Fergus Jones

Fergus Jones

Hi, my name is Fergus Jones, and I'm a passionate chess player. I fell in love with this game when I was just a child, and it's been a significant part of my life ever since. Over the years,

Checkmate: The Earnings of Professional Chess Players Unveiled



This game of strategy and intellect is not just a pastime, but a profession for some. In this blog post, we will delve into the intriguing aspects of the professional chess world and the earnings of its players. Whether you’re a chess enthusiast, an aspiring player, or simply curious, this post will provide you with valuable insights.

    • Overview of the professional chess world

A global community of highly skilled players, known as Grandmasters. These individuals have dedicated their lives to mastering the game, often starting their journey at a very young age. Competitions are held worldwide, with the most prestigious being the World Chess Championship. The reigning champion, as of this writing, is Magnus Carlsen from Norway. The professional chess world is a testament to the game’s enduring popularity and the high level of skill and strategy it demands.

    • The earnings of professional chess players

It provides a realistic picture of the financial prospects in this field. Not all chess players earn the same; income can vary greatly based on factors such as ranking, tournament winnings, endorsements, and teaching. Sheds light on the financial challenges that players may face, particularly those who are not at the top of the rankings. And it can inspire aspiring players to strive for success, knowing the potential rewards that await at the pinnacle of the profession.

Magnus Carlsen: A Case Study

One of the most influential figures in the world of chess is Magnus Carlsen. His strategic prowess and relentless determination have made him a household name in the industry. In this section, we will explore the net worth of this chess grandmaster and the factors contributing to it.

Magnus Carlsen Net Worth

As of 2021, Magnus Carlsen’s net worth is estimated to be around $8 million. This wealth is primarily derived from his career as a professional chess player, but also includes endorsements, sponsorships, and other ventures.

  • Overview of Magnus Carlsen’s net worth: Magnus Carlsen’s net worth is a testament to his success in the chess world. His earnings come from a variety of sources, including tournament winnings, endorsements, and even his own chess app, Play Magnus. His net worth is estimated to be around $8 million, making him one of the wealthiest chess players in the world.
  • Factors contributing to Magnus Carlsen’s net worth: Several factors contribute to Magnus Carlsen’s net worth. His consistent performance in international tournaments has earned him substantial prize money. Additionally, his endorsements with companies like Porsche and G-Star RAW add to his income. Carlsen also owns the company Play Magnus, which has a chess training app and organizes chess tournaments, further increasing his wealth.

Magnus Carlsen’s net worth is a reflection of his success in the chess world. His strategic brilliance, combined with his business ventures and endorsements, have contributed to his impressive wealth.

How Much Does Magnus Carlsen Make?

    • Breakdown of Magnus Carlsen’s earnings

His primary income comes from tournament winnings. For instance, in 2019, he won the World Chess Championship and earned a whopping $1 million. He also makes money from endorsement deals and sponsorships. Companies like Microsoft and Arctic Securities have sponsored him. Additionally, he earns from his chess app, Play Magnus, which encourages people to learn and play chess.

    • Comparison with other top chess players

When compared to other top chess players, Magnus Carlsen stands out. His earnings are significantly higher than most of his peers. For example, Fabiano Caruana, the second highest-rated chess player, has a net worth of around $4 million, which is less than half of Carlsen’s estimated net worth of $8 million. This disparity is due to Carlsen’s superior performance in tournaments, lucrative endorsement deals, and successful chess app.

Magnus Carlsen’s earnings are a testament to his exceptional skill and marketability in the world of chess. He has set a new standard for professional chess players, showing that it is possible to earn a substantial income from the game.

For more detailed information about Magnus Carlsen’s earnings and comparison with other top chess players, you can visit his Wikipedia page.

How to Become a Chess Grandmaster

    • The Chess Rating System

A method used to calculate the skill level of players. The higher the rating, the stronger the player. The Elo rating system is the most commonly used system. In this system, a beginner might have a rating of around 800, while a grandmaster will typically have a rating above 2500.

    • Training and Practice Requirements

Becoming a grandmaster, this involves studying chess books, practicing tactics, and playing games against strong opponents. Many grandmasters spend several hours a day studying and practicing chess. It’s also beneficial to work with a chess coach who can provide guidance and feedback.

