A Chess Player Is the Highest-Earning Esports Player in 2020


by in General | Jan, 13th 2021

Despite COVID-19 slowing down the world in 2020, esports trucked on. There was a lot of money handed out in the scene too. The highest prize was $15 million in CSGO, but the highest earner was not a CSGO player, funny enough. Nope, chess has the highest-earning esports player of 2020. This might sound weird because many don’t even see chess as an esport. They’re wrong, but they’re entitled to the opinion all the same. No matter how much money was in esports last year, the most went to Magnus Carlsen.

Who Is Magnus Carlsen?


Carlsen, the highest-earning esports player of 2020, is a 30-year old chess champion. This is thanks to his matches on Chess24. It’s also interesting to note that out of the top 50 earners. Four were thanks to Chess24 esports matches. 

This came courtesy of Unikrn in a press release. “When people think of esports, they probably have the likes of CSGO, Dota, or League of Legends in mind, but not necessarily chess. Magnus Carlsen is a fantastic champion and has dominated the circuit for a number of years, helping raise the profile of the sport. It’s great to see an esport such as chess come to prominence in this way.”

If this isn’t proof that chess is an esport, I don’t know what is. As a chess player who the highest-earning esports player in 2020, the rest of the other games need to catch up. This makes sense. Chess players don’t require a team or anything. When they win a match, it’s between one player and another. Being able to play on Chess24 actively has to help.

The press release went on to say: “From our data, it can be seen how much the pandemic has affected esports prize money, dropping by 80% from 2019 to 2020. That said, it’s encouraging to see players still profiting from big tournaments around the world with organizers doing everything they can to put on the best shows possible for fans.”

It’s also interesting to note that four other chess players made the top 50, including Hikaru Nakamura. Chess players are making some serious coin right now, even aside from Carlsen, who is number one. Hopefully, this trend of chess players making money in esports continues. It’s pretty hard to make a living in the game, so seeing digital chess blowing up like this leaves hope for the sport’s future just in general. 

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