Chess GM calls PogChamps 3 "popcorn stuff"; Hikaru, Alexandra Botez, and more stand in defense

Source: BCCL


Russian chess Grandmaster Yan Nepomniachtchi tweeted Monday his opinion about's PogChamps 3 chess tournament and immediately got in hot water with the Twitch streamer community. Nepomniachtchi called the event "popcorn stuff", saying it's "terrifying" how such tournaments are edging out "real chess content".

Nepomniachtchi's opinion did not sit well with the chess community and many prominent players tweeted in defense of the tournament. TSM's Hikaru Nakamura expressed on stream his disappointment with Nepomniachtchi's take, pointing out how and PogChamps 3 have been working to bring more interest to the game. 


"This is, to me, very disappointing to see from someone like Yan. I literally can't believe that someone like Yan would say something like this. [...] People seem to not understand that when there's interest and all the boats are rising, good things happen across the board."

Chess streamer for Team Envy, Alexandra Botez, while admitting to seeing where "Yan is coming from", pointed out that events like PogChamps aren't at all to blame for the lack of appeal chess has suffered from historically. 

International Master Anna Rudolf, Woman Grandmaster Qiyu "Nemo" Zhou of CLG, poker legend Daniel Negreanu, and streamer Andréas "Sardoche" Honnet also gave their own takes, both serious and more light-hearted.

With a $100,000 prize pool, PogChamps 3 has double the purse of its predecessors (PogChamps 1 won by Joedat "Voyboy" Esfahani, and PogChamps 2 won by Rumay "Hafu" Wang) and has an impressive line-up of popular streamers, players, and personalities, including Félix "xQc" Lengyel,  Daniel Negreanu, Imane "Pokimane" Anys, and more. The finals will take place this Sunday, Feb. 28.

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