Forbes - Making A Living In Chess

by Albert Silver
5/5/2017 – It is not unusual to see chess appear in the mainstream press, but the topics are usually on either a scandal, a player profile, or a singular event such as the World Championship. Forbes published an interesting article regarding the state of professionalism in chess, making a living, and how the internet has opened doors not just for fans but working pros. Here are excerpts and a a video report.

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Below you will find excerpts and a video from an article posted at Forbes on making a living in chess. Be sure to read the entire article at the Forbes website.

Making A Living In Chess Is Tough - But The Internet Is Making It Easier

By Alex Knapp

Last month, at the United States Chess Championship, I entered a world of chess as serious business. For one thing, I was wanded by a security guard on my way up to the competition. (To prevent cheating, cell phones or anything else that can connect to the internet were strictly forbidden in the competition area - I had to leave my smartwatch behind, too.)

Before the round got started, tournament director Tony Rich had an announcement to make to the players - he wanted them to make sure all their paperwork was in order. "If you don't have a tax form, I can't pay you."

It was a reminder that, to paraphrase Bull Durham, that while chess may be an intellectual battlefield "full of magic, truth and the fundamental ontological riddles of our time - it's also a job."

(...)

It's actually an easier career than it was a few decades ago.

For example, when Grandmaster Yasser Seirawan was playing in the 1970s and 1980s, there wasn't much of a professional scene in the United States at all. "For me, the challenges of playing chess professionally was that in the United States, there weren't chess professionals. The real professionals of the chess world were the Soviets."

"Being an American, it was very hard to have the training resources or the financial resources to become a professional," he continued. "That was the big challenge."

Grandmaster Ben Finegold told me a similar story, "So many times I would play in the last round [of a tournament], and if I won I could eat. And if I lost, I had to drive home for three or four hours and figure out how to pay the rent."

(…)

One thing that all the grandmasters I talked to agreed on is that the internet is actually making it easier to have a career in chess.

"Has the internet opened up opportunities? Definitely," said Finegold. "In more ways than one. Not only can you get better at chess by using the internet, you can also make money teaching and making videos and doing commentary. It's been a really great boon for chess."

Click here to read the full article at Forbes



Born in the US, he grew up in Paris, France, where he completed his Baccalaureat, and after college moved to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He had a peak rating of 2240 FIDE, and was a key designer of Chess Assistant 6. In 2010 he joined the ChessBase family as an editor and writer at ChessBase News. He is also a passionate photographer with work appearing in numerous publications.

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