Chess has become a rapidly rising phenomenon on Twitch, with the popularity of the centuries-old game reaching fever pitch in 2020 with multiple tournaments and, of course, The Queen’s Gambit on Netflix.
Many new players have found themselves enjoying the game even if they’ve never played it before, and content creators have found themselves enjoying rising popularity on Twitch, YouTube and on other streaming platforms as viewers and top names come flocking in.
We’ve seen major tournaments take place on Twitch, including the likes of the PogChamps tournaments that have featured the likes of Forsen, xQc, Cizzors and more alongside endemic chess streamers that are seeing their analytics go up consistently.
So, who are the very best chess streamers that you should check out? Here, we’ve listed some of the most entertaining, skilful and educational channels you’ll find for the game to help you reach your Grandmaster dreams.
Hikaru is the obvious choice, so is one we wanted to mention first. If you’ve been looking around for good chess content creators, the chances are you’ve already seen Hikaru Nakamura, as one of the best chess players not just on the internet but in the world, even giving the likes of Magnus Carlsen a run for his money.
If you’re looking to learn from one of the best players in the world and see his thought process in action, as well as collabs with some of the biggest content creators, Hikaru is well worth checking out.
Levy Rozman, better known online as GothamChess, is one of the best educational chess streamers you can find out there.
He’s always showing viewers different openings, offering tips to help learn and memorize certain moves and how to take advantage of opponent mistakes, meaning that his YouTube channel also has an extensive and impressive backlog of content for new players to learn from and give their chess journey a big jumpstart.
If you’re looking for straight-up, top-tier chess action, Naroditsky is a very good streamer to tune in to.
Regardless of what level you are, Grandmasters are who you should be looking to to find patterns and the best possible plays, and Naroditsky explains his choices and wins well, letting viewers know exactly what to expect throughout a match and always staying several steps ahead of his opponents.
The Botez Sisters, Alexandra and Andrea, have found a lot of success in 2020, with a rapidly-growing shared stream and being signed to esports organization Envy in December.
If you’re looking for your chess with a more entertaining side, or maybe streamers that will dominate on the board before also playing a variety of other games, Dexerto Awards 2020 nominees the Botez Sisters are perfect for you.
As Eric Hansen or the chessbrah host himself says, this channel likes to “push the boundaries of chess entertainment,” but that doesn’t mean he and his cohort are just entertaining streamers.
In fact, Eric Hansen became Canada’s youngest ever chess Grandmaster in 2013 at the age of 21 and is unarguably one of the best chess players in the world, so while the actual streams might be a little more out there than the average chess stream, you know you’re getting some incredible lessons every time you tune in. As well as Eric, you’ll also find other Grandmasters such as Amad Hambleton on chessbrah.
Anna Rudolf is a Hungarian chess player holding the FIDE titles of International Master and Woman Grandmaster — and a fast-growing Twitch streamer, too.
Averaging around 4,000 viewers per stream towards the end of 2020, Anna is one of the most viewed and fastest-growing channels in the genre, and her record and accolades speak for themselves as to why you should tune in to her content.
Those are our picks for the top chess streamers you should check out in 2021. You can find them all on Twitch, as well as more focused content in their YouTube videos, and will not only help you learn the game but keep you entertained for hours on end.
If you were inspired by Beth Harmon in 2020, these streamers are well worth taking a look at to help get your rating up, but is by no means an exhaustive list. Other creators such as Eric Rosen, Finegold, AnnaCramling and more are well worth looking at so you can find whose streams you really enjoy the most.