When the first world champion of modern chess, Wilhelm Steinitz, died on August 12, 1900 in New York, he was completely impoverished. Nowadays, top players repeatedly announce their farewell to top-level professional chess because they lack the public support on which they depend in view of the limited commercialization prospects of their sport. This state is hardly compatible with the tradition of the game, its public reputation, its worldwide distribution and the large fan base. Even the organizers of World Chess Championships often face considerable financing problems. There is a lack of a legal framework that adequately takes into account the exploitation interests of those involved.
I. Problem outline For decades, the adequate remuneration of top chess players for their achievements has been the subject of intensive discussions. Given the attractiveness of chess, it is astonishing that no solution has yet been found. The German Chess Federation alone has about 90,000 members, many of whom actively participate in the game and use the games of the world-class players as illustrative material. Worldwide the number of chess fans following the world championship matches is likely to amount to several million.
Despite this interest of the spectators, the remuneration of the players so far consists mainly of prize money, which is often meagre. Only the absolute top players receive entry fees and can finance themselves by playing chess. The prize funds available are modest. One reason for this is the low commercial attractiveness of the competitions, which is at least due to their supposed lack of commercial exploitability.