How much money do professional chess players earn


I was just wondering...


Possibly of interest:
"... Many aspiring young chess players dream of one day becoming a grandmaster and a professional. ... But ... a profession must bring in at least a certain regular income even if one is not too demanding. ... The usual prize money in Open tournaments is meagre. ... The higher the prizes, the greater the competition. ... With a possibly not very high and irregular income for several decades the amount of money one can save for old age remains really modest. ... Anyone who wants to reach his maximum must concentrate totally on chess. That involves important compromises with or giving up on his education. ... it is a question of personal life planning and when deciding it is necessary to be fully conscious of the various possibilities, limitations and risks. ... a future professional must really love chess and ... be prepared to work very hard for it. ... It is all too frequent that a wrong evaluation is made of what a talented player can achieve. ... Most players have the potential for a certain level; once they have reached it they can only make further progress with a great effort. ... anyone who is unlikely to attain a high playing strength should on no account turn professional. ... Anyone who does not meet these top criteria can only try to earn his living with public appearances, chess publishing or activity as a trainer. But there is a lack of offers and these are not particularly well paid. For jobs which involve appearing in public, moreover, certain non-chess qualities are required. ... a relevant 'stage presence' and required sociability. ... All these jobs and existences, moreover, have hanging above them the sword of Damocles of general economic conditions. ... around [age] 40 chess players ... find that their performances are noticeably tailing off. ..." - from a 12 page chapter on becoming a chess professional in the book, Luther's Chess Reformation by GM Thomas Luther (2016)




depends on what tournaments they participate in



that woman above looks pleased lol.


Chess players make money the same way musicians make money: Gigs. You get paid by the gig to play a club (teach), a private party (one-on-one lesson), or with royalties from album sales (books, DVDs, digital video lessons etc). The best of the best can expect to be handheld like the geniuses they are, paid well, and kept on track to some kind of career....but we're talking 2740+ ; there are incredibly strong grandmasters out there who you haven't heard of unless you've bought their book (anyone heard of Matlakov? I haven't and he's 2700!)


Even if you play at IM strength, you can't expect to make even minimum wage from tournament winnings.


i want to become a professional chess player and i paid 10000 dollars to an im to get lessons on skype, my performances improved significantly but i still have zero chance of making it. i am dsabled and take medication see and it effects my concentration. i won about 400000 on online roulette and though i lost most of it and spent 60k dollars i am still 60k up from gambling over a period of 5 years. maybe i should stick to pro gambling but it is against my beliefs the misery i am sharing in so i try to get any money as a chess player


I've heard of Matlakhov. I'd say the players over 2700 live comfortably, not rich but comfortably. The ones that have made it over 2800 once shoulda been able to have enough extra to invest for the long term. My guess is players over 2600 can make a living just playing tournaments but maybe they're not super comfortable, would have to live on a reasonable budget.


After adding up all i spent on tournaments, entry fees, gas, travel, food, airfare, and whatever crap i buy at the bookstores for 2018? 

I am in the hole $904,832,958,231


There was a time... decades ago... when I made more money teaching at chess clubs than I did in my real job.

blueemu wrote:

There was a time... decades ago... when I made more money teaching at chess clubs than I did in my real job.

I make way more teaching than i do earning prize money.


IMs and NMs rarely refuse invitations to free dinner, lunch or coffee. That's how poor they are.

bong711 wrote:

IMs and NMs rarely refuse invitations to free dinner, lunch or coffee. That's how poor they are.

A few years ago at a tournament in Reno, Nevada, a friend and I had lunch with GM Sergey Kudrin.  He wouldn't let us pay for his lunch, so he must be doing ok.



I think most can earn enough money through teaching. If someone wants to make a living from just playing, then he/she should reconsider.


I think it's all about building a brand. You have to be marketable just like in anything else. Kasparov has boatloads of money compared to other world champions because he was able to find opportunities creatively. I used to be a big fan of Roman Dzindzichashvili's videos even though he was rated about 2500. I think he did quite well

What’s the difference between a GM and a large pizza?

A large pizza can feed a family of four.