Chess – A Great Mind Game to Play


Chess has been played for centuries, but it has only been in the past few decades that it has become a viable career option for a select few. For many years, chess players were considered to be amateurs who played the game for fun, but with the rise of the professional chess circuit, this perception has changed. In this essay, I will discuss the viability of chess as a career, looking at the pros and cons of pursuing this path and examining the evidence and research that has been done in this area.

Chess Needs Critical Analysis

The first thing to consider when discussing chess as a career is the financial aspect. Can someone make a living solely from playing chess? The answer is yes, but it is not easy. The vast majority of chess players do not make enough money from playing the game to support themselves, and even those who do often struggle to make ends meet. According to the FIDE (the World Chess Federation), there are around 1,500 chess players in the world who are considered to be professional. These players earn their living from a combination of tournament winnings, sponsorship deals, and coaching fees. However, the majority of professional players are not superstars like Magnus Carlsen or Fabiano Caruana, who are household names in the chess world. Instead, they are relatively unknown players who make a modest living from the game.

In terms of tournament winnings, the prize money available varies widely depending on the tournament. The top players can earn hundreds of thousands of dollars from major tournaments such as the Chess World Cup or the Candidates Tournament, while smaller tournaments may only offer a few thousand dollars in total prize money. Even if a player performs well consistently, they may still struggle to earn a living from tournament winnings alone, as they need to cover travel expenses, accommodation, and other costs.

Sponsorship deals can be a lucrative source of income for chess players, but they are also difficult to secure. Chess is not a mainstream sport, so there are relatively few companies that are interested in sponsoring chess players. The top players are more likely to attract sponsors, but even then, the amount of money they receive may not be enough to support them. For example, Magnus Carlsen, the current world champion, is sponsored by the Norwegian company, Arctic Securities. However, the amount of money he receives from this sponsorship is not public knowledge.

Coaching can be a more reliable source of income for chess players. There are also many professional players that offer coaching services to amateur players, and some make a decent living from this. However, coaching fees are not always consistent, and players may struggle to find enough clients to support themselves.

Another factor to consider is the amount of time and effort required to become a professional chess player. Chess is a highly competitive game, and the level of play required to become a professional is incredibly high. Players need to spend many hours studying and practicing, and even then, success is not guaranteed. The vast majority of players who try to make a career out of chess will fail, and even those who succeed may struggle to maintain their level of play over time.

Finally, it is worth considering the mental toll that a career in chess can take. Chess is a mentally demanding game, and players need to be able to handle the pressure of high-stakes competition. They also need to be able to deal with the disappointment of losing, which can be a significant challenge for some. The isolation of a career in chess can also be difficult, as players may spend many hours alone studying and practicing.


In conclusion, a career in chess is a viable option for a select few, but it is not an easy path to take. The financial rewards are limited, and the amount of time and effort required to become a professional player is high. However, for those who are passionate about the game and willing to.

By: Richard B Vadakkan

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