Entertainment

Chess GM Hikaru slams Alexandra Botez for miscategorizing Twitch streams

by Michael Gwilliam

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Twitch streamer and chess master Hikaru ‘GMHikaru’ Nakamura called out fellow chess player Alexandra Botez for broadcasting in the “Just Chatting” category as opposed to “Chess.”

During a July 27 broadcast, the popular steamer was looking through chess’s Twitch statistics and noticed there were as many as 10,000 viewers not showing up in the chess directory.

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According to Hikaru, this was happening because Botez was streaming chess in the “Just Chatting” category, completely skewing the actual numbers.

“When you have advertisers or sponsors looking to the chess directory and thinking about say sponsoring PogChamps 2 or other possible events, what it does is the numbers aren’t reflective of the number of people watching chess,” the five-time US Chess champion explained.

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PogChamps is a Twitch chess tournament where popular streamers such as xQc and Forsen compete against each other for a cash prize. The second installment, beginning August 21, will also feature Game of Thrones’ star Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson.

Hikaru continued to call Botez’s streams “an issue” that could potentially affect chess events on Twitch simply because sponsors won’t be seeing the real numbers.

“You are going to look at the chess directory at the end of the day,” he added. “That is the main point.”

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Hikaru did admit, however, that streamers are likely to get more viewers by streaming in “Just Chatting,” which affects chess “as a whole.”

“I think that is certainly something that is not good for the game,” he said. “It’s her choice? I mean, technically I guess it is. But when you see people like xQc switch to chess when he plays chess, it does strike me as a little bit odd.”

According to the third-party Twitch stat-tracking site Twitchmetrics, Hikaru is the most-watched chess channel on the platform. Meanwhile, Botez is the second most-watched English Just Chatting channel.

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Hikaru and Botez are both due to be working together doing commentary on PogChamps 2.