Chess

Share
Dear Mrs Worthington,

So you want to put your son on the boards? The chessboards, that is. As Noel Coward, "The Master" himself, might have put it, the profession is overcrowded. Although your baby may be keen on a chess career, here are some facts and one table that may help you decide for yourself whether this is a good idea.

In chess, as in other forms of sport and culture, the economy is grossly top-heavy with vast fortunes awaiting the very best, and only a pittance to be shared out among the rest. Anatoly Karpov and Garry Kasparov are millionaires, Nigel Short and Jan Timman are very comfortable, but once you go outside the world's top 20, a decent professional salary is hard to achieve.

Especially as, since the Soviet Union fell apart, there have simply not been enough lucrative tournaments to keep even a small fraction of the ravenous grandmaster hordes well fed.

So does young Master Worthington - though his brain is undoubtedly well developed for his age - have what it takes to get to the top?

The table shows, in the columns headed IM (International master), GM (Grandmaster), NC (National Champion) and WCC (World Championship Candidate) the ages at which a selection of the world's greatest prodigies have reached certain milestones.

The lesson to be drawn is clear: if your sprog is not a grandmaster before his teens are over, then you can forget about the megabucks.

Which leaves young Peter Leko of Hungary some five years ahead of schedule, and gives 11-year-old Luke McShane, who scored a very respectable 6 out of 11 in his first British Championship, plenty of time to reach his goals.

On second thoughts, dear Mrs Worthington, you might as well let your son play chess. He'll find it better than working, and it's no worse a career than the theatre.

IM GM NC WCC

N Short 16 19 19 20

M Adams 15 17 17 21

M Sadler 14 19 21 ?

G Kasparov 15 17 18 19

R Fischer 14 15 14 16

J Polgar 12 15 15 ?

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Spanish Speaking

£17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - German Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Japanese Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are fluent in Japanese a...

Recruitment Genius: Graphic Designer - Immediate Start

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Errors & Omissions: Hang on – that’s not how it’s supposed to be written

Guy Keleny
Rafael Nadal is down and out, beaten by Dustin Brown at Wimbledon – but an era is not thereby ended  

Sad as it is, Rafael Nadal's decline does not mark the end of tennis's golden era

Tom Peck
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test