Chess player announced as highest-earning esports player in 2020

Unikrn has announced that a chess world champion has been revealed as the highest-earning esports player of 2020.

A 30-year-old Norwegian chess champion, Magnus Carlsen, officially took home $511,000 (£373,666) in prize money from last year’s Chess24 victory. This statistic is greater across all games than any other esports professional.

Counter-Strike: No top earners were generated by Global Offensive, but it was the game with the highest prize money in 2020, offering a year-round total of $15,808,057 (£11,559,562).

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The statistics compiled by Unikrn show that 23 years was the average age of the top 50 players. Seven teens have featured on the chart, collectively taking home over $1.7 million (£1,243,116).

The data also revealed a sharp decrease in the overall prize money available to professionals in esports, falling in just one year from $55 million (£40,218,475) to $11 million (£8,043,695).

In a press release, a spokesperson for Unikrn said: “When people think of esports, they probably have in mind the likes of CS:GO, DOTA or League of Legends, but not necessarily chess.”

Magnus Carlsen is a great champion and for a number of years has dominated the circuit, helping to lift the sport’s profile. It’s awesome to see an esport like chess, in this way, come to prominence.

“The statement added: “It can be seen from our data how much the pandemic has impacted esports prize money, falling by 80% from 2019 to 2020.

“That said, it is encouraging to see players still benefiting from big tournaments around the world, with organizers doing all they can to give fans the best shows possible.”