Twitch is a live streaming platform and is watched by millions on a daily basis. While twitch has been around for a while, it really exploded in the last five years. Even more recently, the platform has seen some of its top streamers poached by other streaming services and brought about an era of exclusivity deals between streamers. While exclusivity has been a hot topic for insiders and the mainstream, many within the twitch community are concentrated within.
Twitch always has a “meta” or a certain game that the top streamers will all play and pull crazy viewers. Its gone from PUBG, Fortnite, Valorant, Call of Duty, etc. but the current “meta” is actually a game that was created over a thousand years ago. The game of the month is actually chess, and streamers have fully embraced the chess world. The lead up to the chess explosion across Twitch has in large part been thanks to GM Hikaru Nakamura and twitch streamer xQcOW. Hikaru has been training xQc for a little and it’s been weirdly wholesome watching him learn the game and how it blends with his unique personality. Hikaru streams on Twitch as well and will watch along with others as xQc or other streamers play chess online. Hikaru is also very open and happy that the chess community has seen this kind of newfound popularity with Twitch and his playfulness and insight is a great watch even though I have no clue how to play chess.
Not only has the twitch community embraced the new “meta” but Twitch itself has noticed. They announced a new Twitch Rivals, a tournament between streamers for cash prizes, for a chess tournament that will come in July. But until then there will be the inaugural 2020 Chess.com PogChamps tournament that will pit 16 streamers against one another and will affect the teams and placement for the upcoming Twich Rivals. Top streamers like BoxBox, Voyboy, NateHill, NymN, and yassou have been confirmed and likely we’ll see xQc and other top creators in the tournament. Along with the 16 streamers Grandmaster Hikaru, WFM Alexandra Botez and Chess.com’s IM Danny Rensch will commentate over the tournament. Hikaru and Botez will also offer lessons and helpful tips to the streamers throughout the two weeks of the tournament. It will be fun to tune in and watch streamers duke it out in a game of chess, a far cry from the usual Twitch Rivals that are mostly hosted within the most popular video games.
Twitch and chess have both been thrust into a new environment and have embraced each other and given some great highlights over the past few weeks. Seeing xQc struggle yet still keep learning and Hikaru being fun and engaging while displaying how he’s one of the best in the world at chess has been fun and something I never thought I’d enjoy watching, yet I have been. The tournament will start on June 5th and run through till June 14th. You can watch the livestream on chess.com or watch the individual streamer on Twitch.