Chess is a game of both skill and strategy. A player must not only be able to plan their own moves several moves ahead but also anticipate their opponent’s potential moves. While it is widely recognized that it takes great skill to become a successful chess player, many people do not realize that taking part in competitions is also a potentially lucrative endeavor. Those who win the competitions have the potential to make millions, so those who are the most successful become very wealthy. Here are the 10 richest chess players of all time.
10. Vladimir Borisovich Kramnik – $2 Million
From 2000 to 2006, Vladimir Borisovich Kramnik was the Classical World Chess Champion. He was then the undisputed World Chess Champion in both 2006 and 2007. Kramnik has also had huge success at the Chess Olympiads and has won three team gold medals and three individual medals. Currently, Kramnik is the joint-eighth highest-rated player of all time.
9. Viswanathan Anand – $3 Million
After achieving the Grandmaster title in 1988, Viswanathan Anand became the first Grandmaster from India. However, he had already achieved great success prior to winning the title, as he was a child prodigy who had earned the nickname ‘Lightning Kid’ during the 1980s due to the speed at which he played. Now, he is a universal player, and many people consider him his generation’s greatest rapid chess player. He has won multiple tournaments throughout his career, giving him a net worth of $3 million.
8. Levon Aronian – $3 Million
Levon Aronian is from Armenia, and he is considered a national hero in his own country. In 2009, he was awarded the title of Honored Master of Sports of the Republic of Armenia. In January 2021, Aronian was ranked number six in the world. His winnings from chess competitions mean he now has a net worth of $3 million.
7. Maxime Vachier-Lagrave – $5 Million
Maxime Vachier-Lagrave has a net worth of $5 million, thanks to success in chess competitions throughout his professional chess career. At the age of 14, he was awarded the FIDE Grandmaster title. He then won the French championship in 2007. By 2016, he was ranked number two in the world, as he had won tournaments in Biel and Dortmund that year. In 2019, he was ranked as the world number one in both blitz and rapid ratings.
6. Teimour Radjabov – $5 Million
Telmour Radjabov became the second-youngest person to win the Grandmaster title, as he achieved this at the age of 14. He became internationally famous in chess circles in 2003 when he won a tournament against Garry Kasparov. In the same year, he also beat former world champions, Ruslan Ponomariov and Viswanathan Anand. Rafjabov won the first sets against Daniil Dubov in the semi-finals of the 2020 Airthings Masters.
5. Judit Polgar – $5 Million
Judit Polgar is a Hungarian chess player and the only woman to appear on the list of the ten richest chess players of all time. Many people consider her the best female chess player of all time, as she has won multiple competitions. She first won the Grandmaster title in 1991, when she was just 15. Polgar is also the only woman in history to be ranked in the top ten of chess players. She retired from professional chess in 2014 but became the captain and head coach of the Hungarian national men’s team a year later.
4. Garry Kasparov – $5 Million
Garry Kasparov first began playing chess when he was just ten years old. He became the youngest undisputed World Chess Champion in 1985, when he was only 22, after defeating the reigning champion, Anatoly Karpov. Kasparov retained the title until 1993. However, he then got into a dispute with the Federation Internationale des Echecs, and he decided to launch the rival organization, the Professional Chess Association. Kasparov retired from professional chess in 2005. After his retirement, he began writing and became involved in politics.
3. Magnus Carlsen – $8 Million
Magnus Carlsen is a professional Norwegian chess player who began competing in chess competitions as a child. In 2002, he came second in the World U12 Chess Championship. When he was just 13, he won the C group in the Corus tournament. A few months later, he won the Grandmaster title. By the age of 17, he was winning national championships, and at 19, he became the youngest person to reach number one in the FIDE world rankings. Carlsen was absent from the professional chess scene for many years but returned in 2020 to compete in the Airthings Masters, but he lost to Daniil Dubov.
2. Fabiano Caruana – $13 Million
The second richest chess player of all time is Fabiano Caruana, and he is the most successful Italian player in history. He first made his name in 2007, when he was only 14. In that year, he won his first Italian Chess Championship and held the title of Grandmaster in both Italy and the United States. Caruana won the Italian title again in 2008, 2010, and 2011. His success continued throughout the 2000s and into the 2010s. In 2012, 2014, and 2015, he won the Dortmund Sparkassen Chess Meeting. In 2014, he also won the Sinquefield Cup. Since 2020, Fabiano Caruana has been ranked number two in the world by FIDE, and his success is reflected in his estimated net worth of $13 million.
1. Hikaru Nakamura – $50 Million
According to Wealthy Genius, the richest chess player of all time is Hikaru Nakamura, who has a net worth of approximately $50 million. At the age of 15, Nakamura became the youngest American to become the Grandmaster. He is now a five-time United States champion. In 2014, FIDE ranked him number one in the world on both their official rapid and blitz chess rating lists. Nakamura dropped to the second position the following year, behind Magnus Carlsen.