Friday, January 20, 2012

How much does a chess pro make?

Unless you are a grandmaster (GM) or in a few cases an International Master (IM),its damn next to nothing. Its not enough to live a decent life or support a family.

In fact ,most GMs have a steady job or sideline aside from chess. The World Champion and the other "super GMs" make alright livings, but nothing compared to other professional sports ,such as golf, tennis or basketball.

If you can write well enough you can make a real living through writing and personal lessons...but even then it's tough. That is how most chess pros earn more money aside from cash prizes in tournaments.

Unlike other sports who get most of their income thru the live gate and TV coverage and therefore sponsors, the tough thing about chess is that it only becomes really engrossing when you know a lot about it . So it would be hard for a chess show to appeal to a mass market.

Have you ever paid to watch a chess match? Would you ever? If so how much? Ever seen chess players endorsing products on TV?

It also depends on where you live. Top chess players in the Philippines get a monthly allowance from the Philippine Sports Commission thru the National Chess Federation of the Philippines which is more than the minimum wage and also depends on your title. GMs get P20,000 per month and IMs P15,000. Some get P10,000.

Other countries who support their chess players are Vietnam,China and India. I understand that in Armenia ,Iceland and Azerbaijan, their top players are considered national heroes and taken cared of.

Top GMs usually get "additions" when they play .In some cases they even receive "pocket money" for each day as well. The participants in Tata Steel, Linares, Bazna Kings or other major tournaments do not pay such expenses as travel, food, or hotel.

Here are the main legal means of earning money in chess based on an article by WGM Natalia Pogonina:
1)Prize money.The winner of the world championship typically gets $1-2 million. (1,300,000 euros for Anand in 2010). By winning a top event (e.g. Linares or Tata) one gets something like 100,000 euros.Top open events normally have a first prize of about $20k . A typical event won by a 2500+ GM has a first prize of below $5k. Of course, there are exceptions like Cebuano Josito Dondon who won $10k in the Under 2000 sometime ago.
2)Appearance fees – works for top pros who are paid to “show up” at a certain event, thus boosting its prestige
3) Scholarships and stipends. Members of national teams also often have a special wage. Here in Cebu, members of the school team receive scholarships and sometimes a playing allowance during tournaments. Wesley So just recently was rewarded a scholarship from Texas Tech.
4) Teaching . On the Internet IMs and GMs charge about $20-50 per hour. Personal lessons are also given by some of our top players locally for a fee.
5)Performances. simuls, exhibition matches and other events of this type.
6)Literature .writing chess columns like Chessmoso.
7)Organizational work .being an arbiter, tournament director, steward etc.
8)Hustling . You can see a lot of chess hustlers at parks or at chess clubs. Humprey Bogart and Stanley Kubrick made good money before they became famous.
The top 4 players in the world are estimated to be each earning over a million dollars annually. Being in the top 10,you should make over $200k while the top 50 should have over $100k.
All the others can make an alright living out of chess provided you're prepared to teach, etc and not just play.
Cepca-Our January tournament is on the 29th at Deep Blue in SM City, Registration is P200 and format is active and 5 rounds Swiss.,

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