9 min 59 sec

Atlanta Chess Champ Finds Checkmate With Tutoring Side Hustle

It started as a hobby when he was four years old. It’s now a profitable passion project for an Atlanta chess guru.
Coaching Education Low Startup Potential Low-Tech Student Hustles

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What It's About

A chess master helps others make the cut.

Business Model
Skills Required
Chess & Communication
Profit Potential

Words of Wisdom

Beyond emails, Xiao says one-on-one networking has been a great way to build his business. Also, partnering with professional chess coaches on events like Chess Camps and writing for well-known industry sites like Chess Summit.

Fun Fact

About 200 million people play chess online in the world. Whereas only 2 million people play chess in person competitively. Xiao knew the market to tap, thus wanting to bring e-learning into his business plan.

Notes from Chris

Episode 476

What were you into when you were four years old? Well, Xiao (pronounced “shi-how”) Cheng fell in love with the game of chess at four and by six years old, he knew it was something he wanted to take seriously. Really seriously.

Where did Xiao acquire this love of the game? It started from his first chess mentor, his Mom. She taught him the basics, knighting in him the love of the game early on. Then as he grew up, Xiao took it to the next level with the guidance of professional chess coaches. This led him to top rankings in many chess tournaments, including first place in the Georgia State Championship.

What’s just as impressive is Xiao’s ability to turn this life-long interest into a successful side hustle called Chess 1000. 1000 not only references the chess rating that he helps his students achieve and advance beyond. But by a happy coincidence that his side hustle currently brings in an extra $1.000 a month. And by the way, you’re probably wondering what Xiao’s chess rating is: 2300. (Below 1200 is a novice, 2700 is a World Championship Grandmaster contender).

Chess 1000 is really built around Xiao’s chess tutoring business, one that he started after college. He found teaching chess was a nice complement to his full-time gig. Plus, he got to play a game he loved.

90% of his current student base came from simply talking to parents at different tournaments, and most of his students are school-aged kids. His lessons range from in person, one-on-one tutoring to virtual, using an online chess platform and Skype to teach. He personalizes every session based on the student, teaching them different tactics, how to work to checkmate, finish off opponents, or new patterns to get more pieces. All to work towards that 1000 rating goal.

What’s next for Xiao and Chess 1000? He wants to create online courses. Since he only has weekends and weeknights to dedicate to his side hustle, building a more online business will really help him efficiently scale… perhaps play a more offensive position. Taking the materials and techniques he teaches one-one-one and bringing it to a wider audience of aspiring grandmasters.


  • Chess 1000: Dominate at your next chess tournament—learn more over on Xiao's website!
  • Wordpress: Xiao used Wordpress to setup Chess 1000, and here you can learn how to install your own Wordpress site in 5 minutes
  • HostGator: The company that Xiao used to host his website
  • MailChimp: The email marketing platform that Xiao used to connect with those who signed up for his coaching sessions

Inspiration is good; inspiration combined with action is better. Now get back to work!

Yours in the revolution,


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Quote of the Day
"My favorite part about my experience is helping students get excited about the world of chess. Start with 2-3 students locally or online and then go from there."
—Xiao Cheng #SideHustleSchool

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To infinity and beyond,

Chris Guillebeau