Make Money on Chess Business: People often ask me whether they will be able to become a grandmaster.
Another question that derives from it is: “How much will I be making?”
Young guys are especially pragmatic, so for many of them the choice between getting a job in the office and becoming a chess pro is quite acute.
Make Money on Chess Business: Making money on something that one loves is a great way of living.
In our case the love could be chess but most of us are not chess professionals (and we will not be them for some time at least)
So we have to look after another ways how to make money on chess.
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I tried to think about a few of them and ask my LinkedIn friends for their comments. Both will be foundable in this post.
My original ideas, how to make money on chess when you are an average club player (let’s say up to 1800 FIDE ELO) are:
Teaching children and beginners
Being a chess journalist
To organize chess tournaments
Let’s look at each of these options more closely.
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1. Make Money on Chess Business: Teaching children and beginners how to play chess
It is probably the very first idea that one can have and indeed, with FIDE rating around 1800 one should be able to explain rules, basic principles of openings, middle game and endings, understand basic psychology and learn beginners.
The problem in this case is that if you teach children and beginners, then you need a lot of pupils because you cannot expect high salary for teaching beginners and then…
Children and beginners can go from chess very easily and they really do it, because it is not easy to learn the game and they lost a lot of games in the beginning which may demoralize them.
You need a constant stream of new pupils in many schools, communities or clubs.
On the other side – working with children is a great thing (exhausting as well!) plus it is very cheap to start this chess business.
2. Make Money on Chess Business: Being a chess journalist
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It sounds like a dream job to write about chess and receive money for it but there is not too much newspapers or websites which would be willing to pay good money for chess articles written by a chess amateur.
On the other side, there is still a chance. The chance to be published requires your ability to write very well.
Learn grammar, visit some courses for journalists or writers and write, write, write.
3. Make Money on Chess Business: Organizing chess tournaments
In this case you need to be great in management of people and time and in sales and marketing.
If you want to make money on organizing chess tournaments, then you need a team around you and you have to be able to agree on cooperation with some sponsors.
Plus you have to “sell” the tournament to press and media people to arrange visibility to your sponsors.
I would not recommend you to organize a chess tournament with any experience in it.
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4. Playing for clubs.
Probably the main income of pre-elite grandmasters who are paid $5-20k for competing for a certain club.
5. Appearance fees
Works for top pros who are paid to “show up” at a certain event, thus boosting its prestige. A more modest and closely related term is “conditions” – usually coverage of hotel/travelling expenses, a small fee (few hundred bucks) at best.
6. Scholarships and stipends.
Bright chess-playing students may get some special burses.
Members of national teams also often have a special wage.
However, even in Russia, the official member of the Russian Olympic team’s salary has been symbolic up to this point (let’s hope the situation is going to become better in the future).
In many other countries they don’t have any special privileges at all.
To obtain those you basically have to prove that you either are already an established pro with a strong brand (and, preferably, good looks), or are highly likely to become one.
Then some companies may be willing to invest in being associated with you and ask for your endorsement.
8. Selling chess merchandise.
That was especially popular in the post-Soviet world when people would be travelling around the world with heavy bags of rare chess books and equipment and selling it at the events where they played.
Nowadays this looks less dramatic, but still works.
some people make money by beating other guys in blitz or bullet. You can see a lot of chess hustlers at parks or at chess clubs.
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Winning (or losing) money by correctly predicting the outcomes of chess matches, etc..
First steps should be helping other organizers and learn by them.
Where do they get chess material?
How do they deal with sponsors, press, with local municipalities and/or communities.?
How do they handle internet promotion of the tournament not only before the tournament.?
But also during and after the tournament, did the tournament finish with profit.?
Once you get experience, then start to think about your “own” tournament.
So organizing chess tournaments looks like a long way to make money.