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You want to get a little familiar with the chess rules before starting a game?

Preface to the Chess Rules

There are already numerous chess sites, which contain the rules sometimes very detailed, sometimes rather concise. In order to also offer the users of a quick point of contact for any questions, I would like to try to explain the rules of the game in an understandable way. Chess Pro also supports you directly in learning by showing you, for example, the possible fields for a piece when you click on it.

If you have further questions about chess or Chess Pro, you are also invited to have a look at our FAQ. You prefer videos? Then jump directly to the section with further sources.

Bet on Chess with Bitcoin

Chessboard image in the basic positionChess is a round game for two players. This means that the player to whom the white pieces have been assigned starts each time, then the black player bets. White has a small advantage because it starts.

The square playing field consists of 8×8, i.e. 64 squares, on which the pieces can be moved. Only one piece can be placed on each square. There are different types of pieces which can be moved in different ways, more about that. The central figure is the king. If your own king is threatened in such a way that it would be beaten in the next one, it is called a checkmate.

Each player has several pieces at his disposal:

  • Eight pawns
  • Two Springer
  • Two runners
  • Two towers
  • A lady
  • and a king

Each game begins with the so-called basic position, in which all pieces have their fixed place. This is also shown in the illustration. For better orientation the squares are marked with letters on the horizontal and numbers on the vertical. For example, the white king stands at the beginning on the square e1 of the chessboard.

The basic position

If you want to build it yourself in the future, you can remember the following:

  • Queen on the respective D-basic field, it applies: “White queen, white field”. The white queen is positioned on d1, the black queen on d8.
  • Kings on the e-line next to each other. So the white king from the white player’s point of view to the right, the black king from the black player’s point of view to the left of the queen.
  • The 2 runners each surround the queen and king. For white: c1 and f1, for black: c8 and f8.
  • The 2 knights surround the bishops. For white: b1 and g1, for black: b8 and g8.
  • Towers to the edge. For white: a1 and h1, for black: a8 and h8.
  • The 8 pawns in the row in front. Now the only thing left is to fill up the 2 (white) or 7 (black) row with the eight pawns.

The pieces are in place? Then we continue with the general move rules.

General move rules for chess

Although each chess piece can move differently, there are some rules you can remember:

  • There is a compulsion to move!
  • One move: A piece of your colour is moved to another square (exception: castling).
  • No piece of your own may be placed on the target field.
  • If there is another piece on the target field, this is called capturing a piece.
  • Apart from the knight and the rook in castling, pieces may not skip occupied squares.
  • If a pawn could be captured in the next move, it is threatened.
  • If one of the kings is threatened, it is called chess. If the respective player cannot finish the chess with his next move, the player is checkmate.
  • The player may not put himself into chess!

The individual chess pieces

Since each type of piece can be moved differently in chess and has a few peculiarities, the pieces must be considered separately. In this short overview I present you the most important movement possibilities. You can get details about the respective figure by clicking on the name of the figure.


If the pawn is still on his starting position, he can be moved forward by two squares if both squares are empty. In other situations, the pawn can only move one square straight if it is empty, or can move a piece to the right or left diagonally in front of him.


  • Possible moves of the jumper, i.e. black jumper on e4The special feature of the jumper is that he can jump over pieces. The best way to show the sequence of his moves is to use the illustration on the right (click to enlarge the graphic). The knight can move to one of the fields marked green.
  • The decisive factor is that this field is not occupied by its own piece. The knight moves are explained by the World Chess Federation FIDE as follows:
  • The knight may move to one of the squares closest to his standing square, but not on the same row, line or diagonal as the standing square.
  • In other words, one square diagonally and one straight, but on a square that is not directly adjacent to its current position. Another example


The bishop can move on the diagonals that cross his square, here from the square c4. He cannot skip occupied squares, but he can also capture a piece by moving to the corresponding square.


The tower can move on its vertical and horizontal lines to an obstacle or can move to a square occupied by an opponent’s piece and beat it. The figure shows an example of this.


The queen’s moves in chess, here white queen on c6The queen combines the moves of the bishop and the rook. It can be moved on its diagonals, horizontally or vertically up to an obstacle or hit another piece. The graphic on the right shows how differently the queen can be moved.


King – Movement possibilities using an example (black king on g7)The king can be moved to all squares immediately adjacent to his standing square and capture the figure standing there. It should also be noted that the player himself is not in chess afterwards.

En passant

A special farm procession is en passant. That’s what I think the Wikipedia article explains, quite aptly:

In chess, passing is defined as the ability to make a move with a pawn to hit an opponent’s pawn even if the pawn moves from its starting position beyond its own pawn’s range by a double step. In this case, the pawn move is to be considered as if it had only taken one step forward from the starting position instead of two. En passant may only be beaten immediately after the opponent’s double move and only by his own pawn.

Castling large and small

White’s Small Chess CastlingThe castling is the only possible double move in chess. In castling, the king moves the rook further away from him (white: to the left). In castling, the king moves to the other rook (white: to the right). The requirements:

  • The fields between the king and the tower are empty.
  • The king and the tower have not yet been moved.
  • The king is not allowed to be in chess at the moment, he is not allowed to go over a chessboard, i.e. if he moves one or two
  • squares in the direction of the rook, he is not allowed to be in chess.

In castling, the king is first moved two squares in the direction of the respective rook. Then the rook is moved so that it stands inside and next to the king. has numerous examples of this.

Pawns transformation

The moment your pawn reaches the opponent’s baseline, he is transformed into a queen, rook, bishop or knight, depending on the player’s preference. Therefore, the pawns have a very special meaning in the endgame.

End of a chess game

The goal of each player is to checkmate the opponent and win the game. In chess, the opponent can also give up the game, with the same effect.

A draw, that is a draw, occurs…

…if both players have agreed on it.
…when there are only two kings left on the board.
…if, apart from the two kings, only one light figure (bishop or knight) is left on the board, because a mat is then no longer possible.
…if 50 moves no pawn was drawn and no piece was captured (50 moves rule).
…if 3 times the same position is reached on the board, one time it includes the move of white and black.

A stalemate, also a tie, is reached when a player is not in check but has no more possibilities to place a piece.