The King of Kaliṅga was a friend of Rukmī and gave him the ill advice to play chess with Balarāma and thus defeat Him in a bet. Among kṣatriya kings, gambling on chess was not uncommon. If someone challenged a kṣatriya to play on the chessboard, the kṣatriya could not refuse the challenge. Śrī Balarāmajī was not a very expert chess player, and this was known to the King of Kaliṅga. So Rukmī was advised to retaliate against the family members of Kṛṣṇa by challenging Balarāma to play chess. Although not an expert chess player, Śrī Balarāmajī was very enthusiastic in sporting activities. He accepted Rukmī’s challenge and sat down to play. Betting was with gold coins, and Balarāma first of all challenged with one hundred coins, then one thousand coins, then ten thousand coins. Each time, Balarāma lost, and Rukmī was victorious.
Śrī Balarāma's losing the game was an opportunity for the King of Kaliṅga to criticize Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma. Thus the King of Kaliṅga was talking jokingly while purposefully showing his teeth to Balarāma. Because Balarāma was the loser in the game, He was a little intolerant of the sarcastic joking words and became somewhat agitated. Rukmī again challenged Balarāma and made a bet of a hundred thousand gold coins, but fortunately this time Balarāma won. Nonetheless, out of cunningness Rukmī claimed that Balarāma was the loser and that he himself had won. Because of this lie, Balarāmajī became most angry with Rukmī. His agitation was so sudden and great that it appeared like a tidal wave in the ocean on a full-moon day. Balarāma's eyes are naturally reddish, and when He became agitated and angry His eyes became more reddish. This time He challenged and made a bet of a hundred million coins.
Again Balarāma was the winner according to the rules of chess, but Rukmī again cunningly claimed that he had won. Rukmī appealed to the princes present, and he especially mentioned the name of the King of Kaliṅga. During the dispute there was a voice from the sky, and it announced that for all honest purposes Balarāma was the actual winner of this game, that He was being abused, and that the statement of Rukmī that he had won was absolutely false.