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Saturday, 27 December 2014

What is needed to become a professional chess player?


What is needed to become a professional chess player? Most likely a questioned every young and upcoming chess player asks at some time. Even in the modern age of the internet , little information can be found on this topic, as chess is not a “mainstream sport”… Most of the articles that can be found usually contain some information , but these articles are rarely comprehensive. Here is another attempt at listing the specifics of what a person need to become a professional chess player.

  • A passion for chess , without this you will get tired of the game at some point in time , even if you are the most talented player the world has seen. So if you do not have a passion for chess , stop reading now.
  •        A natural talent for chess , talent is not everything  , if you have passion you can come a long way , but without talent and passion , you are likely destined to be a weekend warrior and will not be able to make a living from playing chess. However there are other avenues in chess a person with passion can pursue.
  •      Self-discipline , chess is a sport where solitude and long hours of silently sitting behind a chessboard with no distractions is a requirement. It does not mean that you will not be able to do anything else , but without discipline , you will not be able to make the needed sacrifices to become a better player. As the old adage goes , “there is a time for work and time for play”…
  •     Initial financial support , it is unlikely that you will be able to live from your chess earnings right away , you need someone to invest in you coaching and living quarters while you are still working your way up. You can talk to you parents about it if you are still living at home or try to find sponsors if you are already an established player on a local or national level , although finding sponsors is tough , as chess is once again not a “mainstream sport”
  •       Basic public speaking skills ,you do not have to be able to entertain an audience like a politician , but being able to deal with people can come in handy , especially if you start becoming a well-recognised chess “celebrity”  as sponsors will expect that you appear at events and you can host simul-events (simultaneous playing sessions) for some extra income. This will more likely happen once you attain a FIDE title , like Fide-Master , International-Master or the much coveted Grand Master. (I did not name Candidate master , as you won’t play at the strength to maintain a living if you don’t reach at least a  2350 elo) *This is not a necessity , but can really come in handy.
  •  A passion for chess and natural talent , this point is the most important , so much so that it         had to be reiterated

This is just a list of personal capabilities that a person has to posses to become a professional player , how a player achieves this is up to the player , as the ways of reaching this goal vary dramatically in different demographics

If you have anything to add , please comment.

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