Tuesday, August 9, 2011


After reading Chess Ninja's post on the topic, I am sure many will be convinced that chess coaches or normal GMs do not make much financially.

I have asked GM Torre back when he was here: " Would you recommend the path of a GM to anyone?" He stopped to think before replying : " It's not for anyone. The path to GM is tough and only those who are deeply passionate about chess and not much else should venture into it". So please forget about trying to make big bucks when you enter into the world of chess. Most of us who are involved in chess organising give much of our time, energies and sometimes even money just to ensure that tournaments are run well, players are at least silent on complaints. As a coach in Singapore, I speak for myself that I can survive comfortably being single and not having to feed a family, given the high cost of living here. In many ways, chess coaching is about the few professions I can go into once you are in your 40s here. Getting a professional job paying more than $6000 a month is impossible, you may get one at $3000. Then there's taxes, your car and really its mere subsistance living from month to month.

Now I decide how hard to work and plan my schedule according to the school calendar, go on vacation or plan my curriculum when the students are preparing for their exams in October. Fortunately I also plan functions and weddings which are another source of income during this time. So I cannot quip about my current state of affairs as I have dropped out of the rat race and all the stress that comes with it. My chief joy today comes from my students when they execute a win successfully, win trophies along the way and behave themselves in between tournament rounds. Lunch appointments are often flexible, that's where I catch up with my friends. On Sundays, I still manage to run a jazz jam session at a local community club after my classes to keep up with my other interest.

Hence my advice to those who may want to consider being chess coaches (or GMs for that matter) - You need to firstly ensure that you are comfortable financially, no longer aspiring big money, be deeply passionate in your game, have a big heart to contribute to the community, enjoy the intangible perks that come with it. Life is never a dull moment if you set your objectives right, go all out to achieve it and most importantly, have fun and joy doing what you do.

1 comment:

  1. Hi John,

    I am also a chess coach and trainer one of the school here in the Philippines. Your right John,you need to firstly ensure that your comfortably financially and money is only my second priority. I do not coach chess to make future grandmasters out of my players and I think that there is no book that will help you as a coach to be become future grandmaster. I coach chess because it helps my students to become better learners. I coach chess because I love the game so much..