Chess viewership is growing online at a rapid pace, and not just for the Twitch chess experts. Alongside the streams and videos from chess grandmasters grinding out Blitz and Bullet games, there are also some of the biggest online personalities in the world who are starting to learn chess and make it a part of their regular content.
Events like the PogChamps tournament series and Twitch Rivals Chess Hand and Brain Showdown have helped solidify the popularity of chess and engage mainstream celebrities with amateur chess events, to the point that many of them now feature chess as a regular game on their channels.
Here are just a few of the biggest streamers who stream chess regularly.
Félix “xQc” Lengyelis one of the most popular variety streamers on all of Twitch, with over 7.8 million followers. The former professional Overwatch player developed his massive Twitch presence playing games and watching videos with his subscribers. His streams are often between 10 and 13 hours long, and in that time he plays a lot of different games. Lately he has been spending occasional stream time playing chess matches on Chess.com.
xQc also competed in all three of the PogChamps amateur tournaments on Twitch, placing in the quarterfinals of the consolation bracket at PogChamps 1 and PogChamps 2, and reaching the quarterfinals of the championship bracket in Pogchamps 3.
If you already enjoy xQc’s brand of Twitch content, his chess streams bring a very same vibe from an audience’s perspective.
Imane “Pokimane” Anys is another huge name from Twitch and YouTube that regularly plays chess and participates in chess streams. Not only does she play chess on her own channel, but she also has done a large number of collaboration videos with Hikaru and Anna Rudolf, in which they analyze her game and coach her, among other things.
Pokimane has built up a tremendous fan base online since starting her streaming career in 2015. By 2017, she had already built up 450,000 followers on Twitch, and was ranked in the top 100 most followed on their platform. Today, she boasts 7.4 million followers on Twitch and is one of the leading personalities on the platform.
She participated in the PogChamps amateur chess tournament series on Twitch, and was most recently eliminated in the semifinals of the PogChamps 3 event by fellow streamer and former pro cyclist Michelle Khare. Pokimane is a fun streamer to watch playing chess. She is inquisitive with coaches like Anne Rudolf, and she is ambitious about learning while keeping her games entertaining for viewers.
Andréas “Sardoche” Honnet is a French variety streamer who is quite popular in Europe. He frequently hosts streams with over 10,000 viewers and boasts over 950,000 followers on Twitch. One of the games he enjoys streaming lately is chess.
He is good at chess too. He won the PogChamps 3 championship in a 2-0 match against television actor and producer Rainn Wilson. While he certainly isn’t playing at a professional level, he is the best of the chess streaming amateurs, at least for now. He also plays with a lot of passion, something that is obvious in the clip of him winning the PogChamps 3 finals.
Sardoche is a great amateur chess play to watch, especially if you speak French.
Shaun “Hutch” Hutchinson is an old-school YouTuber who first came to fame as one of the hosts of Machinima Respawn. While he primarily plays first person shooters on his streams, he has been playing chess as a regular feature of his Twitch and YouTube content for years, long before the recent surge in chess’s popularity.
Hutch credits his interest in chess to playing chess in parks against strangers when he was younger. While Hutch doesn’t play chess at a professional level, his many years of experience came in handy at PogChamps 1, where he took the top place in the Championship bracket.
If you are looking for a chill, old-school streamer who is a genuinely excellent chess player, Hutch is a great creator to check out.
Charles “MoistCr1tikal” White is a variety streamer and content creator who hosts the channel Penguinz0 on YouTube where he holds 7.8 million subscribers. He has been an active content creator on Twitch since 2018, where he has 2.5 million subscribers. He plays a variety of games, including Super Smash Brothers, Among Us, and chess.
Throughout 2020, MoistCr1tikal started getting into chess in earnest. His content centered on Chess for much of the second half of the year, following his appearance at the first PogChamps chess tournament in June of 2020, where he six-move checkmated xQc.
If you enjoy MoistCr1tikal’s other content, you are sure to enjoy his chess streams and videos as well.
Rumay “Hafu” Wang is a Twitch streamer known best for her career as a professional World of Warcraft and Hearthstone player. She has 1.3 million followers on Twitch and plays a variety of games on stream ranging from VALORANT to chess. She first picked up chess in July of 2020, and she has streamed it on a relatively consistent basis ever since.
Hafu won the PogChamps 2 tournament in September, beating League of Legends pro Jesper “Gripex0” Terkildsen in a 2-0 championship match. Hafu has been playing less chess recently, but she still plays occasionally on stream and she might pick it back up for future Twitch tournaments.
She was not involved in the latest PogChamps 3 tournament, but with her early success in chess at PogChamps 2, it would be surprising if we didn’t see her competing at more Twitch chess tournaments in the future.
Rounding off our list, we have streamer and esports commentator Ludwig Ahgren, better known simply as Ludwig. Despite only starting his Twitch channel in 2019, Ludwig has accrued 1.6 million followers on Twitch. He is best known for his old-school gameplay commentaries and his role as esports commentator for Super Smash Bros Melee tournaments.
Like some of the other streamers on this list, Ludwig started taking chess content seriously in the lead up to the PogChamps tournament in June of 2020. He ended up placing second in the consolation bracket at that tournament. He went on to compete in both PogChamps 2 and PogChamps 3, with his best placement happening at PogChamps 2 where he reached the semifinals of the championship bracket. We can expect him to continue to compete in Twitch chess events in the future.
In February, Ludwig doubled down on chess when he started taking lessons under Levy “GothamChess” Rozman, an international master, chess coach, and YouTuber known for his chess coaching and commentary. As part of his training, Ludwig has continued to host regular streams where he plays chess on Chess.com, in hopes that he will improve with practice.
Aaron is an esports reporter with a background in media, technology, and communication education.