Top 10 Things You Need to Know About Chess Player’s Salary and Career

is there a career in chess

Are you looking to start a career in chess? Or you always wanted to know how much income do chess players make?

I was always interested in learning what the options would be if I decide to make chess as a career. We all know that any ordinary person can become chess players but do not intend to make it as a career, maybe because they don’t have an idea what to expect if they choose this type of path.

In this article, I have decided to find out and research this topic of chess careers. The ten things that I have written below are things you need to know about a chess player’s career and salary! 

I’m very much confident that after reading this post, you’ll know what to expect if you decide to become a professional chess player!

Top 10 Things You Need to Know About Chess Player’s Salary and Career

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1. Is There Any Career in Chess? Am I Suitable to be a Chess Player?

A career as a professional chess player is suitable for people who have a deep passion for playing chess. On top of that, a person who would like to pursue a career as a chess player needs to possess the ability to make a smart decision quickly. 

Apart from that, a good chess player also needs to be able to strategize an effective strategy to defeat the opponent by thinking ahead of everyone else.

If you are the type of person that enjoys playing chess with your friends and family members during your free time, maybe you should consider pursuing this type of Career so that you could turn your hobby into something that is much more productive. 

There is a lot of chess tournaments that you could enter that offer prizes in the form of cash. As a chess player, you will spend most of your time involving yourself in chess tournaments that will require you to fight against other chess players. However, some chess players may also be able to earn money by teaching new chess players in schools.

2. What is the Best Way for me to Succeed in this Career?

It is quite hard to recommend the best way for an average person to succeed in this Career as it mainly depends on your cognitive skills to respond to your opponent’s move as well as to make a fast and practical decision.

 However, most of the chess players that had success in this Career would usually start by entering multiples famous chess tournaments so that they would be able to have the chance to gain the result that they want. 

Once they have gained a reputation and social proof from these tournaments, they would then try to use these results to apply for some sponsorship from companies to get some funds.

By doing this, they would be able to enter major chess tournaments that would usually need a considerable amount of money to be deposited.

Depending on each player, some may choose to enter the chess tournaments as a way for them to get a side income, while other players may make it their primary source of income, which means that most of their income would be from winning in chess tournaments. 

In a nutshell, you should always assess your capability so that you will be able to plan well for your future in this Career.

3. How Much Can I Expect to Make as a Chess Player?

It is hard to know exactly how much does a chess player would make per month as it would depend on several factors such as the type of tournaments that a chess player chooses to participate in, the number of the chess tournaments that the player participates, the rank of the chess player, the popularity of the chess player as well as the number of sponsorship that the chess player has gained in his or her chess career. 

Most of the chess players in India would not be able to depend on the prizes that are offered in the tournaments that are held locally there.

This is because the prizes offered in the chess tournaments are minimal, and it’s not that lucrative for some people. Traveling overseas to participate in a chess tournament is the right way for you to increase your income for as long as the amount of money that you need for accommodation and travel does not exceed the prize money offered in the tournament. 

It’s highly recommended to psych yourself up physically and mentally to prevent any emotions such as fear or lack of confidence from getting the best of you during the tournaments.

4. How is a Day as a Chess Player Look Like?

A day in the life of a chess player would usually require you to sharpen your moves with other chess players by playing against them and researching the most effective strategy that could be implemented during the game on the internet.

Apart from that, you will also be having discussions about chess with your fellow chess members in the club. When there is an ongoing chess tournament, that’s when you will be actively involving yourself with chess as you will be competing with a lot of chess players out there to win the main prize.

An international tournament will usually need you to do a lot of traveling. As a professional chess player, you will have to be able to know how to handle the sports media to maintain your good reputation in the public eye.

Some public relations, as well as communication skills, are needed to make sure that you would be able to maintain the right image. This is important because a good picture will increase the chance of getting a sponsorship from companies that would enable you to earn more.

5. Are There Any Perks in This Career?

One of the perks that you would have in this Career is doing what you love to earn for a living, and I could tell you that not many people had the chance to do what they love as their job. Apart from being able to do what you love the most while making money at the same time, you also have the freedom of time as most chess players will have flexible working hours that enables them to play chess effectively in major tournaments.

However, you should always know how to balance your time between training for competitions and rest so that you would be able to enjoy living as a chess player. You would be able to decide the time that you want to work and the time that you want to rest.

Besides that, being a chess player also means that you would be able to enjoy some traveling to different sets of locations to meet different types of people with a variety of cultures.

It’s a suitable career choice for those who want to earn a living by playing chess while at the same time wanted to explore the world.

6. What are the Consequences of Becoming a Chess Player?

You will be able to make a considerable amount of money, but only if you are the best chess player within your areas and the probability of having a hard financial situation as a chess player is quite high. Often, you will need to spend a considerable amount of money out of your pocket or get sponsorships from companies to fund you for some major tournaments to move your chess career to the next level.

Apart from that, keep in mind that you should always put aside some money in your bank account to cover for your accommodation and travel costs just in case something happens.

