Thursday, 29 March 2012

Gambling on Chess - Something new

Some may be surprised that there is such a thing as chess gambling, but it does exist. In fact there were strong suspicions that the final standings of the 2004 Chess Olympiad were affected due to a plunge on one of the teams scoring a big win over a close rival. However the nature of chess makes it hard to gamble effectively on individual games, given the absence of luck. However a variant of Chinese Chess is proving popular with gamblers in Vietnam. The pieces are first covered with plastic cups and then placed at random on the traditional starting spots on the board (I assume the General and his Guards start on their normal spots). The pieces remain covered until *after* their first move. For their first move they are moved as though they are the piece that belongs on the starting square, but after they are uncovered, they move as they are supposed to. This of course adds the element of luck that makes gambling worthwhile. While it has become popular in Vietnam, for some government officials it has become too popular, with a number of high profile arrests for gambling related embezzlements. The Calvin Ayre gambling blog has more detail on this new form of wagering.

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