How To Make Money on Chess When You Are an Average Club Player?

MoneyMaking 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. 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.

Teaching children and beginners how to play chess

It is probablz 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.

So 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.

Being a chess journalist

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.

Organizing chess tournaments

In this case you need to be great in managament of people and time and in sales and marketing. Why? 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. First steps should be helping other organizers and learn by them. Where do they get chess material? How much money does the playing hall, referee, chess federation fees etc. cost. 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 long way to make money.

Some thoughts from LinkedIn friends

I mentioned above that I asked my friends for their opinions and ideas. Here are some of them:

Joseph Fatula: There is a limited market for chess instructors in most places but in other places the demand is better. I saw an ad for a chess instructor in the Philadelphia area that paid $50K. That’s good money especially in today’s economy.

Bob Salvas: As an average player, the best route is to teach chess to children. You do not have to be master level to teach, especially to teach beginners. I have heard that a player rated 1600 USCF with good communication skills with children can become a chess teacher/coach. I have been teaching kids for about 12 years but I am not sure I could have had the patience for it prior to having my own children. It may be a bit easier to find something like this on a part-time basis.
In my 12 years, I have a few kids who developed fast and I passed them along as a referral to some good chess instructors I know who are master level and above. Naturally they charge more than I do, but I can be like a filtering process for the big guns… Few parents want to pay big bucks for beginner training but are more apt to do that if their child develops a strong interest and aptitude for the game.

Warren Porter: Scholastic chess became a new hobby and I ran at least one rated tournament a year through the civic club I was in. Have done my share of teaching, coaching, and simuls in schools (last rating: 1980) as a volunteer but would love to start bringing in the green stuff for it now.

Karel van Delft: Apart from children in general there are special groups like highly gifted (in the Netherlands chess in is the curriculum of the so called Leonardo schools). Also for autists chess has much to offer. My Fide elo is 1800, but I have some additional experience as a trainer, professional journalist and I studied psychology. Now I work with highly gifted and autists as a profession.

Phil Hooton: I have no official chess rating, and have run my own chess coaching business very successfully for the past 10 years. I’ve taught a number of kids throughout their whole primary school life (ie. 6 years). Many have qualified for state championships etc. I teach everyday in different primary schools in Australia Victoria and run inter-school tournaments through Chess Victoria.
I believe you have to be a good player, but what is also really important is being able to have fun with the kids. They must first like you!
Providing good structured lessons and being able to connect with the kids, I think is the key.

Mongoose Press: Realistically, teaching beginners is by far the most promising path. It will not make you rich, but there is a lot to be said for enjoying what you do!

George Krasnopolskiy: I think we need to think outside the box. While much of this discussion is focused on staying in the chess world, I find that people need to combine the skills they have with their passion for chess to make money. Developers can develop training tools that chess players could never, variations of chess such as chessboxing and bughouse are flourishing too.

And what is your opinion on this theme?

You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

4 Responses to “How To Make Money on Chess When You Are an Average Club Player?”

  1. Nikola says:

    this is good tip how can kids can make money for their future

  2. Bob Salvas says:

    Good article. One important point you mentioned that people need to pay attention to is the attrition that will happen in a beginner chess class for kids. I run my main one through the town and they get information about the classes into the school systems so there is some built-in marketing. If you don’t have that type of situation, you need to build it up with some marketing and publicity as well as word-of-mouth. Once you get it going well and have solid word-of-mouth behind you, you can cut back a little on the marketing expense. I have done targeted direct mail to homes with children between 8-12. We take younger as well but those parents usually find us. If you teach beginner chess and have marketing questions, feel free to email me at [email protected]

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  4. Asim says:

    I agree with George (above) in combining the skills that one has.

    I had a passion for Chess and I also learned Java/Android at work.
    Now I make money by developing Chess apps for Android! (

    It gives a lot of pleasure knowing that Chess has helped you make money in some way which also helps your day job (since you learn something new everytime you sit down to code)


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