The opportunities that are available that would enable you to progress to the next level are also quite limited, and the same goes for other parts of the world. Unless you can secure other jobs that are linked with chess, such as being a tutor or get sponsorship from companies, then you would most likely spend your time working in the freelance form.

Keep in mind that the chance for you to earn money in the tournaments may not be available as regularly as you would expect it to be.

7. What Should I Expect in a Standard Chess Tournament?

Just like any other tournaments of other sports in the world that involves a vast number of players, the competition to get the main prize in a chess tournament is hugely competitive.

This is the reason why you should always practice to sharpen your moves and strategy so that you would be able to think ahead of everybody else in the tournament as just like the wise men used to say, “Practice makes perfect.” At the entry-level, you will find a high number of people competing, but the number of people that will be competing with you in the tournament will decrease as you progress into the higher rank.

Another thing for you to bear in mind is the fact that the international as well professional chess player will usually get free access to the lower-tier tournaments. The participation of these professionals will significantly reduce the probability for an amateur level chess player to win in the competition.

However, don’t get discouraged because just because you’re an amateur chess player, that does not mean that you can’t beat a professional chess player. So, try to prove that you are better than the professionals by beating them in a chess tournament to get sponsorship and popularity, which will help you to get your chess career to the next level.

8. Where are the Best Locations to Pursue this Career?

The perfect places for chess players from all around the world to pursue a career as a professional chess player would be in the EU as well as in the USA. There is no specific region in the EU and USA where the prospects are different as they are all pretty much the same, and all of the areas in the EU and USA offer the same prizes for the players so that the players will have equal opportunities to win in the tournaments.

If we take a look in India, professional chess players would not have the chance to make a living there as I have mentioned previously, the prizes are minimal, and sometimes the money is not enough.

Thanks to the rapid development of technology, anyone from any part of the world will now be able to have access to some online chess tournaments that may be accessed via the internet. The only thing that you need is a smooth internet connection, a laptop as well as a credit card.

9. What are the Legal Ways of Earning Money as a Chess Player?

The first way that you could earn money by playing chess is obviously by winning the prizes offered in chess tournaments.

The second way that you could earn money is by playing chess for your clubs. Some pre-elite GM or grandmasters are making as high as $20k per month just by playing chess for a particular club.

The third way you can earn money is by getting an appearance fee. An appearance fee works for those who already have popularity and an excellent reputation as a chess player. People would usually pay an appearance fee to these types of players to attract more people to come into the event.

Apart from that, you could also earn money through scholarships provided by some companies and institutions. Chess players that have the potential to perform well in tournaments will most likely get special funds deposited into their account to help them in their chess career.

The fourth way that you could earn money is by coaching new players. Providing peer-to-peer coaching is quite lucrative and easy to do as well, provided that you already have the necessary experience and reputations.

10. How Much Can I Earn in a Chess Tournament?

The top winner of the world chess championship would usually get around $1 to 2 million US dollars. If you get to be the winner of certain popular events, you would most probably get somewhere around $110,000 US dollars.

Any amount of money that is offered above $50,000 US dollars would usually be a prestigious round-robin, and some of the top events would typically provide their first prize somewhere around $20,000 US dollars. A regular game would often offer only about $5,000 US dollars or less than that.

Hence, you should always check the prize money that you would want to win after you have gone through all the necessary training and coachings with your chess coach.

Keep in mind that one may need to perform above 2700 to win the first prize in a regular event so be sure to sharpen your mind and strategy by practicing with your friends, doing some research on the internet and reading some books to help you be the best chess player in the world.

Just remember that anything is possible, so don’t lose hope in becoming the best.

I do hope you were able to learn a lot of things about the career and salary of a professional chess player.

Let me give you a quick summary below!

Wrapping Up


In this article, I mentioned that if you are passionate enough about chess, then you have a higher chance of turning your passion into a profession. It will take time, but if you are determined enough, then I’m sure you’ll have an outstanding career as a professional chess player.

Another important thing you need to keep in mind is that you need to be actively participating in tournaments to be recognized and become well known in the industry. If you follow a good reputation and have a good record, then companies might approach you to sponsor you in tournaments.

You’ll also learn about several factors that will determine your potential income as a professional chess player. Once you have become a professional chess player, your day will consist mainly of improving your skills almost every day by playing chess with other professional chess players just like you.

Here’s my favorite out of these ten things you need to know about having a career in chess…

The legal ways of earning money as a chess player! I never imagined grandmasters are earning a lot just by attending and playing in a chess club. That’s amazing! 🙂 Besides the monetary incentive, you need to love the game of chess, because if you choose chess as a career, you should be interested in every aspect of the game!

Those are just some of the things you need to know about thinking of becoming a professional chess player! Of course, there are more stuff you need to know, but I’m sure the list above will help you decide if this is what you want to pursue in life! 

Again, thanks for reading this article, and if you do have friends or family who like to become a professional chess player, please share this post to them! Enjoy learning about a chess career!



Gary Flores

Hi there! I'm a dad with kids who loves to learn how to play chess by learning online - also, this is my way of refreshing my knowledge about this game of tactics & strategy. I created chessdelights.com to inspire people who are also learning, re-learning or teaching their kids the game of chess.

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