If you think that Grandmasters make a lot of money then the answer is no. Now, this reality is very hard to accept. To become grandmaster, the player invests atleast 10 years, money, efforts, mental suffering, etc. If you invest the same time in the corporate world then maybe you can earn a lot more. Now above case is only taken if the grandmaster is a full-time chess player. If GM started chess coaching then he can earn a lot of money. In this article, we will talk about how much does a chess grandmaster make.
To understand better, I have divided grandmasters into 3 category
How much does a chess grandmaster make?
On average Grandmasters make $20000-$75000. These numbers are very relative to the country in which they are living, language, stream of income. Elite-level grandmasters (Top 15 in the world) earn more than $75000 per year.
By playing full-time chess, even grandmasters above 2600 also cannot make a decent amount of money. The real way to earn decent money is to stop playing chess after reaching a certain level and start coaching.
In the following list, we will see how grandmasters can make money and live a very good life, and earn a lot of money.
Ways to make money for grandmasters
Grandmasters can earn a good amount by just playing in a few countries where the cost of living is low and the prize fund is high. In most countries, it is very difficult to make a good amount of money by just playing chess.
Only grandmasters above 2700 can live only by playing chess. Thanks to development in online tournaments. Several websites conduct online tournaments regularly and these top-level players get prizes from these tournaments.
Most of the open events have total prizes of $10k-$25k where 1st prize is between $2k-$5k. Imagine 2600 is playing for $3000 1st prize and he is investing his time, efforts, and almost 7-9 days. If the same GM decided to take coaching for a minimum of $50 per hour then he can get the same amount in just 60 hours. We have considered minimum coaching fees and compared with 1st prize which is mostly very difficult for any player. Also, chess coaching is a very efficient and risk-free income source.
This is the most preferable income source for any chess player. Grandmasters are earning a lot of money only by chess coaching. Grandmasters usually charge anywhere from $50-$500 per hour. Some grandmasters charge even more for group coaching or fulfilling special needs.
Chess coaching is a very good opportunity for every chess player. Also, many parents think that if their son/daughter learns from GM then he/she will become GM faster. For this reason, many parents prefer coaching from Grandmaster.
Here is a table from which you will get an idea.
|Rating||Charges per hour|
These charges can differ from person to person and country to country. In India, Grandmasters usually charge $30-$75 for chess coaching.
Some successful GM coaches
- Rustam Kasimdzhanov
- Ni Hua
- Sergey Zagrebelny
- Xie Jun
- Jacob Aagaard
Second or official coach
Many grandmasters work for some other grandmasters to help them to prepare. These coaches called seconds. Also, some GMs work for their official country’s team.
Usually, this type of player charges $50-$100 per hour. It can also be project-based. E.g. Some grandmasters work for other grandmasters or teams for a particular tournament.
Right now only Elite grandmasters can afford to have their team for full time. So I think there will be around 50-75 grandmasters who are working as a second or official coach of the national team. Here are some players who are working or worked as a coach or official coach
- Daniil Dubov – Team Magnus Carlsen
- Peter Heine Nielsen – Team Magnus Carlsen
- Jon Ludvig Hammer – Team Magnus Carlsen
- Sergey Karjakin – Team Ian Nepomniachtchi
- RB Ramesh – Worked as official chess coach of Indian Team
- Victor Bologan – Chess coach of Qatar Team
- Erwin l’Ami – Team Anish Giri
When the web 2.0 economy started, content creation become the main source of income for many people. Grandmasters are also earning a lot of money through content creation. Content creation includes chess streaming, Video Creation, Writing books, creating courses,
Content Creation doesn’t provide a stable income but many people are earning a lot of money by just creating chess content. E.g. Hikaru Nakamura is earning more than $50k per month by just streaming on twitch and youtube. Here are a few examples
Youtube Video Creators
- GM Hikaru Nakamura
- GM Vidit Gujrathi
- GM Anish Giri
- GM Taimour Radjabov
- GM Magnus Carlsen
- GM Surya Shekhar Ganguly
- GM Bok Benjamin
- GM Hikaru Nakamura
- GM Erik Hansen
- GM Ben Finegold
- GM Gata Kamsky
Book writers and Course creators
- GM Jacob Aagaard
- GM Sethuraman SP
- GM Anish Giri
- GM Mikhail Marin
- GM Karsten Muller
- GM Boris Gelfand
Jobs and sponsorships
Many countries provide stable government jobs and scholarships for IMs and GMs. Although the amount they give is much lower. The main advantage of a government job is you get a fixed income and also benefits like free travel, different allowance. Also in India, You don’t need to do a full-time job if you get recruited from the sports quota.
Also in some countries, Private sponsors and governments provide scholarships to grandmasters so that they can play chess without any worry. Here is the list of different Indian organization which provides Government job through sports quota
- Income Tax Department
- Indian Post
- Indian Railways
- Airports Authority of India (AAI)
- Petroleum Sports Promotion Board (PSPB)
Academy or any other business
There are very few grandmasters who are running their academy. Every grandmaster should start their academy. The main reason is that grandmasters have a lot of potentials to attract young players to chess.
Many grandmasters get a decent amount of coaching due to which they don’t want to start their own business by spending time and taking risks.
Apart from the academy, They can start other businesses like a course or book publishing house, selling chess boards, etc. Here are a few grandmasters who are running their own successful business
- GM Grigor Grigorov – Co-founder of Modern Chess
- GM Peter Arnaudov – Co-founder of Modern Chess
- GM Romain Eduard – Founder of Thinkers Publication
- GM Jacob Aagaard – Founder of Quality Chess
- GM Igor Smirnov – Founder of Chess Teacher
How much does a chess Grandmaster make a year?
Grandmaster makes $20k-$50 per year. Elite grandmasters make a lot of money. Grandmasters like Hikaru who is the world’s most famous chess streamer make more than $500k per year.
What is a super grandmaster?
2700 above grandmasters called super grandmaster. This is not an official or approved title. But FIDE should introduce some titles for grandmasters above 2700.
Do chess grandmasters have other jobs?
Some Grandmasters prefer to quit chess and do other things in life. Many of them simply don’t see the future in terms of earning and that’s why they leave chess and start to do something.