Chess in streaming platforms on the rise

Posted by noman Jahangir on January 30th, 2021

Gone are the days when chess used to be just a board game played on a sixty four squares board with sixteen chess pieces allotted to each player. For a long period of time, only the two players competing against each other were an actual part of the game. When it came to champions, the media and mass media could only talk about the exceptional and calculative moves undertaken by a certain player, which further used to succeed in reserving a place in the headlines and newsletters. The die-hard fans of the game would wait desperately for the news to either come up on the television or forage the newspapers as it would get them acquainted with the remarkable moments in the game.

Times have however, changed now. With the elevation in technology and the world getting digitalised in every possible way, chess has not been an untouched area. The introduction of streaming platforms has been a noteworthy advancement in the age of digitalisation. The platforms are designed in such a way to provide the live stream of the games being played to the end user, which is done with the help of the service providers working at the back end.

It is certainly noteworthy to acknowledge that on one of the most sought after streaming platform, Twitch, the tremendously main staying activity is the game of chess. The credit for this solely goes to the online streamers and celebrated chess champions who choose the online mode to play the game. In a recent research by a data analytics firm, SullyGnome, the number of hours for which chess was viewed on Twitch doubled every month. It amazingly topped in the month of May by attaining the record of more than 8 million hours of watching.

The first landmark in this was set by Hikaru Nakamura who is a five times US chess champion and the youngest player belonging to America to achieve the Grand Master title. Through the popular social networking site Twitter, Nakamura has acknowledged the keen interest of the visitors who have either witnessed just one or two stream or have continued their viewership streaks for all the streams. He also mentioned in his tweet about how the game of chess is getting to witness the popularity that it hadn’t in the near past.

One of the breakthroughs of the rising fame of Twitch can be attributed to its collaboration with the popular and user friendly chess playing website, ‘’ It is said that Twitch has a long history of chess players that dates back to the period when it was not so popular but the amalgamation that took place in the year 2017 gave a new elevation to the acclaim received by the game. Apart from the game itself, the power that lies in the hands of the influencers in enhancing the impact of a brand is quite evident in this scenario.

The famous Grand Master, Hikaru Nakamura elsewhere uses the Twitch platform to impart the knowledge of the game to others. During the difficult times when the world has been enveloped by the global pandemic, the chess champion has gained over 350,000 followers and this has resulted in the rejuvenation of people’s interest in the century old game. In an interview, Nakamura mentioned the essence on which the game of chess is based on. He thoughtfully said that the rules according to which the game of chess is played have not changed much even in the modern times. This implies that the basic structure of the rules has remained the same throughout centuries.

Nearer to home, in the sense of a digital streaming platform that most of us are aware of and use it on a regular basis, we cannot help but mention the name of YouTube. In the midst of the life threatening global pandemic, wherein young kids could be easily and callously expected to remain glued to ‘idiot box,’ also known as the television, watch cartoons or play some violent combating games, surprisingly, they chose to view online streaming of the chess matches. As add on, they were thoroughly supported in this by their parents who often joined their posterity and remarkably spent some quality time watching the live streaming chess.

The best thing about the live streaming of the chess matches played by world champions on easily accessible platforms like YouTube is that the viewers are able to get complete insight into the way in which the game is played. A keen observer will tell you that how satisfying it is to be able to deep dive into the game and not just remain confined to watching the players shaking hands in the beginning of the match or saying them “well played” and “congratulations” to each other post it. The thing that fascinates the children the most is that they get a chance to explore the leading players discuss the game in detail, analyse tactics and sometimes even banter with each other. This further helps the kids to develop a prudent sense of understanding the logic behind every move and their problem solving and analytical abilities are also enhanced.

During the pandemic caused due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, various leading Grand Master belonging to India like Vidit Gujrathi, Baskaran Adhiban and Srinath Narayanan have begun hosting their own streams on YouTube and needless to mention, they have received humongous viewership consistently. Among the other well established pioneers in the field of chess, there have been some newbies as well. Samay from India is one such name that is noteworthy to mention. He began taking chess classes on YouTube on the behest of his friend Tanmay, who also happens to be a comedian. He tells that he began it as a hobby to be followed in leisure time but soon it seemed like he had found his niche. Later, he organised an online chess competition in a merger with the members of the comedy series ‘Comicstaan’ which marked the first instance wherein comedy was infused with a sport like chess.

So, in a growingly digitalised world, the platforms like Twitch and YouTube are proving to be of immense help to the admirers of the game. They have come like an oasis in the desert and gave people an apt platform to learn and if pursued correctly, showcase their own talent in the game.

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noman Jahangir

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noman Jahangir
Joined: January 25th, 2021
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