    • Participation in Tournaments

Provide the opportunity to play against a variety of opponents and gain experience in different game situations. It’s important to participate in international tournaments as well, as these are required for earning the grandmaster title.

    • Obtaining the Grandmaster Title

The highest title a chess player can achieve, to earn this title, a player must achieve a rating of at least 2500 and fulfill other requirements set by the World Chess Federation (FIDE). These requirements include earning three ‘grandmaster norms’, which are achieved by performing at a high level in tournaments involving other grandmasters.

A chess grandmaster is not an easy task. It requires a lot of hard work, dedication, and a love for the game. But with the right approach and mindset, it’s a goal that can be achieved.

How Much Do Professional Chess Players Make?

Income Sources for Chess Players

  • Tournament winnings: This is the most direct way chess players earn money. The amount they win depends on the size and prestige of the tournament. For instance, the World Chess Championship offers a prize fund of over $1 million!
  • Sponsorships and endorsements: Top players often receive sponsorships from companies who want to associate their brand with the player’s success. These sponsorships can be quite lucrative, especially for players with a high public profile.
  • Coaching and training others: Many chess players offer coaching services to less experienced players. This can be a steady source of income, especially for players who have a knack for teaching.
  • Online streaming and content creation: With the rise of the internet, many chess players have turned to online platforms to share their knowledge and skills. They can earn money through ad revenue, subscriptions, and donations from their viewers.

Professional chess players have several ways to earn money. The amount they make can vary greatly, depending on factors such as their skill level, popularity, and the number of tournaments they participate in. But one thing is clear: with dedication and hard work, it’s possible to make a living from playing chess.

Factors Influencing Chess Players’ Earnings

  • Player’s Ranking: This is because top-ranked players are often invited to high-stakes tournaments with substantial prize money. For instance, Magnus Carlsen, the current World Chess Champion, is one of the highest-earning chess players due to his top ranking. [source]
  • Popularity and Marketability: Popular players can attract sponsorships and endorsements, which can significantly boost their income. For example, Garry Kasparov, a former World Chess Champion, has been a popular figure in the chess world and has had numerous endorsements throughout his career. [source]
  • Number of Tournaments Played: More tournaments mean more opportunities to win prize money. Balance the number of tournaments played with the need for rest and preparation. Overplaying can lead to burnout and decreased performance. [source]

A chess player’s earnings are influenced by their ranking, their popularity and marketability, and the number of tournaments they play. While these factors can vary greatly from player to player, they all contribute to the potential earnings a professional chess player can make.

Do Chess Grandmasters Have Other Jobs?

    • Examples of chess grandmasters with other professions

For instance, John Nunn, a British grandmaster, is also a respected author and mathematician. Similarly, Ken Rogoff, an American grandmaster, is a renowned economist and professor at Harvard University. These are just a few examples that show chess grandmasters can excel in other professions.

    • Reasons why some chess grandmasters pursue other jobs

One of the main reasons is financial stability. Despite the prestige associated with the title, not all grandmasters earn a high income from chess. Therefore, having another job can provide a more stable income. Another reason is the desire for intellectual challenge. Chess grandmasters are often highly intelligent individuals who enjoy applying their strategic thinking skills to other areas. Finally, some grandmasters may simply have other passions or interests they wish to pursue alongside chess.

While chess is a significant part of their lives, many chess grandmasters also have other careers. Whether for financial reasons, intellectual stimulation, or personal passion, these grandmasters prove that it’s possible to excel in chess and other fields simultaneously.


  • Summary of Key Points: We’ve learned a lot about the world of professional chess in this article. We began with an introduction to the game and its professional scene, followed by a case study of Magnus Carlsen, one of the top players in the world. We then explored the journey to becoming a chess grandmaster, including the intense training and dedication required. We also delved into the earnings of professional chess players, revealing that while the top players can make a substantial income, many others supplement their earnings with other jobs.
  • Final Thoughts on the Earnings of Professional Chess Players: The earnings of professional chess players can vary greatly. Top players like Magnus Carlsen can earn millions, but many grandmasters supplement their income with coaching, writing, and other chess-related activities. It’s clear that while chess can be a lucrative career for some, it’s not just about the money. The love of the game, the intellectual challenge, and the thrill of competition are what truly drive these players. As the famous chess player Bobby Fischer once said, “Chess is life.”

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