a checkered board between them at the World Chess Championship.

Not exactly the Super Bowl or World Cup, right? Depends on who you ask. To more people than we imagined, the match between these master chess players is akin to Tom Brady vs. Cristiano Ronaldo, if that was doable matchup.

Who knew chess pawned, oops, spawned such fandom? The internet is chockful of fan sites, blogs and chess associations worshiping all things chess analyzing every move and victory, including how well competitors do depending what color pieces they use.

And who can’t get behind a contest where the opening moves have names that sound like something you might hear Tony Soprano say at the Bada Bing: the Ruy Lopez, Sicilian Kan, Giuoccio Plano and the Nimzo Indian.

There is a lot of American pride behind Caruana because it is the first time since 1972 that an American has competed in the World Championship. In that contest, Bobby Fischer became a legend went he went knight-to-knight with the Soviet Union’s Boris Spassky and won.

The November match also has the attention of several of SBR’s leading sportsbooks including Bovada, Pinnacle and Sportsbet. SBR's top-rated sportsbooks are favoring Carlsen (-300 to -310) against Caruana (+200 to +255) in a 12-game match in London.

Since 2007, Carlsen has the edge, winning 39 percent of his games with Caruana, who has won 20 percent, according to the World Chess Federation. Forty-one percent of their games ended in a draw.

A four-time world champion, Carlsen, 27, has been the world’s No. 1 for five years, last defending his world title in 2016. He’s been a chess grandmaster since age 13 and is known for his attacking style, using a variety of opening gambits to keep his opponents off their game.

Caruana, 25, is ranked No. 2 in the world and also is a prodigy, becoming a grandmaster at age 14. He has represented the United States and Italy in international competitions.

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The logo for the FIDE 2018 World Championships. Just want to say that’s a really uncomfortable way of playing chess. pic.twitter.com/YRexm5QVmt

— jonathan selvaraj (@jon_selvaraj) December 19, 2017
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Also bringing attention to the match is the championship’s provocative logo that has been called “pawnographic.” We’ll let you judge for yourself, though someone already has suggested the logo puts “the mate in check mate.”

The World Chess Championship will take place Nov. 9-28 in London.

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