The wiring of most of us on this side of the world is structured and arranged in a way that places a requirement to make a living top of our to-do-list. We are required to attend school, to work and earn a living with a career that stems from our academic qualification. In a quest to this promised land, we are required to play sport – sport sharpens our hardworking minds and helps us stay fit and healthy enough to pursue our ultimate goal and enjoy our livelihoods.
Sport boils down to hobbies and leisure. Unfortunately, on the other side of the earth things are different, sport is a career on its own. Some athletes earn as much as M7 832 250 per week coupled with some marketing endorsements guaranteeing income counted in millions.
The above is just a vivid example of how sport has become more than just leisure, but a gold mine. Sport provides several career opportunities which commence from the youthful days of an athlete, throughout his adult life all the way to senior citizenship and grey hair era. The phenomenon is not foreign to our 64-square, 32-piece game of kings – chess. Chess has created and continues to create mouthwatering career opportunities across all playing ages.
For young people who aspire to pursue a mainstream career while still enjoying their favourite sports, chess offers players with outstanding abilities bursaries and chess scholarships. These are scholarships offered in specific institutions of higher learning, predominantly in chess playing international First World countries. In all instances sponsorship awarding requirements are usually centered around academic prowess and chess mastery, measured mainly by a FIDE rating of an incumbent applicant. Countries like Russia, the US as well as China and Canada have chess scholarships.
Professional chess playing
This is one of the most exciting opportunities chess provides. A player gets to fully enjoy his or her sport 100 percent while making money out of it. Professional chess playing means spending 100 percent of time on the board, participating in all tournaments, major and small, being in line to win big prize monies, representing your country and getting marketing endorsements and other monetary deals. The world chess has an avalanche of tournaments and challenges internationally and otherwise with calendars occupying every month through-out the year.
The man in the middle. All Fide rated and other official chess games demand a presence of a qualified and endorsed referee or arbiter. Arbitering is developed through taking of some courses offered by the world chess governing body FIDE and doing some arbitering work under supervision of a qualified arbiter and in major tournaments.
These arbiters do their work for a fee. Now, there are at least two FIDE rate tournaments running daily around the world with the number of players well around 605 million. Surely, arbiters remain one of the scarcest resources in chess and chess could use more of them. Lesotho has one FIDE accredited arbiter, there is room.
Every legend, every good sportsman and every grandmaster has and/or has had a dedicated trainer on his side. Chess development as well as chess in schools – FIDE’s biggest development programmes are made possible by trainers. The large influx of chess prodigies and young chess grandmasters is accredited to an improved supply of chess trainers.
Some teams’ performance in the chess Olympiad is a result of attachment of special trainers by FIDE to them. Most trainers are also running very successful chess academies that provide chess lessons to learners – young and old at a good fee.
Because of an increase in tournaments and increased participation in chess, there has been an official demand to professionalise tournament organising. The demand has been made because of an increase in the need to provide uniformity and consistencies in chess tournaments for ease of ranking, rating and comparative analysis of players and teams. This budding wing in chess has gained good momentum and is the most unexplored in our continent. Just like training and arbitering tournament organising also come at a good fee.
A need to provide commentary as well as good analysis and to report chess has also created space for chess reporting. Chess enthusiasts can now write, document, and provide commentary on publications about the sports, politics as well as major tournaments – for a fee. This is a key role in promotion of the sport to attract funding and sponsorships and thus becoming a very valuable and rewarding chess career.