The age-old game is renewing itself on the Internet, especially on the live video platform Twitch, which is well known to video game enthusiasts. The best players compete against each other on-screen, much to the delight of a growing community.

"Come on, guys, introduce yourselves. Today, we're playing with our guts." What could be a pregame rugby talk is actually a pep talk by Kevin Bordi, aka "Blitzstream", before a series of online chess games. The Frenchman challenged the American Levy Rozman, also known as "Gotham Chess" on Twitch, a live video platform that is very popular in the world of video games. The two opponents each manage a channel, on which they play almost daily in front of sometimes several thousand spectators.


Twitch, Chess, Game, Online
 

They also sometimes become commentators on other games. Gotham Chess and Blitzstream do not try to checkmate each other directly on this night, but rather to make themselves look like the Joker for the occasion. Instead, their subscribers will be the ones to fight in 15 games: the community that wins the most will be victorious.


United States Champion

For the first part, the two contenders surrounded themselves with the best. On the American side, it is Hikaru Nakamura, five times chess champion of the United States (last time in 2019). On the French side, nothing less than Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, the best tricolor player, number five in the world, and still in the running to be designated challenger to Magnus Carlsen and challenge him for his title of world champion.

The games then follow one another, by decreasing levels. The last games are reserved for beginners or low-level players. They are all played on the American chess website, the world's leading website in terms of the number of players, and are broadcast live and simultaneously on both Twitch channels. On his channel, Kévin Bordi, visible in a corner on the right-hand side of the screen, can get excited with each victory, despair with each defeat, and comment passionately on all the games. The spectators can interact with him or other spectators on the chat.


The kingdom of "blitz", ultra-fast games

However, the online king format is not the same as in official competitions, where each player has 100 minutes to play his first 40 moves. The Internet is the realm of "blitz", ultra-fast games. Players compete in matches with three minutes of reflection each for the whole game, sometimes less, and whoever has no more time to lose. The players are chained together without a time-out for several hours sometimes.

"There's a lot of adrenaline," explains Anna Cramling of Sweden, who launched her Twitch channel at the beginning of 2020. The social dimension was "missing" in the professional chess competitions that she used to do around the world, and will resume as soon as the health situation allows. On her channel, she also plays live games, sometimes against her subscribers.

Twitch has become the main source of income for Kévin Bordi, who has devoted himself entirely to it for the past three years. On his channel, viewers can subscribe for $5 a month (about 4.20 euros) in exchange for symbolic rewards, such as emojis personalized with the faces of the players. He also comments on tournaments on the French chess channel.

 

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General Information

Fritz Chess

42/100

Platform(s): PS3, PC, WII
Publisher(s): Deep Silver
Developer(s): Freedom Factory Studios
Genres: Puzzle
Themes: Chess
Release Date: 2009-07-31

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