What are the different career options in Chess? The obvious and famous one is being a professional player, and the next best one is that of a chess coach. What are the other careers that involve chess?

  • Intesting question +1
    – ferit
    Commented Jan 7, 2016 at 11:12
  • 13
    Which of these is not like the others: A. Physician B. Welder C. Chess professional D. Large pizza (C) is different - the others can feed a family of 4.
    – Tony Ennis
    Commented Jan 7, 2016 at 17:37
  • Very true @TonyEnnis I was never able to make a decent living playing tournaments. I started working for chess startups, and also as a chess coach.
    – Arun J
    Commented Jan 10, 2016 at 17:19
  • I know a great chess player in Paris... He does Professional Street Miming to help him not starve .. :) Commented Oct 19, 2016 at 12:10

3 Answers 3


My list of answers after much thinking..

Chess careers:

  • Professional players
  • Coaches
  • Preparation and playing partners
  • Arbiters
  • Chess writers
  • Chess photographers
  • Chess officials for federations
  • Chess programmers
  • Chess commentators
  • Chess journalist
  • Managers - for players
  • Columists
  • Chess artists - people who make wooden art work ?
  • chess contractors (or freelancers) - like for chess based movie or startup projects. example: Marketing for a chess startup, research for a movie, etc.

UPDATES based on suggestions:

  • Chess composer
  • Tournament director
  • Staffs for chess related organization, federation, etc. -- which can actually be a career, than a mere stream of income.

Interesting observations: Most of the suggestions in this list can't stand out alone as a career, but would need the support of other projects to make a decent living.

Comments are welcome. I'll update this thread based on your feedback/suggestion

  • Tournament Director.
    – Jeff Y
    Commented Jan 7, 2016 at 10:54
  • 9
    The bar for what can be a "career" seems to be very low; you couldn't make a living from most of these and would need to combine them with an actual job, or with others from the list. Commented Jan 7, 2016 at 10:56
  • 4
    +1 @RemcoGerlich I think this too too wide. For example, chess artists? Any professional artist can also do it.
    – SmallChess
    Commented Jan 7, 2016 at 11:03
  • 1
    Is there any professionnal chess composer ? Even the best and most active ones don't make much money out of their composition (if any) afaik...
    – Evargalo
    Commented Nov 7, 2017 at 14:54
  • 1
    Missing on the list is a category that might be the most numerous: chess hustlers in parks.
    – Evargalo
    Commented Nov 7, 2017 at 14:58

Chess software programmers is missing in the list. I can give you the following names (google them if you want to know more):

  • Larry Kaufman
  • Mark Lefler
  • Mark Uniacke
  • Robert Hyatt

Chess photographer is popular these days, but not a full-time career.
Operator of digital boards (think Lennart Ootes)
(Selling chess books, but it's debatable)

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