GMHikaru explains why Twitch streaming matters more than becoming Chess World Champion

Michael Gwilliam
gm hikaru staring at camera playing chess

Chess Grandmaster and Twitch streamer Hikaru Nakamura says that becoming World Champion will only result in a fraction of the influence he has as a content creator.

Hikaru is extremely confident in competing at the FIDE Candidates Chess World Championship in Toronto, saying that pressure has become a “foreign concept” to him.

During an interview with Charlize van Zyl, Hikaru explained that he’s a streamer first and a professional player secondary – something that could give him an edge mentally.

According to the chess icon, a lot of people “misunderstand” content creation and most streamers are intelligent and “very little” of it is an act to create drama.

“For me, I don’t feel any pressure in this tournament. If I were to win it, it’s nice and fine, but the fact of the matter is if I were to become world champion the reach or influence of that is so minor compared to what I’ve done through streaming and content creation,” he said.

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“If I’ve reached, let’s say five million people through my online content, becoming world champion will reach a small fraction of that,” he added. “It’s not confidence. I’ve found another path that, for better or for worse, is far more lucrative and it makes it a lot easier to actually enjoy chess.”

Hikaru went on to note how back before the world health issues, he was constantly playing the same people over and over again and the chess became boring. But now that he’s a content creator, he enjoys the game a lot more and at competitions, it’s like he’s “playing with house money.”

“I just play, try to do well and that’s that. I think there are players under more pressure than others, but for me, I don’t really think about those sorts of things because it’s not a big deal to me. I know some people won’t like me saying that, but it’s a reality.”

The 2024 Chess World Championship is ongoing with a whopping €500,000 prize pool up for grabs.