Chess’s viewership on Twitch has grown exponentially in the past year.
While 73.8 million hours watched in 2020 only makes the game Twitch’s 34th ranked category, the game saw 255 percent year-over-year growth this past year, and the growth has continued into 2021.
Online events and tournaments are a large part of what has made chess a part of Twitch and gaming culture. But the recent rise of personalities and top players broadcasting on the platform are what have taken the game to another level.
While the scene for personality-driven chess content on Twitch is still developing, there are a few streamers who stand out as some of the game’s top broadcasters.
Hikaru Nakamura is by far the most popular chess player on Twitch. As a member of TSM represented by United Talent, he’s generated more hours watched than any person on Twitch playing the game in the past year.
Hikaru’s appeal comes from his life as a chess prodigy who became the youngest American to ever reach the title “Grandmaster” at just 15 years old. His career also includes five U.S. Championships.
With an average of more than 11,000 viewers in the past year over 1,755 hours of airtime playing chess on Twitch, Hikaru has more than doubled the hours watched of any other chess streamer on Twitch, according to stats acquired by Sully Gnome.
Alexandra and Andrea Botez might be the exact opposite of what you think about when you think chess. The two quirky, boisterous sisters are as entertaining to watch as they are good at chess.
Whether it’s coaching up VTuber CodeMiko for the PogChamp Tournament or playing casual games with music producer KSHMR (formerly of The Cataracs), the duo is always up to something unconventional.
In their latest ongoing attempt at reeling in an audience, Alex and Andrea have promised to shave their heads if they fail to meet self-set ranking goals in Chess.com’s Bullet format.
The Botez sisters have grown wildly on Twitch since signing with Dallas-based team organization Team Envy. Their more than 11,000 average viewers in the past 30 days is more than double what their average was for the past year.
With an average of just under 10,000 viewers on Twitch in the past month, Levy Rozman’s gamer tag is named after New York City, where he lives.
He doesn’t have the same level of spunk the Botez sisters have, but as an International Master who has been playing the game for 20 years, he’s highly-skilled.
When compared to the likes of Hikaru, he doesn’t have the same chess credentials. But his personality puts him somewhere in-between the spunky Botez sisters and Hikaru, who focuses more on the nitty gritty elements of the game.
As an International Master and Woman Grandmaster, Anna Rudolf has experience broadcasting events at numerous top-level tournaments in the chess scene.
The 33-year-old Hungarian stands out on broadcasts with her bright red lipstick and linguistic versatility. In the past she has made videos for Chess24.com in both English and Spanish.
With the international appeal of chess, her ability to create content and conduct interviews across multiple languages only adds to her strength as a broadcaster.