How Much Do Chess Arbiters Make?

Has it ever crossed your mind what it’s like to be a chess arbiter? You might’ve heard about it as a profession but have yet to consider what it entails or how much money it makes.

So, how much do chess arbiters make?

An arbiter can make anywhere from $1,500-$3,000 per month or more if highly experienced in their profession.

In this article, I’ll tackle topics like the base salary range for an arbiter, factors that impact a chess arbiter’s salary, and more to help you decide whether or not a chess arbiter’s profession suits you.

Let’s begin!

What Is the Base Salary Range for a Chess Arbiter?

For those who wish to pursue a career as a chess arbiter, the average salary for such a position can vary greatly depending on an individual’s level of expertise.

Generally speaking, most arbiters’ monthly salaries range from $1,500-$3,000, with more experienced arbiters earning as much as $4,000-$5,000 per month.

As with any profession, the more highly trained an arbiter is in chess regulations and tournament rules, the more they’ll earn.

Those knowledgeable about FIDE laws and the professional conduct expected of an arbiter will, without a doubt, earn more than other arbiters.

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In addition to their monthly salary, several chess tournaments offer performance incentives for excellent judging and decision-making during games. Such bonuses can range from 10%-25% of a tournament’s entry fees or prize money.

This allows some arbiters to scale their overall earnings over time by working consistently at these events.

Factors Impacting the Salary of a Chess Arbiter

Many factors can affect a chess arbiter’s salary. Aside from the various tournaments an arbiter handles, the location, amount of experience, and additional qualifications can also impact their earnings.


Location is one of the most critical factors impacting how much a chess arbiter makes. It’s common for an arbiter in a major city to make more than in a rural area.

It’s important to note that specific tournaments are likely to pay an arbiter more if they’re located in another country or region, as they may cover additional travel expenses.

Below are the average arbiter salaries in a few U.S. cities:

  • Anaheim, CA – $63,786
  • Garland, TX – $72,652
  • Dallas, TX – $72,652
  • Long Beach, CA – $63,786
  • Nashville, TX – $62,063
  • Memphis, TN – $63,339
  • Toledo, OH – $60,405
  • Buffalo, NY – $60,086
  • Aurora, CO – $81,199


Experience also plays a key role in terms of salaries for chess arbiters. A chess arbiter who’s been assigned more events or holds several years of experience will surely have the bargaining power to negotiate higher rates.

You should know that certain organizations and tournaments like FIDE and World Chess Championship prefer experienced arbiters, so those with a lot of experience will find themselves in higher demand.

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Additional Qualifications

Holding additional qualifications, like being a FIDE arbiter or having attended and completed courses provided by FIDE or others, can make a big difference. This impacts how much you can make as an arbiter.

Moreover, having additional qualifications can open up better job opportunities, often providing higher salaries for chess arbiters.

Can You Be a Chess Arbiter for a Living?

Becoming a full-time chess arbiter can be challenging. Most arbiters work part-time and participate in only a few major tournaments annually, treating their income from this role as supplementary.

On the other hand, professional arbiters can earn upwards of $60,000+ a year and receive full benefits, depending on the size and consistency of the events they work for. Beginner chess arbiters may receive a flat fee, a small salary, and no benefits.

While it’s possible to make a living as an arbiter by running numerous games, there are other sources of income besides it. Thus, it’s hard for someone to rely solely on this profession for financial stability.

How to Become a Professional Chess Arbiter

Becoming a professional chess arbiter is a challenging task. Devoting yourself to acquiring knowledge and certification and comprehending the rules governing chess tournaments is essential.

To become a professional chess arbiter, you must:

1. Understand the Rules

Develop a strong understanding of the rules of chess and the regulations governing tournament play.

You must be familiar with the protocols related to chess tournaments, including scorekeeping, fair play, settling disputes, and more.

2. Develop Your Knowledge

Boost your knowledge with professional development courses that provide hands-on experience.

Courses focus on organizing tournaments, evaluating player performances, and solving issues that may occur during the game.

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3. Get Certified

Obtain certification as a professional chess arbiter through the International Chess Federation (FIDE) or other national chess federations in countries where you intend to work as an arbiter.

4. Grow Your Skills

Pursue additional skills in business management, promotion, PR management, and other areas related to running successful tournaments.

Don’t underestimate the power of communication skills, as they can take your connection-building process to the next level.

5. Make Connections

Build relationships with clients so that they can trust you to manage and run their events efficiently and accurately.

In addition to that, clients you interact with can help you find other referrals for your services to further boost your experience, which leads to a higher salary in the future.

If you’re to form a team, I recommend having arbiters from multiple associations or countries available during any of the events.

To Wrap It Up

In conclusion, chess arbiters’ compensation and benefits can vary drastically depending on their country of employment, the event they’re running, and their experience levels.

Plus, an arbiter’s salary can be influenced by the specific tournaments they participate in, primarily when these events are held in different countries or regions.

On average, a chess arbiter makes anywhere from $1,500 to $5,000 a month.

Whether you’re an amateur or a professional chess arbiter, it’s essential to do your research and ensure you’re getting the compensation you deserve for your time and expertise.

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