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There is no need to fly half way around the world to participate in a chess tournament. You can start a chess club that offers friendly games of chess in the park and periodic tournaments, with the club paying you out of its membership fees for scheduling and arranging games and tournaments. Another option is to schedule local games which pit you against other players, making money the reward for winning. Of course you can also compete in professional or round robin tournaments. The World Chess Federation (FIDE) has a tournament calendar on its website. The US Chess Federation lists major US Chess National Tournaments or events that guarantee a prize of at least $5,000. It is also easy to find chess calendars for states, like the Alabama Chess Federation, or for clubs in various cities, like the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis.
Teach Chess to Children in Grades K-12, College Students and Adults
You can get paid to instruct people of all ages in the art and science of chess. There are several routes to choose from for teaching children in grades K-12 and college students. They include giving private lessons, arranging inter-school chess tournaments and managing after-school chess programs where students play for fun or prepare for state championships. Another option is to instruct or coach adults willing to pay for lessons. Those able to meet the requirements of Chess.com can sign on as a coach, recruit students and even conduct online lessons on the Chess.com Live Analysis Board.
Create a Chess App
Another great way to make money with chess is to develop apps for chess players and chess tournament lovers. You can develop apps that analyze a chess game, offer tournament information like rank and pairings, broadcast chess tournaments, teach different skill levels, present chess puzzles for honing skills or give access to a variety of chess games to improve skill levels. These are just a few ideas. You can sell apps through Google Play, iTunes or other businesses popping up all over the internet. Of course, today everything is mobile, so make sure the app can be used on mobile phones (hopefully both Android and iOS), tablet computers and laptops.
Create Chess-Themed Board Games
There is always room for new board games that teach all aspects of the game of chess. One of the most popular already on the market is the ‘No Stress Chess’ game which teaches chess moves in small steps and is great for beginners. You can develop board games for people of all ages and skill levels, from beginner to advanced.
Developing and Selling Online Chess Board Games
Online chess games enable people from different geographic areas to play, in a fashion similar to kids around the world competing against each other in video games. You can develop and sell online games that challenge chess players around the world. Another option is to develop an online game that lets someone indicate their skill level and then play against the computer.
Sell Chess Sets and Accessories
There is no limit to the imagination when it comes to developing themed chess sets or sets with different materials. You can sell themed chess sets online on sites like Amazon, eBay and Etsy, and through retail stores. Themes can be anything – historical battles, fantasy, storybook characters, space travel, technology, video games, comic book characters, literature, mythology, animals, sports and anything else you can imagine. Chess sets are also made in a variety of materials, meaning you can sell sets in any price range. Materials include poly resin, polystone, metal, glass, wood, ivory and stone.
Do not forget the accessories either. They include clocks, timers, demonstration boards for instructors, log books (record masterful moves or mistakes), scorebooks and anything innovative that makes life nicer for chess players. Chess sets and accessories can also be sold at your local chess tournaments.
Make Chess Videos on a Monetized YouTube
Another way to make money is by monetizing a YouTube channel that offers chess instructional videos. After setting up a YouTube account, enable monetization. Then sign up for Google AdSense which will pay you an amount when people click on ads that have been placed on your YouTube channel. This generates small amounts of money, but even small amounts can add up. YouTube creators can now apply to join the YouTube Partner Program after getting 10,000 public views (subject to change), enabling revenue sharing through ads placed on your YouTube site.
Sell Sets of Chess Lessons
Selling chess lessons is a great way to earn money. You can sell interactive lessons online via your retail website, develop a set of instructional downloadable videos, offer lessons on DVDs or sell on-demand access to YouTube lessons.
Write a Chess Book, eBook and/or eMagazine
You can write an instructional chess book and try to find a traditional print publisher, or publish your own eBook and sell it on your personal retail website (Shopify makes it easy to set up) or through an online retailer like Amazon. Self-publishing has become very popular, and you can promote your eBook on your YouTube Channel and social media sites. The most difficult part of the process, besides writing the eBook, is formatting it correctly. Fortunately, there is plenty of helpful information available. For example, Amazon has lots of eBooks for sale that explain how to format for the Kindle eBook Reader and Kindle Fire. If you plan on selling it yourself, your digital document (probably written in Word) needs to be converted to EPUB. Digital Book World (DBW) has a wealth of information on self-publishing under its ‘expert publishing blog’ link.
Develop and Sell an eMagazine
Along the same lines of writing and selling an eBook on chess is selling subscriptions to an eMagazine or eNewsletter that covers many chess topics, like winning chess moves of the grandmasters, tournaments, strategies, theory, rules and so much more.
Blog About Chess
Try blogging about chess and monetize the blog in several ways. Signing up for Google AdSense, direct advertising with other businesses, banner advertising, sponsored posts (advertising posts), affiliate marketing and paid membership are just a few of the ways. You can also embed links in the blogs that lead to items you are selling, like an eBook on chess.
Sell T-Shirts and Other Items with Chess-Themed Graphics
You can make money selling clothing and other items with chess-themed graphics. They include t-shirts, ball caps, coffee cups, posters and water bottles.
Develop Training Tools for Chess Players and Variations of Chess
Finally, you can develop training tools for chess players enjoying chess in an unconventional manner. For example, develop training tools for mastering chess variants like Chess Boxing, Bughouse, Avalanche Chess or any of the dozens of variants that inspire people who enjoy being unconventional. The website chessvariants.com is a good research website.
Does your Elo rating matter when it comes to making money on the side with chess? Per people already successfully making money, the answer is “no” in most cases. Of course, it adds credence to the expertise of anyone marketing particular chess products and services, like book offerings expert analysis of grandmaster chess moves or selling expert advice as an instructional coach of advanced players. However, with or without an Elo rating, chess offers many money-making opportunities. You just have to capture the opportunities.