Work4Chess

Inside Chessable

How is work at Chessable, the biggest company in the Play Magnus Group? Stefan Löffler reports.

Chessable merchandise may pop up during a video.
Chessable merchandise may pop up during a video.

Barcelona is one of the hippest cities in Europe, and it doesn’t get much cooler than the corner of Passeig de Gracia and Avinguda Diagonal. It’s where Chessable has its headquarters for 35 employees. “I just love this place. I feel good about working here every day”, says Myriam Ben Farhat. She started out at Chessable as a business coach for the company’s founder David Kramaley. She went on to coach other senior managers of the Play Magnus Group and is now Vice President of Culture and People. Her job title reflects on the importance given to job satisfaction at the only stock-listed chess firm in the world. It is also in line with a pledge made by Kramaley for “better jobs, better working conditions, better pay.”

Ben Farhat belongs to the growing number of employees who are working for several companies of the group at the same time. Chessable, the pioneer publisher of interactive chess courses, is highly profitable and has been driving the growth of the Play Magnus Group ever since it was acquired in August 2019. Writers and coaches who adapt or develop courses are praising Chessable for passing on to them a higher percentage of the sales than the competition. And the door for freelancers is open, as this recent contest for Spanish language content creators suggests.

Chessable founder David Kramaley believes in “better jobs, better working conditions, better pay”.
Chessable founder David Kramaley believes in “better jobs, better working conditions, better pay”. (photo: Chessable)
A quarter of Chessable employees are female. This group photo was taken at the Barcelona headquarter.
A quarter of Chessable employees are female. This group photo was taken at the Barcelona headquarter. (photo: Chessable)

Chessable frames itself not as a publisher but as an e-learning company. It has released a free video tool for group chess lessons that has been praised by our reviewer. The editors, engineers and marketing specialists are partly working from offices in Barcelona and London, and partly remote. Depending on the tasks and projects, remote staff come to work at the headquarter for a period of time. The current job openings, as also listed on our job page, are for React developers, security engineers, a technical editor and a content project manager. A part of these jobs is designated as remote.

Part of her job now is to assure that other qualified women join the company. One way is to collaborate with bootcamps for female engineering students.

While Chessable was started by chess players, and a passion for chess still helps to land a job, it is not a prerequisite, as Myriam Ben Farhat’s example shows: “I can admit, I was not a chess player but since I have joined Chessable, I love the game. I’m passionate, I’m learning and I’m getting chess coaching.”

Chessable recently took their staff on a climbing excursion.
Chessable recently took their staff on a climbing excursion. (photo: Geert van der Velde)
Myriam Ben Farhat in the spacious lobby of Chessable’s Barcelona office.
Myriam Ben Farhat in the spacious lobby of Chessable’s Barcelona office. (photo: Chessable)

The percentage of female employees has grown from 16% to 25% during the last year, says Ben Farhat. “One of the biggest questions I asked myself before joining Chessable was if I am ready to step foot into a male dominated industry.” Part of her job now is to assure that other qualified women can take the same decision. One way is to collaborate with bootcamps for female engineering students. Another is to create a social and playful atmosphere. There is always a place for a friendly game of chess or a great cup of coffee. Earlier this summer, the company organised a spectacular climbing excursion. Other perks of working at Chessable include flexible working hours and 40 days holiday leave.

The Play Magnus Group is a sponsor of the ChessTech-run conference Work4Chess, which has a session on Employment in Chess with Myriam Ben Farhat, David Ho (Talent Acquisition Manager at Play Magnus Group), Erik Allebest (CEO Chess.com) and André Vögtlin (President Swiss Chess Federation).